It always feels wrong to the surviving family members when a loved one dies, but according to Georgia’s wrongful death laws, the state classifies a death as wrongful if it was an unjustified death caused by another person or business entity.
We all owe a duty to take reasonable actions to prevent causing harm or death to others in our orbit. When one person’s recklessness or the careless actions of a business entity directly result in someone’s death, they are responsible for the consequences to the victim’s family, or “the full value of the deceased individual’s life.” A close surviving family member may file a wrongful death claim in Georgia if, under the same circumstances, the victim could have worked with an Atlanta personal injury attorney to file a claim had they survived their injury.
Most wrongful death claims in Georgia result from one person’s negligent or reckless behavior when it results in a fatal injury to another. Examples include wrongful deaths due to the following:
When one person or a business fails to take reasonable measures to prevent harm, and the result is a fatal injury to another, the decedent’s family members may file a wrongful death claim to recover their financial losses due to the death. These losses are called “damages” in a wrongful death claim.
All deaths are emotionally devastating to family members, but when the death also causes financial hardship due to the loss of a family provider, the closest surviving family member may seek compensation for damages including the following:
The family members of a wrongfully deceased loved one may pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party to recover their damages with help from a skilled Atlanta wrongful death attorney. Typically, the payout on the claim comes from the at-fault party’s insurance, like their auto insurance in a car accident, premises liability insurance for a safety hazard on their property, or malpractice insurance in a medical malpractice claim.
A wrongful death claim is a matter for the civil courts which focus on compensating victims for their losses. This claim proceeds independently of any criminal charges for the same wrongful death. Criminal charges are investigated and prosecuted through Georgia’s criminal justice system. The wrongful death claim may go forward regardless of an innocent or guilty verdict in criminal court cases.
Georgia wrongful death claims operate on a hierarchy system similar to the state’s intestacy laws which determine the surviving family member who inherits the estate of a deceased individual who left behind no will or estate plan. In Georgia wrongful death claims, the following family members may make a claim:
If the victim has no surviving spouse, children, or parents, their estate may file a claim for damages against the wrongful party. In this case, the executor of the decedent’s estate or a family representative if the decedent left no will, may file a claim for damages. The amount of compensation awarded is distributed according to the deceased individual’s will or the state’s intestacy laws for inheritance.
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