Damages in a Georgia wrongful death claim are calculated as if the victim had survived; the court calculates damages as losses sustained by the victim. Though the wrongful death claim is filed by surviving family, the court views the family as the victim's representatives. Clayton County wrongful death attorney Shane Smith represents families who have lost loved ones in auto accidents, truck accidents and DUI accidents.
In Georgia, wrongful death damages calculations are made based on economic and non-economic components. The economic value is somewhat straightforward as actuarial charts can be used to calculate the decedent's life expectancy which can be multiplied by projected career earnings. Calculations are more precise when someone has an established career and multi-year earnings; it is more speculative when a child with no work experience was killed. Even so, economists can speculate based on parental educations and a child's age.
Survivors can also seek "non-economic" damages. These are measured from the standpoint of the decedent, not the survivors. In other words, a jury considers the companionship and life experiences the decedent lost when he died. These are intangible qualities and actuarial tables are used to estimate life expectancy and intangible values. Such calculations put a value on the joy of living itself, the loss of society, affection and companionship of a wife, children and other family members and generally what the decedent lost at the time of their death.
Georgia calculates damages from the standpoint of what the decedent lost. Therefore, it follows that a young person loses more life experiences than does an older person who has already lived a full life. As a result, a younger person's claim for wrongful death is typically more valuable than an older person's claim. This is typically the sole discretion of the jury.
You should hire an experienced Clayton County wrongful death attorney if you will file a lawsuit on behalf of a family member who died due to another's negligence. Call the Law Offices of Shane Smith for a free consultation.