It’s never easy when a loved one passes away, but if their death was caused by someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions, the surviving members of the victim’s family may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit and seek out damages.
When you pursue a wrongful death suit, you can seek compensation for things like lost wages, funeral expenses, medical costs, loss of inheritance, and loss of companionship. If you believe that your loved one’s death was the legal fault of another person, company, or government agency, it’s important that you understand some basic concepts of a wrongful death suit if you plan to pursue legal action.
WHEN SHOULD I FILE A WRONGFUL DEATH SUIT?
In the state of Georgia, you must file a wrongful death suit within two years of the negligent/reckless/intentionally harmful event that led to your loved one’s death.
In some cases, this is not necessarily the same day as the date of death. For example, if the victim was injured in a severe accident but didn’t die from their injuries until a couple of weeks later, you must pursue the lawsuit within two years of the incident and not when they passed away from their injuries.
WHO CAN FILE?
A wrongful death claim can be filed by a representative of the victim’s estate. This is typically a spouse, who may file on behalf of the victim’s children. However, if the victim was divorced, then the children would pursue the suit jointly. If the victim wasn’t survived by a spouse or children, then the surviving parents would have a right to file the lawsuit.
If, however, the victim didn’t have any spouse, children, or parents, then the next of kin could pursue a lawsuit.
HOW DO I KNOW IT’S A WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM?
Wrongful death lawsuits are complicated, but generally, you must prove that the victim died because of negligence, recklessness, or intentionally harmful action. A negligent wrongful death might be a car accident where the defendant was on their cell phone texting before the crash. A wrongful death caused by recklessness might be a medical malpractice scenario where the doctor was being careless, and the patient died as a result. An intentionally harmful wrongful death would be a murder (e.g.: O.J. Simpson was sued for wrongful death for the murders of his wife and her friend Ronald Goldman).
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.