Unfortunately, fatal car accidents are a regular occurrence across the state of Georgia. In many cases, these crashes happen as the result of drivers’ negligence. For instance, someone may suffer a deadly collision because another motorist was driving drunk or distracted. Thankfully, in such cases, victims’ families may pursue financial compensation.
One way a victim’s family may be able to obtain monetary damages is by filing a survival action. A survival action is a special type of lawsuit that seeks payment for damages sustained by a victim between the time of their accident and their death. For example, if someone did not succumb to their injuries until weeks after their accident, then their estate may be entitled to compensation for the medical bills, physical pain, and emotional anguish suffered while the victim was still alive.
If you need help filing a survival action, seek assistance from our experienced Georgia personal injury attorneys by calling Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
What is a Survival Action in Georgia?
A survival action is a special type of lawsuit that a deceased person would have been able to bring had they survived their injuries. For this type of action to succeed, the victim must have passed away as the result of another party’s negligence. Further, a survival action may only be filed if the deceased survived for a period of time after their accident.
A survival action seeks to compensate family members for damages their loved one incurred between the time of their accident and their death. This differs from a wrongful death lawsuit, which centers around what family members personally lost as the result of a victim’s passing. For example, if someone suffered a fatal car accident and was treated in the hospital for three weeks before their death, then a survival action may be filed that seeks compensation for the medical bills, pain, and suffering that were incurred during treatment.
Who Can File a Survival Action in Georgia?
Under Georgia law, a survival action must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased. Sometimes referred to as the executor or administrator, the personal representative is the fiduciary who was chosen by the deceased person to administer their estate. If someone did not choose a personal representative, then one may be appointed by the court. Typically, the chosen party will be a family member of the deceased.
How Long Do You Have to File a Survival Action in Georgia?
Potential plaintiffs will typically have two years from the date of their loved ones’ accidents to file survival actions in Georgia. Failure to act in accordance with this deadline could cause victims’ families to miss out on important financial compensation.
Furthermore, despite potentially having two years to file your claim, you should begin working on your case as soon as possible. There are several key elements that must be present in order for a survival action to succeed. The evidence needed to establish these elements can become hard to gather or preserve as time goes by. The sooner you reach out to our Savannah wrongful death lawyers, the more effectively we can collect the information needed to build your claim.
Damages Available to Plaintiffs in Survival Actions in Georgia
The damages awarded to plaintiffs in survival actions can vary drastically from claim to claim. The type and amount of compensation recovered in your case will depend on the amount of harm caused by your loved one’s injuries. Any of the following forms of monetary damages may be sought:
In many cases, victims of fatal car accidents will incur significant medical expenses before succumbing to their injuries. Thankfully, plaintiffs in survival actions may compensated for any medical bills that victims incurred before their passing. These damages are usually established using medical records and receipts.
Car accident injuries can produce a high degree physical pain. For instance, broken bones, burn injuries, and spinal cord injuries can all be particularly excruciating. Accordingly, plaintiffs in survival actions may pursue compensation for the physical pain suffered by victims before their deaths.
Furthermore, car accident injuries can also lead to a great deal of emotional suffering. For example, a victim with a traumatic brain injury may undergo a great deal of emotional distress while attempting to overcome the harm they endured. In this case, the victim’s family could file a survival action seeking payment for the emotional anguish their loved one suffered before passing away.
Compensation for funeral expenses and burial costs may also be recovered by filing a survival action. These expenses can be significant and may place an undue burden on victims’ family members if they do not receive financial support.
Finally, survival actions may also provide payment for lost wages a victim suffered between the time of their injury and their death. These damages are usually more significant in cases where the deceased person underwent a lengthy period of treatment before passing away. Compensation for lost income is usually calculated using a victim’s average weekly wage.
Who Gets the Money From a Survival Action in Georgia?
The damages awarded in a survival action will be paid directly to the victim’s estate. The funds will then be treated as an asset of the estate, much like other items such as bank accounts, retirement funds, and property.
These assets will be distributed among the beneficiaries named by the deceased individual. If there is not a will or beneficiaries have not been named, then these assets will be distributed according to intestacy laws in the state of Georgia. Typically, in this scenario, the money will be given to the victim’s spouse, children, parents, or other close family members.
If You Need to File a Survival Action in Georgia, Call Our Attorneys for Help
Seek support and guidance from our experienced Atlanta wrongful death attorneys at Howe Law by calling (844) 876-4357 for a free review of your potential case.