Wrongful Death Case Law

Have you been injured? Let the team at Shane Smith Law help.

Georgia Wrongful Death Case Law

Georgia law has defined wrongful death as a loss of life caused by the negligence of another person. Negligence is when someone does not show the same care that a reasonably prudent person would under similar circumstances. Wrongful death attorney Shane Smith represents families who have lost loved ones in auto accidents, truck accidents, DUI accidents, pedestrian accidents, or serious premises liability accidents.

Under early Common Law, once the victim died there was no right to sue the responsible party. However, in 1846 the Fatal Accidents Act was passed (also known as Lord Campbell's Act) allowing surviving family members to sue the responsible party for damages. Georgia has adopted a similar wrongful death statute.

There are essentially two claims in a wrongful death suit. The first is by the deceased's estate and seeks damages as if the victim had not died. These damages would include medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost wages (and future wages) and the victim's pain and suffering between the time of the accident and his time of death. The second claim is by a living person against the person who caused the death. According to Section 51-4-1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.), the order of the appropriate party to bring the wrongful death claim is: the spouse, children, or the victim's parents (if there is no living spouse or children).

Damages are calculated considering both the economic and non-economic values of the victim's life. Economic values include the amount of lifetime earnings using the victim's actual prior earnings as determined by tax documents. Non-economic values are more subjective and are determined by witness testimony and documentary evidence. Georgia recognizes that a life has an intrinsic value independent of the victim's potential lifetime earnings.

Damages are determined from the victim's perspective. This means that the court does not look at a death from the point of view of the surviving family's loss but rather the victim's losses. Brock v. Wedincamp, 558 S.E.2d 836 (Ga. Ct. App. 2002).

In determining damages, a jury will consider characteristics such as "age, life expectancy, precocity, health, mental and physical development, [and] family circumstances…". Williams v. Worsley, 510 S.E.2d 46 (Ga. Ct. App. 1998).


You should hire an experienced wrongful death attorney if you believe your loved one was killed due to someone else's negligence. Call Shane Smith Law at (980) 246-2656 for a free consultation.


oUR pROMISE TO yOU

  • Providing Answers & Solutions
    We understand that this can be a scary and overwhelming time. We pride ourselves on providing you with the answers you need to make educated decisions about your case. Each step of the way we want to ensure you are fully aware and on board with the trajectory of your case.
  • Solely Focused on Personal Injury
    Unlike other firms, our ONLY focus is helping individuals and families who have been wrongfully injured. We dedicate all of our time, efforts, and resources to those who have been injured because of someone else's negligence.
  • No Case is too Big or Small

    When you have been injured, whether it's a small accident or a major one, our team dedicates the same amount of professionalism and commitment to maximize your result. Small or large we are committed to getting you a good and fair settlement.

  • Focused on Your Recovery
    At Shane Smith Law, we care about you, the individual. We genuinely want you to feel better and get good treatment. Thus, we not only help you obtain results, but we also help you obtain quality doctors and providers.

IN PAIN? cALL sHANE!

Please fill out the quick contact form, WE WILL CONTACT YOU WITHIN 24 HOURS!
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.