Death is always difficult to handle for any family member or friend of the deceased, but when someone’s death was caused by another person’s negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful behaviors, there is a chance that it could result in a wrongful death lawsuit.
A wrongful death case is a civil action that is brought into court so that family members can recover monetary damage for the death of a family member. One of the most famous wrongful death cases in American history was the wrongful death suit that Ron Goldman’s family brought against O.J. Simpson in 1997 after the not guilty verdict in the 1995 criminal case. The difference between a wrongful death case and a criminal trial is that if the defendant is found guilty in a civil court, they will typically have to pay a cash award to the plaintiff (versus a criminal trial where a guilty verdict typically means prison time).
Wrongful death allows relatives or other beneficiaries the right to bring an action against the person, group, or institution responsible for the victim’s death.
Let’s go over how to file a wrongful death case in the state of Georgia.
WHEN TO FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT
In the state of Georgia, you must file a wrongful death suit within two years of the event that led to the death of your family member or loved one. This can get confusing because in some cases, the victim may not have died on the day of the severe accident or incident that led to their death. For example, if they were injured in a hit and run accident caused by a drunk driver and had to spend a couple of weeks in the hospital, you would have to file within two years of the incident and not two years from when they passed away in the hospital from their injuries.
WHO CAN FILE?
A representative from the victim’s estate will file a wrongful death claim in the state of Georgia. The representative will usually be the victim’s spouse, who will file on behalf of the victim’s children (if there were any). If the victim was divorced from their spouse, then the children would pursue the lawsuit jointly. If the victim did not have a spouse or surviving children, then the parents would have a right to file the lawsuit.
If in the occasion arises where the victim had no surviving spouse, children, or parents, then the next of kin would file the lawsuit on the victim’s behalf.
When you are thinking about pursuing a wrongful death suit on behalf of a loved one, you’re going to need legal representation who is understanding, conscientious, and willing to fight for your rights. Contact the Fry | Goehring, wrongful death attorneys in Georgia, at (404) 948-3571.