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Wrongful Death Claim Eligibility: Who Can and Cannot File a Claim?

Understanding wrongful death claim eligibility is important before you decide to pursue legal action. You can learn about your rights to compensation for the death of a loved one by consulting a wrongful death attorney in Peachtree City. 

Keep in mind that the person who decides to file the claim may or may not be entitled to compensation. A personal representative of the deceased’s estate isn’t always a family member, but in many cases, the person who does file is someone who has a financial interest. 

As far as who cannot file, if the person is not a personal representative or not considered to be a family member dependent on the deceased, he or she is generally excluded. Of course, an attorney can be consulted to help families or family members who are unsure of their eligibility to file or collect compensation for damages. 

Understanding Rights to Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim 

Eligibility for filing a claim most often lies with spouses, children and parents. In certain circumstances, there could be others who are entitled to compensation such as grandparents or stepchildren/parents. 

In most cases in which a spouse is entitled to file the claim and collect compensation, surviving children are also eligible for recovery. In Georgia, if the amount going to a minor child is $15,000 or less, a bond doesn’t have to be posted, and it can be held by the surviving spouse or guardian of the child. If the amount is greater than $15,000, a bond will have to be posted. 

If there isn’t a surviving spouse, wrongful death claim eligibility then will apply to the surviving children. But if there is neither, the deceased’s parents may be entitled to file the claim with a wrongful death attorney in Peachtree City. 

When there isn’t a surviving spouse, children or parents to file a wrongful death claim, eligibility usually goes to the administrator of the estate. Of course, if there is a will that stipulates who should receive the deceased’s assets, it will apply. 

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Claim 

Damages will depend on the circumstances of the death. For instance, if a loved one was fatally injured in a truck accident, in addition to medical costs if the deceased was hospitalized for several days prior to death, pain and suffering damages on behalf of the deceased individual may be available. 

Wrongful death claim eligibility can include reasonable burial and funeral costs. And if there is a loss of income, including loss of benefits such as a pension or 401(k) plan, these may be factored into a claim as well. 

Spouses who are no longer able to enjoy the affection and companionship of their partner could be entitled to damages. What's more, children may be entitled to compensation that addresses a loss of parental guidance. 

If services once provided by a loved one now require someone to be hired, such as housecleaning or child care, these are other damages that could be included in a wrongful death claim. An attorney will consider all potential forms of compensation when evaluating the case. 

Consulting a Wrongful Death Attorney in Peachtree City 

Wrongful death can occur under a variety of circumstances, such as a tragic fall on someone’s property or a fatal traffic accident. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia (GOHS), in 2010 there were 1,244 fatalities in the state stemming from a crash. 

No matter the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s fatal injuries, contact a wrongful death attorney in Peachtree City at the Law Offices of Shane Smith today. We can help you fight for your rights and determine wrongful death claim eligibility. 


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia