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A sudden death of a loved one is a cruel experience filled with emotions stemming from loss. While nothing can ever replace the life of a loved one, a mourning survivor can attempt to seek temporary solace in seeking justice through the legal system for the wrongful death of their loved one.
Wrongful death suits also provide mourning family members with financial compensation. While no amount of money can equal a life, being financially taken care of can at least help the family members from the additional stress of how they will make ends meet, especially if the deceased member was a provider for the family.
Wrongful death cases can be one of the trickiest cases and, due to the high potential amount of damages, also the most contentious. A qualified lawyer is crucial to ensure a mourning loved one gets just compensation. At Dan Chapman & Associates, our experienced Georgia wrongful death attorneys are here to help. Call today for a free consultation.
What is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is a death that occurs due to the negligence or misconduct of another. Wrongful death claims can be brought when the legal fault of another leads to a person’s death.
The claim for a wrongful death will vary from state to state and will affect how much can be sought for, what actions constitute a wrongful death, and who is eligible to bring a claim.
In Georgia, the legislature created a law known as the Georgia Wrongful Death Act. The set of laws governing wrongful death claims are under the Georgia Code, Title 51, Chapter 4.
How Much Can Be Claimed for a Wrongful Death?
In Georgia, the amount that can be claimed is “the full value of the life of the decedent.” O.C.G.A. § 51-4-2. The determined standard for the evaluation of the life of the decedent is “from the perspective of the person who died.” Brock v. Wendicamp, 253 Ga. App. 275, 281 (2002).
The valuation is made up of two components – the intangible and the tangible components. The intangible components are the parts of a person’s life based on the decedent’s relationships, family, and motivation for life. This includes leisure time, spending time with family, nurturing children, and milestones like graduating from school.
The tangible components make up the parts of a person’s life that can be measured “economically”. These parts include the amount the decedent would have earned and the economic value of his/her contribution to the house.
Chrysler Group, LLC v. Walden, 339 Ga. App. 733, 750 (2016) established that the amount a jury can award a loved one is based on “the enlightened conscience of the jury”. Therefore, the jury can award as much as it thinks is the established full value of the life of the decedent.
What Actions Constitute a Wrongful Death?
The following are a list of some of the more common types of wrongful death cases:
- Car Accidents
- Other Vehicular Accidents, including Trucks, Planes, Boats, and Bicycles
- Medical Malpractice
- Occupational Accidents
- Defective Products
- Premise Liability
Who is Eligible to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Georgia, the surviving spouse can bring a claim on behalf of the deceased spouse. If any children are surviving, the surviving spouse must share any award with the children, with the caveat being the surviving spouse cannot receive any less than 1/3 of the recovered amount.
Contact a Georgia Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Although some general guidelines on wrongful death cases are listed above, the important point to remember is that these can be some of the more complicated cases with a large amount sought being potentially contentious. Call Dan Chapman & Associates toady to speak with a Georgia wrongful death attorney.