The knowledge that a loved one’s death was caused by another person’s negligence or recklessness can be difficult. Depending on your relationship with the deceased, you may be able to file a claim with a Peachtree City wrongful death attorney.
The amount and type of benefits recoverable in a wrongful death accident can vary according to your legal relationship with the deceased person. You should contact a Peachtree City wrongful death attorney if you have questions about your status before filing a wrongful death claim.
Who can benefit from a wrongful death claim in Georgia?
Georgia law specifies the decedent’s spouse as the primary beneficiary in a wrongful death action. In cases in which there is no spouse, the children of the deceased are the next rightful beneficiaries. Without the presence of spouse or children, the parents may benefit from the wrongful death claim. Finally, if none of the aforementioned parties are living, then the administrator of the decedent’s estate can make the wrongful death claim.
In cases in which there is no will, the spouse must split the benefits recoverable in the wrongful death action with any living children. Georgia law usually entitles the spouse to at least one-third of the recovery. Your Peachtree City wrongful death attorney can help you examine your case more closely.
One person can file a claim on behalf of your family. Based on the list of rightful claimants, you can decide who in your family would be best to file the claim and who would, because of their relationship with the deceased, be able to gain the maximum benefits recoverable in your wrongful death action.
If there are disputes among the beneficiaries, Georgia law does not allow family members to sue one another in a wrongful death claim. There are other legal avenues you can pursue in those cases.
Remember that Georgia wrongful death laws include a statute of limitations. For almost all wrongful death claims, the claim must be filed within two years. That time period starts on the date of death. There are some exceptions to this two-year rule.
What do beneficiaries have the right to recover?
Under Georgia Law, specifically O.C.G.A. §51-4-1, relatives of the deceased can recover “the full value of the life of the decedent for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had he lived.” Of course, there is no way to calculate the full value of someone’s life, but the court tries to make the benefits recoverable in a wrongful death accident at least equivalent to the expenses incurred and the income lost due to the decedent’s untimely end.
You also may be able to recover awards for pain and suffering, emotional stress and other intangible damages.
Several examples of things that affect the “full value” of the life of the deceased include;
- loss of future wages, including expected raises;
- loss of inheritance;
- loss of benefits, such as retirement benefits;
- pain and suffering of the survivors;
- pain and suffering of the decedent prior to death;
- emotional distress;
- funeral expenses;
- loss of love, protection or consortium; and
- sometimes, punitive damages against the perpetrator of the incident that caused the decedent’s death.
You may be feeling the stress of any combination of the above-listed costs associated with the loss of a loved one. There is no reason for you to suffer like this on your own.
A Peachtree City wrongful death attorney who is familiar with wrongful death claims and Georgia law could prove to be an invaluable asset in your claim, obtaining the full value of the benefits recoverable in a wrongful death accident. You have to worry about planning a funeral, taking care of last wishes and more. Deal with those things, grieve in peace and let your attorney handle the complicated legal documents and get you the wrongful death benefits you deserve.
Contact a Peachtree City wrongful death attorney at the Law Offices of Shane Smith for a free consultation. Call us today at: 1-888-927-6955.