In any given situation, losing a loved one is hard to process. In instances of wrongful death, on the other hand, these feelings of grief and loss are exaggerated, especially considering that the death in question is caused by the negligence of another party. Families facing the wrongful death of a loved one can seek compensation from the parties that caused these passings, helping bring peace of mind back to their families. 

What Does “Wrongful Death” Mean?

The family of the deceased person has the right to file a wrongful death claim under Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act if they were killed as a result of the negligence of another person or business. According to the Official Code of Georgia 51-4-2, Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act allows the relatives of the deceased to sue for “the whole value of the decedent’s life.” 

The “whole value of the decedent’s life” is divided into two categories: the intangible, which consists of the decedent’s connections with others, his or her family, and the motivations accomplished or planned for when they were still alive, and the tangible, which consists of the money the deceased person would have made and the worth of any household tasks the deceased person oversaw.

Causes Of Wrongful Deaths

Knowing the situations that can cause a wrongful death, regardless of the overarching environment in which the event took place, is essential for preparing a lawsuit. Some of the most common wrongful deaths stem from these accidents: 

  • Car crashes, where a negligent driver strikes another car or pedestrian, leading to their death
  • Medical malpractice, either through illness or injury caused by the negligence of a medical team
  • Homicide, specifically in the context of other violent crimes like assault and robbery
  • Workplace accidents that resulted from an employer not enforcing proper safety protocols

The scope of events that can cause someone’s death is seemingly endless, but to be considered a wrongful death, negligence must be demonstrated by the party that caused the death. For example, if a doctor refused to run further tests on a patient and misdiagnosed their condition, which led to their death due to lack of proper treatment, the initial misdiagnosis is enough to prove negligence and make this death a case of wrongful death concerning medical malpractice. 

What Is The Deadline For Filing A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death claim in Georgia must be filed within two years of the decedent’s passing. O.C.G.A § 9-3-33. However, according to the situation, that period may be either shorter or longer. The time frame may be shortened if an agency of the government is to blame (for example, if a government van accidentally ran over the deceased). There may be a deadline as early as six months or a year after the incident, based on what level of government is at fault. 

The statute of limitations might be suspended, legally referred to as being “tolled,” awaiting the conclusion of a criminal investigation into the person who violated the law that resulted in the victim’s death if that violation was a violent crime or a traffic violation. Families of loved ones who have passed away are entitled to sue for wrongful death, and these obligations usually fall on the next of kin. For example, if a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse will most likely bring these charges to light. If the deceased was unmarried, then any children or surviving family members may sue for wrongful death on their behalf. 

Seeking Legal Help With A Wrongful Death

Although the value of a loved one’s life cannot be put into monetary terms, financial settlements can be a welcomed source of aid in these times of need. At Lamar Law Office, we can provide the council necessary to help settle a wrongful-death lawsuit, so contact us today to start working on your claim.