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What Kind of Damages Can I Recover in a Georgia Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Posted on - Wednesday, November 11, 2015 under FAQ, Wrongful Death

No amount of money can replace the sudden and tragic loss of a loved one. No jury can award a mother’s love or a child’s smile. But when a family member is killed due to someone’s negligence or recklessness, our laws attempt to provide some level of justice, comfort, and support through the award of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.

In a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit, the victim’s relatives – usually a parent, spouse, or child – seek damages for the losses they have suffered as the result of their loved one’s death. This is separate from any lawsuit that may be filed on behalf of the estate of the deceased, in which damages can be recovered for things like medical expenses and burial costs and any pain and suffering the victim suffered before death.

Damages in a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit are awarded for “the full value of the life of the decedent without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had he lived.”  O.C.G.A. § 51-4-1(1).

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the more tangible quantifiable losses suffered due to the loss of the loved one. Things like loss of potential lifetime earnings, income, support or services, which are reduced to present cash value. Factors such as income at the time of death, age, health, and life expectancy are considered when determining an amount to award for economic damages.

If the victim was a child or a stay-at-home or unemployed adult, economic damages can still be awarded even if they were not earning an income at the time of death, through proving the value of damages in such cases can be more challenging.

Non-Economic Damages

Losing a loved one of course means more than losing a paycheck. It means the loss of everything that makes up a person’s life and relationships. Again, putting a dollar figure on such things as love, support, and companionship may seem like a fool’s errand, but that is what juries do in these lawsuits.

There is no formula for calculating these damages in Georgia; rather, damages are to be awarded based on “the enlightened conscience of an impartial jury. Evidence and testimony will be presented as to how the decedent lived their life, the support they provided others, their friendships and family relationships, as well as their age and health.

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.