The death of a loved one because another person acted negligently is stressful. In addition to the emotional stress of losing a loved one, many families have to deal with the financial burden associated with such a loss. In legal terms, wrongful death is the loss of a life as a result of another’s negligent or deliberate behavior. Wrongful death lawsuits seek to hold another party liable for a preventable loss of life. Although no amount of compensation can replace a loved one, Georgia wrongful death laws are crafted so that a victim’s family can seek compensation and regain financial stability following a sudden accident.
Kimelyn Minnifield has been successful in securing compensation for families whose loved ones have lost their lives as a result of automobile accidents, tractor trailer accidents, motor cycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and swimming pool drownings.
Who Files Suit and When
Georgia law is different than the law in many other places as it separates the entire Wrongful Death claim into several parts. The claim itself is separated into the following smaller claims:
- Claim for medical expenses prior to death.
- Claim for pain and suffering prior to death.
- Claim for the “full value of the life” from the viewpoint of the decedent. (*More about this below).
The first two parts of the claim can only be brought by the administrator of the decedent’s estate. This is one reason that the choice of an administrator of the estate is an important choice. The individual chosen as administrator actually has a “seat” at the Plaintiff’s table during a trial. It is critical that the administrator be someone who represents stability and reliability. This is because the administrator will be responsible for dispersing any money recovered from the Wrongful Death Claim for medical expenses, or pre-death pain and suffering. Depending on the circumstances of the decedent’s death, the money provided as compensation for these two categories can be significant. Therefore, the jury must view the administrator as someone they can count on to disburse the money in the way that maximizes the impact and benefit to the family left behind.
The third part of the claim is considered the claim for the “full value” of the life of the decedent. Georgia is different from many states in that the “full value” of the life is considered not from the perspective of a juror and how that juror might value life in general, or “their own” life, but particularly how the juror perceives that the decedent valued their own life and the monetary value the decedent would have put on their own life.
Georgia law places limitations on who may file a wrongful death suit. Parents of victims who had no spouse or children may file, spouses may file on their own behalf and for their children and in the event of no family, the estate of the decedent may file. All civil lawsuits for personal injury must be filed within a period of two years, with limited exceptions that may shorten that period.
These cases are complicated; if you have lost a loved one due to the actions or inactions of another party, contact the Minnifield Law Group, LLC at (470) 317-9599 for a consultation.