A decedent’s close family members can file a wrongful death case when he or she died immediately from an accident. Common grounds for wrongful death suits include:
- Vehicle accidents,
- Medical malpractice,
- Head injuries, and
- Workplace accidents.
The purpose of filing a wrongful death claim is for close family members to receive compensation for the loss of a loved one’s life. Damages in wrongful death cases are measured by the value of the decedent’s life. The value of his or her life has both intangible and tangible measures.
Wrongful death cases are different from survival actions, which the decedent’s estate brings when he or she died sometime after their accident. Damages in survival actions include compensation for funeral, medical, and other expenses as well as pain and suffering the decedent incurred between the time of their accident and death.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident, you should contact an injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Components of a Georgia Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim is a claim for the full value of the life of the decedent. The full value of the life of the decedent has two elements: the intangible value of life and the tangible value of life.
Intangible Value of Life
The intangible value of life includes the pleasures and fulfillment life brings to a person. It also includes the non-economic things a person does during their life. The intangible value of life is subjective and can be hard to quantify.
Examples of the intangible values of life include:
- Time spent with the decedent,
- Things he or she did with their family,
- Sports and activities he or she participated in, and
- Support and companionship.
The intangible values of the decedent’s life can be demonstrated through the testimony of family members and physical evidence such as photographs and videos.
Tangible Value of Life
The tangible value of life is also known as the economic value of life. It is primarily compensation for wages and other forms of income the decedent would have earned during the rest of their life. When determining the tangible value of the decedent’s life, a jury takes into account many factors, including:
- The decedent’s age,
- Their physical health, and
- The type of work the decedent performed.
Discussing your potential case with a lawyer can help you estimate the value of the decedent’s life.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
In Georgia, the order of individuals who can file a wrongful death claim is as follows:
The person bringing the wrongful death claim must do so within two years of the decedent’s death. He or she does not have to be an administrator, executor, or personal representative of the estate. However, if the decedent left no surviving spouse, children, or parents, then the administrator of the estate can bring the claim.
Damages in Georgia Wrongful Death Cases
Damages in wrongful death cases compensate the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, or parents for losses resulting from his or her death. Courts aim for damages awards to cover both the intangible and tangible values of the decedent’s life. Examples of damages that can be recovered in Georgia wrongful death cases include:
- The decedent’s lost wages;
- His or her lost earning capacity;
- The value of benefits the decedent would have been entitled to, such as health insurance and retirement;
- Loss of consortium; and
- Loss of companionship and support he or she would have given to loved ones.
In Georgia, there is no limit on damages for the intangible value of life except where the grounds for the wrongful death suit is medical malpractice.
You should speak with an injury lawyer to find out the types of damages you might be entitled to.
How Can an Injury Lawyer Help You?
If you have lost a loved one in an accident, you should contact an injury lawyer today. An injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a wrongful death claim. If so, an attorney can help you get compensation for the full value of the decedent’s life.
The team at Pritchard Injury Firm understands the devastating impact the loss of a loved one can have on your family. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.