Who is Eligible for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Atlanta, GA
In Georgia, the law allows certain family members or representatives to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one killed by the negligence or wrongful act of another. Those are as follows.
The surviving spouse of the deceased person is typically the first person with the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Atlanta, GA. This includes a legal spouse or a common-law spouse who can provide proof of the relationship. If the deceased person was legally married but separated from their spouse, the spouse may still have the right to file a claim.
If the deceased person did not have a surviving spouse or they choose not to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the deceased person’s children may have the right to pursue a claim. This includes biological and adopted children, as well as stepchildren who were dependent on the deceased person at the time of their death.
If there is no surviving spouse or children, the deceased person’s parents may be able to file a wrongful death claim. If the parents are separated or divorced, both have the right to file individually.
Executor or Administrator of the Estate
If the deceased person did not have any surviving spouse, children, or parents, the executor or administrator of their estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This could be a person named in the deceased’s will or appointed by the probate court to manage their affairs after their death. Any compensation recovered will be distributed to the next of kin.
In some cases, other relatives of the deceased person may wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, siblings, grandparents, aunts, or uncles who were dependent on the deceased person at the time of their death. However, they will have to file through one of the family members listed above or the representative of the deceased person’s estate.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Atlanta, GA?
In Atlanta, GA, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is generally two years from the date of death. This means that the claim must be filed within two years, or the right to pursue compensation may be lost forever.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, if the cause of death was not immediately apparent and discovered later, the two-year period may start from the date the cause of death was discovered. Additionally, if the defendant (at-fault party) in the case is a government entity, there may be different rules and shorter time limits.
What Types of Compensation Can be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The types of compensation that can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit depend on the specific circumstances of the case. In general, however, the following damages may be available:
This includes compensation for the financial losses suffered by the deceased person’s family as a result of their death, such as medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost income and benefits, and loss of future earnings.
These are damages meant to compensate for losses that do not have a specific monetary value—for example, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, loss of services, etc.
In some cases, the court may award punitive damages to punish the defendant for their reckless or intentional conduct. Punitive damages are also intended to deter similar behavior in the future and to send a message that such conduct will not be tolerated.
If you believe you have a wrongful death claim, speak to a trusted Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer. We can help you understand your rights and provide legal guidance at this challenging time to ensure you recover the compensation your family deserves.