The state of Georgia has clear and definite rules regarding wrongful death claims. It clearly defines wrongful death as that which results from negligence, recklessness, or criminal activities of another party.
Wrongful death claims and personal injury claims have several similarities. Both cases must prove that there was negligence before anyone can receive any damages. The only difference is that the injured victim in a wrongful death claim is not available.
The survivors of the deceased have the right to bring a claim for the wrongful death of the individual. The amount of damages for this is the full value of the life of the decedent. This includes future lost earnings as well as many intangible things. There are considerations for children who never started earning an income. Under Georgia law, the jury determines the value of the life from how they believe the decedent valued his or her life.
The laws of Georgia allow the spouse to the deceased to present the wrongful death claim in court. If the deceased had a spouse and children, the spouse has the right to bring the action in Court. The law provides for the recovery to be divided among the spouse and children.
If the victim does not have any spouse or children, the case may be presented to the court by the parents to the deceased or a personal representative of the victim’s estate.
In addition the estate of the deceased has a claim for the mental and physical pain and suffering of the decedent, for medical bills and funeral bills. In a proper case, the estate may bring a claim for punitive damages. The Probate Court appoints the representative of the estate. If the deceased had a will, the person named in the will to be in charge of the estate is usually the person the Probate Court appoints. If there is no will, the law provides who the Probate Court should consider to appoint. If there is a will, the Personal Representative of the Estate follows the will in disbursing any recovery. If no will, the Representative follows Georgia law. After debts of the estate are paid, the proceeds are divided according to Georgia inheritance law.