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What Happens to a Personal Injury Suit if the Plaintiff Dies?

Posted on - Wednesday, January 14, 2015 under Personal Injury

The effects of a catastrophic injury can last a lifetime. Sadly, that lifetime may be significantly shorter as a result of the injury. Sometimes, after a personal injury lawsuit has been filed, the plaintiff may pass away due to the injuries that are the basis of the suit. If that happens while the case is pending, what happens then?

Quite simply, the case does not go away, and the defendant and their insurance company don’t get to avoid responsibility for the injuries caused by the defendant just because the ultimate impact of their negligence was the death of the plaintiff.

Even if the plaintiff’s death was wholly unrelated to the injuries at issue in the lawsuit, the case may still continue.

Like every other state, Georgia has laws that allow for family members of the estate of a deceased plaintiff to essentially “take over” as plaintiffs in the case. Georgia’s “survival” statute provides that: “No action shall abate by the death of either party, where the cause of action shall in any case survive to or against the legal representatives of the deceased party, either in the same or any other form of action.” (O.C.G.A. 9-2-40).

What this means is that within 180 days of the plaintiff’s death, the successors or representatives of the plaintiff can file a motion with the court to substitute as plaintiffs in the case. The case will then proceed as it otherwise would have.

However, if the death can be attributed to the negligence of the defendant, the complaint may be amended to assert a wrongful death claim.

The Parian Law Firm: Metro Atlanta Wrongful Death Law Firm

Living in the aftermath of the loss of a loved is never easy, especially when the loss comes suddenly due to the fault of someone else. At the Parian Law Firm, we provide support, compassion, and skilled wrongful death legal representation for families in metro Atlanta. Call us at (770) 727-5550 or chat live online with a member of our staff today.