In Georgia, a wrongful death is caused by the negligence or negligent conduct of a person or company. This includes reckless, criminal, or intentional acts that lead to the death of another person. Usually, negligence is defined as the failure to use “reasonable care” when there is a duty to do so and it results in the harm of another person. Typical wrongful death examples include car accidents, shootings, assaults, drownings, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice.
The following are the conditions required to successfully sue for wrongful death in the state of Georgia:
1. You must be a family member (i.e. spouse, parent, or child) of the deceased.
2. While there are exceptions, the lawsuit generally must be filed within two years of the date of death.
Two Types of Damages
Often, the damages available in a wrongful death case can be separated into two distinct types. The first type establishes the full value of the life of the deceased including lost wages, and lost companionship. The second type is meant to remedy the financial losses associated with a loved one’s death, including medical expenses, funeral expenses, and compensation for pain felt by the deceased before death.
In extreme cases, punitive damages may also be rewarded. This is an excess fine that serves as a punishment to the wrongdoer if the court determines their actions to be malicious or serious in nature. This fine also deters other individuals from performing similar actions, which can help prevent future incidents resulting in wrongful death.