Contact
How can we help?
Attorney

Newnan Wrongful Death Lawyer

When a family loses a loved one, it can be difficult to see a way forward. If the death was caused by a criminal act, the justice system will file charges and prosecute a case against the defendant.

But many people do not realize that regardless of the outcome of a criminal case, the family of the deceased still has a civil claim to make against the defendant. The same can be said of a death caused by an accident.

If your loved one has recently passed away as the result of another’s intentional or accidental act, our firm’s Newnan wrongful death lawyers are here to help.

By filing a civil claim for wrongful death with the assistance of an injury attorney, a family can be compensated for the suffering endured by their loved one and can take a step towards moving forward in their lives.

Legal Basis for Wrongful Death Claims

Georgia has passed no statute defining a wrongful death. Instead, the state’s courts have defined a wrongful death as any death that was caused by the intentional act, recklessness, or negligence of another. However, a plaintiff in these cases cannot list “wrongful death” as the core reason for their suit.

This is because civil lawsuits must allege what is known as a cause of action. These are a limited list of legal concepts, defined by the courts, that plaintiffs can use to file lawsuits. Examples of these include:

  • Assault
  • Products Liability
  • Negligence, and
  • Premises Liability

Once the plaintiff and their Newnan wrongful death attorney have chosen a cause of action that fits the facts of the case, they can then allege that this underlying cause of action resulted in the death of their loved one.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim

Another complicated aspect of a wrongful death claim is choosing the proper plaintiff. Of course, the person against whom the harm was inflicted cannot file a lawsuit. In general, a surviving spouse may be named as a plaintiff in a suit alleging wrongful death under GA Code 51-4-2.

Any surviving children over the age of eighteen may also be plaintiffs if the act resulted in the death of both of their parents.

However, if the children are under the age of 18, they cannot be the named plaintiff in a lawsuit. Instead, the court will require that the executor of the deceased’s estate to file the suit on behalf of the children.

Regardless of the means by which a plaintiff is found, Georgia ensures that a defendant cannot escape liability if there is a potential plaintiff who wishes to come forward.

Potential Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases

Further complicating matters is the fact that two separate lawsuits must be filed for full compensation to be awarded. The first is defined in GA Code 51-4-2(a) as being for the “full value of the life of the decedent.” This is a somewhat nebulous concept that requires consultation with economic experts and a Newnan wrongful death lawyer.

These experts determine a person’s economic potential if they were to continue earing wages for the rest of their lives. Additionally, the full life value includes intangible things, like family interactions and life experiences.

The second suit is related, but deals with more tangible damages such as funeral costs, medical bills, and any suffering endured by the deceased prior to death. While somewhat easier to calculate due to exact costs of medical bills, pain and suffering is still open to interpretation.

Unlike in some states, there is no monetary limit imposed on a wrongful death suit.

The rule is described by Georgia’s courts as, “…the value of the child’s life must be established by the enlightened conscience of an impartial factfinder as applied to evidence of the case…” Chrysler Group, LLC v. Walden, S.E.2d (2016) quoting Collins v. McPherson, 91 Ga.App. 347, 349 (1) (1954). In short, it states that any verdict can be awarded as long as it is not totally unreasonable.

How a Newnan Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

Nothing can bring your loved one back into your life or fully soothe the pain caused by the loss. But our firm’s Newnan wrongful death attorneys can help through handling your case with both compassion and vigor to bring your family peace of mind and future economic security.

By initiating a civil lawsuit, the deceased’s family can bring the person or corporation responsible for your loved one’s death to accountability. Regardless of whether criminal charges are filed against the defendant, or if the defendant was convicted, the decedent’s family may still file a civil suit.

This suit can claim damages for not only the medical costs and funeral expenses associated with the death, but also for future economic harm due to lost earning potential and any suffering endured by the decedent. There is a strict time limit wherein a plaintiff must file suit, so time is of the essence. Contact our firm today.