A wrongful death lawsuit is one legal action that nobody wants to have to file. These kinds of cases are necessary when someone passes away because of the wrongful or illegal actions of another.
There is more than one type of wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia. Several key differences exist between lawsuits regarding the death of an adult and cases involving children. Not only that, but survival actions are a subset of wrongful death lawsuits often filed when the plaintiff’s loved one did not pass away immediately from their injuries. In most cases, various immediate family members can file wrongful death cases. Certain family members may take priority over others, depending on who passed away. Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit may include the losses incurred by the deceased person before their death and damages related to the plaintiff’s losses.
Losing a loved one due to another’s wrongful actions can be nearly unbearable. Our Savannah, GA wrongful death lawyers will stand up for you and your family during this difficult time. For a free case review, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
Wrongful Death Actions in Savannah, GA
A wrongful death case involves the death of a loved one due to someone’s negligent, criminal, or otherwise wrongful behavior. Various kinds of wrongful death cases follow somewhat different rules, depending on the circumstances. Wrongful death cases involving children are treated differently than those involving adults. Additionally, survival actions can be filed to claim damages the deceased person incurred before they passed away.
A wrongful death occurs when a person passes away due to the negligence, criminal actions, or wrongful actions of another. For example, if an elderly parent passes away because a private nurse negligently failed to administer medications, the nurse and the business that employs them may be liable for the wrongful death. Another possibility is that your loved one was killed in a car accident because the other driver was distracted, under the influence, or otherwise at fault for the crash. You can also file a wrongful death case for murder cases, although the homicide itself may need to be fully prosecuted before your case can proceed.
As discussed below in greater detail, the circumstances of the death may determine what kind of rules must be followed. For example, different people can file a wrongful death claim depending on whether a child or adult passed away and whether the deceased person had a surviving spouse or children. Our Savannah, GA wrongful death attorneys can help you figure out what steps to take to recover damages for the loss of your loved one.
Survival actions are similar to wrongful death cases and are often filed simultaneously. The difference between these actions is that a wrongful death case involves damages related to the death of a loved one and the aftermath. Survival actions pertain to the damages the deceased person might have incurred after they were injured and before they passed away. Generally, you can only sue for damages your loved one could have claimed themselves had they survived.
Survival actions tend to arise when someone does not immediately pass away after another’s wrongful act. For example, you can file a survival action if your loved one was in a bad car accident but did not pass away from their injuries until several days later.
Common claims in survival actions include medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering experienced by your loved one before they died. In some cases, the damages in a survival action may be quite high. This is especially so when the deceased person underwent extensive medical treatment and experienced great pain before succumbing to their injuries.
Who Can File Wrongful Death Actions in Savannah, GA
Exactly who is allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit is a tricky question, and the answer often depends on who passed away and whom they left behind. Our Savannah, GA wrongful death lawyers can help you determine who can sue so you can get the case started.
Several people might have a wrongful death claim when an adult passes away. According to Georgia Code § 51-4-2(a), the surviving spouse of a deceased adult may file a wrongful death claim. If there is no surviving spouse, the deceased person’s children can file the claim instead. If a surviving spouse initially files the case but passes away pending litigation, the claim survives to any children of the deceased person.
The circumstances are a bit different when the deceased person is a child. According to Georgia Code § 19-7-1(c)(2), the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of a child may be brought by both parents jointly if they are not divorced and living together. The surviving parent may file the case alone if one parent is deceased. If both parents are living but divorced or separated, the right to file the lawsuit is retained by both parents. However, if one parent cannot be located or refuses to proceed, the other parent may hire legal representation for both parties, binding both parents.
If the deceased person leaves behind no children, spouses, or parents, an estate representative may file the case on behalf of the deceased person’s estate. This is often the case anyway in survival actions.
Damages Available in Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Savannah, GA
Damages in wrongful death cases are quite vague in Georgia. Under the law, damages for wrongful death cases include the “full value of the life of the decedent.” Our Savannah, GA wrongful death lawyers can help you calculate damages as accurately as possible.
According to Georgia Code § 51-4-1(1), the full value of the deceased person’s life is calculated without subtracting any necessary or personal expenses the decedent had while alive. Again, this does not shed much light on exactly how damages are determined.
The full value of the deceased person’s life is divided into two broad categories. First, there are tangible, economic aspects of their life. This includes money, property, and any assets the deceased person owned while alive. Second, there are intangible, non-economic elements to consider, including relationships, family, and community ties. The plaintiff’s loss of companionship, consortium, services, and more may all be considered under these categories. Additionally, these damages are measured from the perspective of the deceased person rather than the plaintiff.
Call Our Savannah, GA Wrongful Death Lawyers for a Free Case Review
If you recently lost a loved one and believe someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions are to blame, our Savannah, GA wrongful death lawyers can help you. For a free case evaluation, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.