Losing a family member or loved one can be emotionally devastating. Unfortunately, it can also cause substantial financial hardships that leave your family struggling to cope. When someone else is responsible for causing your loved one’s death, you may be able to take action against them and ensure they are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Thankfully, when you have a compassionate Dunwoody wrongful death lawyer at John Foy & Associates working for you, you can get the legal help you need to build a powerful case against the liable party so you can get justice for your cherished family member. Learn more about how wrongful death claims work, who might be held responsible for your loved one’s passing, and what is next for your case when you contact our personal injury law office for a free consultation.
Georgia Wrongful Death Laws
During this time of mourning, working with a wrongful death lawyer in Dunwoody, GA may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, when another party is responsible for causing your loved one’s death, it is imperative that you take action on your claim as soon as possible, as the statute of limitations is quickly approaching.
Under Ga. Code §51-4-1, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim if someone else is at fault for causing your family member’s death. This does not mean their actions must have been intentional or criminal. Wrongful death actions are warranted in instances of negligence, car accidents, medical malpractice, criminal activity, or product defects.
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Only Specific Parties Can File a Dunwoody Wrongful Death Claim
It might surprise you to learn that Georgia law mandates only specific parties have a right to file a wrongful death action. If you are unsure whether you have this authority, you can always discuss the specific details of your case with your wrongful death attorney in Dunwoody, GA.
Under the Georgia wrongful death code, the following parties are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in this respective order:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The decedent’s surviving adult child or children
- The decedent’s surviving parents or parent
- The decedent’s executor or administrator of the estate
Georgia law prohibits other family members, such as cousins, grandparents, siblings, or other parties, from filing a claim. In the event the executor of the decedent’s estate filed the claim, damages will be paid to the decedent’s next of kin, according to Ga. Code §51-4-5.
Essential Deadlines for Your Wrongful Death Claim in Dunwoody
It is crucial to get your wrongful death claim filed before the Georgia wrongful statute of limitations passes. According to Ga. Code §9-3-33, the individual filing the wrongful death lawsuit must do so within two years of the decedent’s death.
However, there may be instances in which the statute of limitations could be temporarily paused. According to Ga. Code §9-3-99, if the decedent’s death was caused by any type of criminal activity such as homicide, assault, or manslaughter, the statute of limitations would extend to a maximum of six years from the decedent’s death, or two years from the date the criminal case is resolved.
Furthermore, if the decedent’s estate does not go through probate, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit can extend for up to five years, according to Ga. Code §9-3-92.
Recoverable Damages in Dunwoody Wrongful Death Actions
Wrongful death lawsuits are different from criminal cases. With help from your wrongful death attorney, you can demand the liable party compensate your family for the loss you experienced and the emotional stress you endured due to your loved one’s passing.
Damages can be paid to the decedent’s surviving family members or their estate based on the type of loss awarded. Examples of damages paid to the decedent’s estate include:
- The decedent’s medical expenses prior to their death
- The decedent’s burial and funeral costs
Other types of damages are paid to the decedent’s surviving family members. According to the GA wrongful death code, examples of these damages include:
- Loss of the decedent’s companionship, advice, care, and council
- Loss of the decedent’s financial support and income
- Lots of the decedent’s household services
Georgia Survival Actions Are Not Wrongful Death Claims
Many people are quick to assume survival actions and wrongful death claims are the same thing. Although many use these interchangeably, they are actually an entirely separate type of legal matter. Survival actions refer to a civil claim where the personal representative of the decedent’s estate seeks compensation for the harm and pain the decedent suffered as a result of the liable party’s actions.
You can think of a survival action as a personal injury claim brought forward by someone advocating for the decedent and the trauma they experienced to do to the accident they were involved in, or they are devastating injuries prior to their death. If they had lived, the decedent would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim against the liable party. A survival action allows their estate to receive compensation for these damages and ensures the liable party is held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
For instance, if you are the surviving spouse of someone who passed away in a motorcycle accident caused by a drunk driver, you may have the right to file a survival action to seek compensation for your spouse’s physical pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and distress, medical bills, loss of consortium, diminished quality of life, and more.
Connect with a Dunwoody Wrongful Death Attorney Today
After everything your family has been through, moving forward with a wrongful death action is overwhelming. You need a dedicated legal advocate on your side who is just as passionate about demanding justice for your deceased family member as you are.
With John Foy & Associates working for you, you can make the at-fault party pay. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Dunwoody wrongful death lawyer at our firm today when you complete our quick contact form or ca