Unfortunately, the most serious cases that we handle involve the wrongful death of our clients' loved ones due to the negligence or wrongdoing of someone else. Georgia wrongful death law establishes a specific type of recovery or claim resulting from any type of personal injury, including trucking and automobile accidents, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and other types of injuries that lead to death. Therefore, a personal injury lawyer experienced in these types of cases is often important in obtaining full compensation for wrongful death claims.
Georgia law allows for specified family members to recover for the “full value of life” against those responsible for causing someone's wrongful death. In these cases, a surviving spouse, along with any children of the deceased, have the right to bring such a claim. If there is no spouse, the right belongs to any children, and, if there are no children, the deceased person's parents can bring the claim (other provisions apply if none of these people are able to bring a claim). In assessing the full value of the life of a person, Georgia wrongful death law allows the jury, at trial, to consider the entirety of the life of the person, including their income (and income potential), hobbies, family relationships, and many other aspects that make up a person's life.
The estate of a person wrongfully killed may also have claims, which are separate from the wrongful death claim, against the person who is at fault. These claims are those that the wrongfully killed person could have brought if he or she had survived, and are sometimes called the “survival claim.” These claims include any suffering that occurs before death, as well as compensation for medical and burial expenses. Estate or survival claims are brought by the administrator or executor of the estate for the benefit of any estate heirs. In some cases, there may be advantages (in order to maximize the survivors' recovery) of pursuing the wrongful death claim instead of the estate's claim, or seeking to apportion any settlement or verdict for the benefit of the survivors. We have experience coordinating such cases to properly reach the best result for family members of victims who are killed due to the carelessness of others.