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.
In Georgia, wrongful death damages calculations are made based on 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 educations and a child's age.
Georgia juries are not bound by any fixed criteria when determining the economic value of a decedent's life in a wrongful death claim. Typically, juries consider the decedent's age at the time of the accident, health (including family history of long life), health habits (including harmful or reckless habits such as smoking, drinking or substance abuse, physical fitness or lack thereof), moral character within the community, education, prior professional earnings and projected increase or decrease in professional earnings including projected future employment. This information will be combined with actuarial estimates of the decedent's projected life expectancy for an estimated economic value.
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.