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.
A death in Georgia due to another's negligence entitles survivors to file a Georgia wrongful death claim. Such claims are complicated and involve actuarial estimates based on statistics and life projections. However, it becomes even more speculative when the decedent is a child. There are, however, established criteria for evaluating a child's wrongful death claim.
The most common measurement for wrongful death damages in the loss of a child is historical jury research. Juries must consider questions presented in these cases and calculate a dollar value for a child's life. Factors that are frequently used are parental education and a child's life expectancy based on racial and socioeconomic characteristics.
In Georgia, the measure of damages is called the "full value of the life of the decedent" and includes 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 education 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.
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 Shane Smith Law for a free consultation.