Just like personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death claims in Georgia occur when people or entities have been reckless or negligent, resulting in the harm of another. In a case of wrongful death, such as a fatal car accident, the claim is based upon the death of a loved one and the right of the surviving family to seek financial accountability from any party deemed responsible for the fatality. This includes those family members who depended on the deceased financially or for emotional support.

A person who has lost a loved one — including a child, parent or spouse — because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness may have the right to pursue claims for damages. The amount of damages to award can be very difficult for a court to determine. Courts typically use the process of pecuniary damages to measure monetary loss for a wrongful death claim. Survivors usually sue for the total amount of health care bills incurred as a result of having to care for the deceased, and they also sue for the cost of burial and other end-of-life expenses.

Damages may also be awarded for the survivors’ pain and suffering. In addition, the court might determine the deceased’s earning potential and future income to award damages for what he or she would have earned if he or she had lived. Other factors taken into consideration are how much money the deceased had invested or saved, as well as how important the person’s income was to his or her survivors’ financial security.

Legal actions usually have a statute of limitations or other time restrictions for filing lawsuits. Anyone in Georgia who has lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence may benefit by contacting a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. A damage award cannot restore the life of a loved one killed due to the negligence or recklessness of another, but it may help the surviving family members to more easily move forward from the tragedy.