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.
It is imperative that the family consults an experienced Clayton County wrongful death attorney if they believe there is a wrongful death claim. Such a death occurs as a result of someone's negligence or when an expectation of safety was breached.
Pursuant to O.C.G.A. Sections 19-7-1(c) and 51-4-4, parents normally have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of children who die unmarried and without children. Parents who are divorced would have an equal right to bring the claim and must share the proceeds. However, parents who are estranged from their children may be prohibited from filing a wrongful death claim.
O.C.G.A. Sec. 19-7-1(b)(3) states that parents must provide and care for their children. In order for the parents to lose rights to wrongful death claims, courts have found that "there must be clear and convincing evidence of an actual desertion, accompanied by an intention to sever entirely the parental relation." Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co. v. Adams, 221 Ga.App. 705 (Ga. Ct. App. 1996). Examples of this would be refusing to pay child support and severing communication for extended periods without a clear intention to reconcile.
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.