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Rome Wrongful Death Lawyer

An untimely death will throw anyone’s family into chaos. On top of the obvious emotional toll that the event takes on a family, they must deal with any medical bills, funeral costs, and lost earning potential resulting from the event.

However, whether the death was the result of an intentional act, or an accident, the deceased’s family has the right to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator for wrongful death.

Our firm’s Rome wrongful death lawyers help to guide families through these difficult times to obtain the compensation that they deserve. To learn more or discuss the legal options at your disposal, consult with an accident attorney in Rome today.

Wrongful Death Laws in Georgia

Whenever we talk about suing someone, we are talking about a civil case. While the underlying acts in a wrongful death case may be criminal in nature, any legal punishment for those acts will be handled by the District Attorney’s office.

Regardless of the outcome of any criminal trial, or even if no charges are filed, the decedent’s surviving family can initiate a civil lawsuit.

Civil lawsuits are always centered around what are known as causes of action. These are specific legal concepts under which people must file suit.

There is no cause of action in Georgia called “wrongful death.” Rather, plaintiffs must file suits under other causes of action and state in their complaint that the cause of action resulted in a death. Examples of these causes of action include:

  • Negligence,
  • Product Liability,
  • Assault, and
  • False Imprisonment

To prevail in their cases, plaintiffs or their Rome wrongful death lawyers must demonstrate each individual element of their cause of action, in addition to demonstrating that the defendant’s actions led to their family members’ death.

Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim

One nuanced aspect of a wrongful death claim is the question of who can file suit. Usually, in cases alleging negligence for example, the plaintiff is the injured party. Of course, in cases where the plaintiff has died, he cannot initiate a lawsuit. Georgia has passed a statute defining who a plaintiff may be in cases of wrongful death.

Generally, a surviving husband or wife may file a suit with the help of a Rome wrongful death attorney alleging wrongful death under GA Code 51-4-2. Adult children may also be the plaintiffs if both spouses have died. However, if the children are minors, and there is no surviving spouse, the executor of the deceased’s estate must file the suit.

In cases where there is no executor, or no estate, the court may appoint a guardian to serve as plaintiff on behalf of the children.

Either way, Georgia has taken legislative action to ensure that a suitable plaintiff can be found and that, in no event, will a defendant escape liability if there is a plaintiff who wishes to come forward.

Wrongful Death Claim Process

Georgia separates the damages that an estate may claim into two separate lawsuits. To obtain full compensation, the estate must file both claims. 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 both the determination of a person’s economic potential if they were to continue working for the rest of their lives and the value of intangible things, like family life and life experiences.

The second suit is related, but deals with more precise damages directly related to the death such as funeral costs, medical bills, and any suffering endured by the deceased prior to death. While some states have instituted a limit as to damages that may be claimed by the decedent’s estate, Georgia has declined to do so.

Total damages in a wrongful death suit have been 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, any verdict can be awarded as long as it is not totally unreasonable.

Talk to a Rome Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If you have recently lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, recklessness, or violent act, our firm’s Rome wrongful death lawyers are here to help. We will listen to your concerns and needs with compassion and understanding.

After identifying the proper plaintiffs and defendants we will take every step necessary to ensure that your family receives proper compensation for their loss. Regardless of any criminal action taken by the state, you may be entitled to collect damages. Contact our firm today to see how we can help.