Who is Qualified to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

Losing a loved one is terribly difficult no matter what the circumstances. However, when somebody dies because of another party’s actions, it is much worse. You and your family are going to want the other party to pay and filing a wrongful death claim may seem like the only solution. 

When you feel like this, the best thing to do is to call a Riverdale wrongful death lawyer. Our attorneys know the law in Georgia and know what you’re entitled to. They’ll also handle the legal side of things while you and your family try to mourn the loss of your loved one.

Here, we will explain what wrongful death is. We will also discuss how your Georgia personal injury lawyer can prove wrongful death. Finally, we will talk about the various types of damages you and your family can demand on behalf of the decedent when filing a wrongful death claim.

If you’ve recently lost someone to a tragic accident or other reckless act, contact our office directly. We will be more than happy to meet with you and discuss your case and determine the best way to proceed with your wrongful death claim. Since we offer all of our clients a free, initial consultation, you will not pay anything for this advice.

What is Wrongful Death?

Before we get into the question of who can file a wrongful death claim in Georgia, it’s important to explain what wrongful death is. According to Georgia law, a wrongful death occurs when somebody dies because of another person’s reckless, intentional, or negligent behavior. 

This can involve anything from a car accident to being shot during the commission of a robbery. Our Georgia personal injury lawyers have met with family members of people who have been killed in a myriad of ways. The one thing they all have in common is that their family member died because of another person’s actions.

Obviously, for there to be a wrongful death claim, the victim has to have passed away. It is not enough that a victim suffered near fatal injuries. Furthermore, if your loved one was involved in some type of accident but died months or years later due to some other cause, you would not have grounds to file a wrongful death claim.

Can Anyone Who Wants to File a Wrongful Death Claim Proceed with Legal Action?

One mistake a lot of our clients make is in thinking that anybody can file a wrongful death claim. For example, if your brother or sister dies because of a dangerous medication, you’re going to want to get revenge against the manufacturer of the drug. Anybody in your shoes would. However, unless you have standing to sue, there’s nothing you can do.

According to the Georgia wrongful death statute, only certain people have standing to file a wrongful death claim. Standing just means that you are in a position that entitles you to sue on behalf of a loved one who has passed away. In Georgia, the following people have the right to file a wrongful death claim:

  • Spouse

If your wife or husband has passed away due to the actions of another, then you will clearly have standing to sue. If the two of you were still married at the time of their death, there is no reason why you will not be allowed to file a lawsuit against the person who caused their death. It’s important to point out that significant others, fiancés, and life partners do not qualify to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia.

Riverdale wrongful death lawyer

  • Children

If your mom or dad passes away in an accident, or some other reckless or intentional act, you do have the right to sue. You can contact one of our Riverdale wrongful death lawyers and they’ll be more than happy to assist you in your case.

  • Parents

If someone passes away and they don’t have a spouse or children, their parents have standing to file a wrongful death claim. If there is a spouse or child but they refuse to pursue legal action, the parents of the decedent can’t move forward on their own.

  • Personal Representative of the Decedent’s Estate

In just about every state, the personal representative or executor of the victim’s estate has the right to file a wrongful death claim. Typically, the personal representative is called upon by a friend or family member who does not have standing to sue on their own. The personal representative is to set aside any damages received for the benefit of the decedent’s heirs.

How Can Your Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer Prove Liability?

Proving liability in a wrongful death case is not much different than proving liability in any personal injury case. Your Georgia personal injury lawyer will more than likely have to prove negligence. Unless the victim died during the commission of a crime or heinous act, the negligence standard will apply.

To prove negligence in Georgia, you must prove the following four things:

  • The defendant owed a duty to the victim
  • The defendant breached this duty of care
  • The victim died
  • The victim’s death was a direct result of the defendant’s actions

As long as your Riverdale wrongful death lawyer can prove these four elements of negligence, there is a good chance that you’ll be entitled to damages.

What Kind of Damages Can Your Riverdale Wrongful Death Lawyer Demand?

It’s only natural to want to know what kind of damages your Riverdale wrongful death lawyer can demand in your wrongful death case. Not surprisingly, the allowable damages are similar to a regular personal injury lawsuit. This includes the following:

  • any money spent on medical bills, a burial, or funeral
  • pain and suffering the victim experienced before they died
  • any wages or salaries the decedent would have earned have they not passed away
  • any retirement accounts or investments the victim would have enjoyed had they lived to retirement age
  • loss of companionship for the victim’s family
  • loss of consortium for the victim’s spouse

Reach Out to a Seasoned Riverdale Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

If you have recently lost a family member because of an accident or reckless act of another, contact our office right away. You can meet with one of our Georgia personal injury lawyers to discuss your case and if you have the grounds to file a wrongful death claim. We offer potential clients a free, initial consultation so it won’t cost you anything to have us review your case.