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Georgia Statutory Order for Wrongful Death Claims

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 126,438 unintentional injury deaths in 2010; this was the fifth highest cause of death in the United States. By comparison, there were 33,783 auto accident deaths.  

Georgia wrongful death attorney Shane Smith can help a victim's family receive compensation for their loss.

Georgia statutes govern wrongful death regulations. There is a defined statutory order for those who wish to make claims for the value of the deceased person's life.

If the deceased had a spouse then the surviving spouse holds the claim and the spouse is the only person who can bring a claim. If there is a surviving spouse and the deceased also had children then the spouse must act as a representative of the children and share with the children any damages awarded. If the deceased was divorced then any of the deceased's surviving children would hold the claim jointly. Official Code of Georgia Annotated Sec. 51-4-2.

If there is no surviving spouse and no surviving children then the wrongful death claim passes to the deceased's parents. If the deceased's parents are still married then the claim is held jointly between them. If one of the parents is dead then the right remains in the surviving parent. If the parents are divorced then the right is in both of them; however, proof of abandonment, severed relations with the deceased child or failure to pay child support by one of the parents can eliminate or reduce that parent's recovery right. O.C.G.A. § 19-7-1.

When there is no surviving spouse and no surviving children who can bring the claim, then the administrator or executor of the deceased's estate may bring a wrongful death action. Any damages recovered are held for the next of kin. O.C.G.A. § 51-4-5.

If a death is caused by the negligence of another then the decedent's family may be entitled to legal relief through a wrongful death lawsuit. 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.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia