Wrongful Death Lawyer in Jefferson
Losing a loved one is probably the most difficult thing that we can possibly go through. It can be so much worse when we lose someone unexpectedly due to someone else’s negligence.
Jefferson Wrongful Death Lawyer
Georgia law allows the family of the person who passed away to bring a wrongful death claim against the negligent party. Under O.C.G.A. § 51-4-2, the family can recover for the “full value of the life of the decedent, as shown by the evidence.”
The “Full value of the life of the decedent, as shown by the evidence” means the full value of the life of the decedent without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had he lived.” O.C.G.A. § 51-4-1. Additionally, the “full value of the life” is measured from the point of view of the person who died. Brock v. Wedincamp, 253 Ga. App. 275, 281-82 (2002). What this means is that if a mother passes away, the measure of damages is not a son’s loss from not having his mother anymore, but the mother’s loss from not being able to raise her son.
There are two separate types of damages under the theory of “full value of the life” The first and easier part to calculate is the tangible value of the decedent’s life and includes the money that the decedent would have earned throughout their life and the value of things they handled around the house for the family. The second type of damages is for the intangible value of the decedent’s life, which includes the decedent’s relationships, family, and reasons for living. This is obviously much more difficult to evaluate, which is why is important for your lawyer to get to know the person who passed away and to be able to tell that person’s story in a meaningful and compelling way.
What is the statute of limitations on a wrongful death case in Georgia?
The statute of limitations is generally two (2) years for a wrongful death case. O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. This means, that if you do not file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the death of the decedent, the case may be time-barred. This date may be shorter or longer in certain circumstances. The important point is that you should not wait until the two-year deadline to discuss the case with a lawyer, because it may not be possible to investigate and get a lawsuit filed in time.
What is an Estate Claim?
A wrongful death case can also have a separate component called an Estate Claim. This allows the family to pursue a claim for pain and suffering, medical bills, and funeral expenses of the decedent, as well as potential punitive damages against the at-fault party. As the name implies, the claim is brought by the decedent’s estate.