Atlanta Wrongful Death Attorney

What do you do when a car crash or the negligence of others kills your loved one? We know you’re grieving right now. But you need to learn about your rights. Feel free to reach out through our online platform or give us a call now at (706) 354-4000.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Georgia wrongful death statute

In a wrongful death case, a surviving spouse or child recovers compensation if another party caused their loved one’s death due to negligence or crime. The surviving relative files a lawsuit to recover the “full value of the life” of their deceased spouse or parent.

Georgia law uses the word “homicide” in describing when relatives have the right to file a case. It also defines homicide as a death resulting from a crime, negligence, or defective property.

It’s a good idea to talk to our Atlanta wrongful death attorneys about whether your family can file a lawsuit. You don’t need a criminal case to move forward. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim, and you can file it after car crashes, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse or neglect, or other instances when someone else can be held liable.

What Is Georgia’s Wrongful Death Law?

You’ll find Georgia’s wrongful death statutes in Title 51, Chapter 4 of the Official Code of Georgia. While you can read the law, we recommend talking to a wrongful death attorney in Atlanta about how it’s applied to situations like yours. A statute isn’t the whole story. 

Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

You could file a wrongful death claim if you lost your husband, wife, or child to someone else’s negligence or crime. If your loved one didn’t leave behind a spouse, their child or children could file the claim.

The personal representative of an individual’s estate can bring the wrongful death claim if a spouse or the children can’t file. The compensation they recover benefits the next of kin, such as surviving parents or siblings.

Can I Win Wrongful Death Compensation?

A surviving spouse, child, or children can demand compensation for the “full value of the life of the decedent.” We highly recommend talking with a wrongful death lawyer in Atlanta about the meaning behind the full value of someone’s life and the evidence you’ll need to prove it.

Compensation is divided evenly among the surviving spouse and a child or children, except the law entitles the spouse to at least one-third of the amount. If there are one or more minor children, a guardian keeps the money and uses it for their benefit.

The personal representative also can demand compensation for funeral, medical, and other necessary expenses that arose from the decedent’s injuries and death. This is known as the estate claim, and the personal representative can handle it separately from the family’s wrongful death claim.

What Is the Full Value of Someone’s Life?

In Georgia, the value of someone’s life is based on the decedent’s point of view, according to Brock v. Wendicamp, 253 Ga. App. 275, 281 (2002).

There’s an intangible part and a tangible part. The intangible part includes the decedent’s family, romantic relationships, friends, and other reasons to live. Those could be raising their children, hobbies, sports, volunteering, and other passions.

The tangible part focuses on the money the decedent earned and the value of their household services, like cooking, cleaning, child care, or taking care of aging parents.

Is a Wrongful Death Case the Same as a Survival Claim in Georgia?

No, wrongful death and survival claims are different. A wrongful death case focuses on the surviving family members’ loss. A survival claim is the continuation of a personal injury case.

Someone can be hurt in a crash and not pass away immediately. Your relative may have survived long enough to file a personal injury case.

If they died before resolving that claim, the personal representative of their estate could pursue it by filing a survival action. Talk with a wrongful death attorney in Atlanta if there were weeks or months between the day of the collision and your loved one’s death.

In a survival claim, the personal representative can demand compensation for medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering, and other financial losses. Wrongful death compensation goes directly to the spouse, children, or next of kin. Survival claim compensation goes to the estate and then the beneficiaries.

Georgia Car Crashes and Wrongful Death Claims

Did a car crash kill your relative? Fatal car crash claims are often complicated and may even involve a DUI or other criminal charges. Let our attorneys help you through the process of recovering compensation.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The time limit to file a lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations, is two years for wrongful death cases. Ask our Atlanta wrongful death lawyers how long you have as soon as possible. Some factors give you more or less time to file, and we don’t want you to miss the deadline. If you don’t file in time, you lose the right to recover compensation.

Do I Need an Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer?

While your family has the right to move forward without a lawyer, it’s better to have an Atlanta wrongful death attorney represent you. Our attorneys know Georgia law inside and out. We’ll explain your rights and options.

Our advice depends on who was at fault, insurance coverage, and other factors. Realistically, how we handle a car crash differs from how we pursue medical malpractice cases. Our decades of experience inform the way we approach each case and recover compensation.

Schedule a Consultation with a Wrongful Death Attorney in Atlanta

If you’re ready to learn more about Georgia’s wrongful death law, reach out to Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., to set up your free initial legal consultation.

For 40 years we’ve represented surviving family members and estates throughout Georgia, including Atlanta, Athens, Lake Oconee, and across Georgia and the U.S. You can contact us online or call us today at 706-354-4000.