An Overview of Wrongful Death Law in Atlanta
When a person is killed in Atlanta due to someone’s negligence, their family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The laws dictating how and when a wrongful death suit may be filed can be complicated and confusing for family members and loved ones. The laws can even be challenging for experienced attorneys. The following is a brief overview of wrongful death claims in Atlanta.
What many people don’t know is that there are two distinct types of claims that may be filed when someone dies as a result of negligence. The first is wrongful death. This is the claim that is most widely known, and it is a lawsuit that seeks compensation for the value of the life of the deceased.
The second type of claim is the estate claim. This is a claim filed by the decedent’s (deceased person’s) estate. The estate cannot seek compensation for the value of the life of the person who died, but the estate can seek compensation for any expenses that resulted from the death, such as funeral costs. The estate may also pursue pain and suffering damages.
Statute of Limitations
People often fail to realize that they only have a limited amount of time in which to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years after the death of the person. That said, the statute of limitations can get tricky depending on the unique situation. For example, if a person is killed due to criminal activity, the statute of limitations clock is paused (or “tolled”) until the criminal case is completed.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In the state of Georgia, there is an order to who has the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The first group of people who may file are the spouse and children of the person who passed away. If there is no spouse, the children alone may file a lawsuit. If there is no surviving spouse and there are no children, the decedent’s parents may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Finally, if none of these people are present, the estate may file a claim for wrongful death.
Types of Damages
When a person dies and their family files a wrongful death lawsuit, they may receive compensation for the income that was lost due to the death. These are called economic damages. The family may also receive non-economic damages for the loss of the enjoyment of the person’s life. Alternatively, the estate may only seek compensation for any costs associated with the injury and death of the person who was killed as a result of the accident.
If your family member was killed as the result of an accident caused by negligence in Atlanta, reach out to our team of experienced attorneys. We will review the details of your wrongful death case during a free case evaluation. Call today to schedule an appointment to speak with a member of our team as soon as possible. Time is of the essence.