Answers About Georgia Wrongful Death Claims and Cases

Wrongful Death

In a Georgia Wrongful death case, what happens if a deceased person’s spouse cannot be located?

In a Georgia wrongful death case where the person who died has an estranged husband or wife who cannot be found, it may be possible for the case to be brought by a personal representative appointed by the Court, and any money recovered would be held in trust for the beneficiaries.  If there are minor children, the minor children may need a conservator to bring the action.

Georgia Legal Resources and FAQ: What is a wrongful death claim?

Georgia Legal Resources and FAQ:  A “wrongful death” is a fatality that is caused by the wrongful or negligent acts of another, including intentional acts. Georgia wrongful death statutes determine who can assert a claim for wrongful death.  O.C.G.A. 51-4-1 and related code sections.


Georgia Probate and Wrongful Death Answers: Why and when does the probate court and deceased’s estate become involved in a Georgia wrongful death claim?

Georgia Probate and Wrongful Death Answers: In many wrongful death cases there are multiple claims for damages. In most instances, the surviving children or spouse will can make or bring the wrongful death action.  O.C.G.A. 51-4-2.  Simultaneously, the deceased’s estate, through a personal representative, can and will usually bring the estate’s claims for pain and suffering, medical and final expenses, and if necessary – for punitive damages against the at-fault person or company.  In Georgia, an estate can seek separate damages than those sought in the wrongful death action, including hospital and medical expenses, funeral costs, and for the deceased’s pre-death pain and suffering.  If there is no person entitled to pursue the wrongful death case, an administrator or executor of the estate, under O.C.G.A. 51-4-5, may sometimes be permitted to bring a case and hold any recovery for the next of kin.

In Georgia, the estate’s claims may be brought and litigated or settled after the probate court appoints a temporary or permanent administrator of estate.  This process is handled through the filing of a petition in the county where the deceased last lived, requesting that the Probate Court appoint a “personal representative.”  This usually means an executor or co-executor when there is a will, and an administrator if there is no will.  Any money that is later recovered for the estate’s claims, may pass through the estate and distributed to the proper heirs by the personal representative.

Our lawyers will help you and your family have the proper administrator or executor appointed at no additional charge in your wrongful death case.

Georgia Wrongful Death Cases: Can parents bring a claim for wrongful death if their child is killed due to someone’s negligence?

Georgia law allows parents to bring a claim for wrongful death if a deceased child is unmarried and has no children of his or her own.  O.C.G.A. 19-7-1. Under these circumstances, parents, married or divorced, may pursue the claim jointly or separately, but will both share in the recovery.  If you have questions about a wrongful death claim, contact our Atlanta, Georgia Wrongful Death Attorneys.  We answer all questions for free, immediately over the phone.  Call 770-400-0000 to have your questions answered by a friendly lawyer.

Don’t want to call?  Contact us online.

Wrongful Death in Georgia FAQ: If my husband or wife is killed in an accident, what role will my adult children play?

Wrongful Death in Georgia FAQ: As the surviving spouse, you are first in line to seek recovery through a wrongful death claim. Each child has a right to share equally with you in the recovery that results from the wrongful death claim, whether through a judgment or settlement. As the surviving spouse, however, you will never get less than a third of your net recovery.  See, OCGA 51-4-1, et seq. and particularly O.C.G.A. 51-4-2.

Georgia Legal Resource FAQ: How much are Georgia wrongful death cases worth and how are the damages calculated?

Georgia Legal Resources and FAQ: Determining the amount of damages in a wrongful death case is different in every individual case  In Georgia, how much a wrongful death case is worth is generally said to be based on the full value of a person’s life.  O.C.G.A. 51-4-2 and 19-7-1(c)(1).

The full value of a life is based upon both the loss of the value of the life. A Court or Jury views full value of a life from the perspective of the deceased.  The earnings or economic damages of the decedent are based upon what the decedent would have earned during life.  Economic damages are often calculated based on their current age, education, job and state of health before they were wrongfully killed.

Under Georgia law, non economic damages are based upon a jury’s “enlightened conscience.”  The Jury hears evidence about how the deceased lived and what he or she had to look forward to in their future.

In some, but not all cases, a high net-worth person, such as a professional athlete, entertainer, or doctor will have a large future value.  But, a skillful lawyer will present evidence to Jurors that each person is different and special, and that the loss of enjoyment and future life has a huge value to all of us.

An estate also has claims for funeral and medical expenses, pre-death pain and suffering, and punitive damages.   These damages may apply (known as a “survival claim”) in cases when the victim does not die immediately.  Punitive damages may be awarded when there is evidence that the at-fault party acted intentionally or willfully.  O.C.G.A. 51-4-5(b) and O.C.G.A. 9-2-41.

It is virtually impossible to entirely answer and explain the value of a Georgia wrongful death case in these pages. Therefore, we invite anyone with questions to call  for a free consult with a friendly and caring attorney.  Even if you are not certain if you have a case, feel free to call us.  A Millar Law Firm lawyer will answer your questions today.  We will answer your questions as fully and honestly as we can, and will not pressure you to ‘sign now.’

Georgia Wrongful Death On The Job FAQ: If my family member was killed while on-the-job, can we pursue a wrongful death action?

Georgia Wrongful Death On The Job FAQ:  We wish there were always an easy answer to this question.  Each case must be carefully investigated.  Sometimes on-the-job death benefits are limited to what is available under the Georgia Workers Compensation Act (WCA).  Financial recovery under the WCA can be disappointingly small.   This is why we recommend that each and every at-work death or serious injury claim be evaluated for a legal determination as to whether there may be a claim or lawsuit against a third-party that may owe additional compensation for what happened.

In Georgia, if a third party causes the wrongful death, a separate claim may exist.  We often see this situation where a truck driver or warehouse worker is hurt or killed by an employee of another company or a stranger on the road or highway.  Often, the only way to know for sure is to investigate.  One common scenario that we see happens when a worker is hit by heavy equipment, such as a bobcat or forklift at a large factory, storage facility or construction site.  An investigation should be performed to determine whether the deceased was hit and killed by a person working for a different employer, or whether the accident happened because an outside company sold a defective product to the employer or failed to properly maintain the equipment.

If a family member is killed while on-the-job, call our Atlanta Georgia wrongful death lawyers to discuss the specific circumstances of the wrongful death.  We will answer your questions and investigate at no charge.  We only charge legal fees on cases when we are able to recover money for you and your family.