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Georgia Wrongful Death Lawsuits

A wrongful death lawsuit involves the family members or another representative of a deceased person suing a party responsible or partly responsible for their death. In Georgia, O.C.G.A. §51-4-1 provides the statutory framework that governs how wrongful death lawsuits are handled.  Under the law, a spouse may file a wrongful death lawsuit; if the decedent was not married, then the children may file a lawsuit. In the absence of children, the parents of the deceased may sue the responsible party or parties for the death of their child.

O.C.G.A. § 51-4-1(1) allows a plaintiff to recover the “full value of the life of the decedent, as shown by the evidence.” The law goes on to explain that this value is determined without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses that the decedent would have incurred had the decedent lived. This amount can include compensation for the pain and suffering of the survivors, lost future wages, loss of inheritance, medical expenses, end of life expenses, loss of benefits, or compensation for the pain and suffering of the decedent, among others.

Georgia’s wrongful death law allows for recovery for homicide, which is defined in the law as all cases in which the death of a human being results from a crime, from criminal or other negligence, or from property which has been defectively manufactured, whether or not as the result of negligence. This means that wrongful death lawsuits can arise from a wide variety of situations that result in another’s death, such as the commission of a crime, an auto accident, contaminated food or drugs, medical malpractice, dangerous products, or other careless or negligent conduct.

Under Georgia law, a person who has standing to bring a wrongful death lawsuit has two years from the date of the decedent’s death to bring the suit. If the lawsuit is not brought within two years, then the statute of limitations acts as a complete bar to recovery and the suit cannot be brought at all.

If you have lost a family member or a loved one due to the carelessness of another, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. In order to determine whether you have a claim, you should have your case reviewed by an experienced Coweta county wrongful death attorney. In order to have schedule a free consultation with one of our wrongful death lawyers, contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith at (770) 487-8999.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia