Losing a loved one always feels wrong, but it is only legally a wrongful death in certain circumstances. In Georgia, wrongful death is a fatality that results from misconduct or negligence. Both individuals and businesses can be to blame for wrongful death.
When someone dies unexpectedly, their loved ones will suffer emotionally and financially. Loss of income, loss of support around the house and personal grief can all exacerbate the impact of a tragic death on a family. Wrongful death lawsuits give those left behind an opportunity for economic justice.
Who has the right to file a wrongful death claim in Georgia?
Family members have the most protection under Georgia law
When you look at the wrongful death statute in Georgia, you can easily see that it prioritizes close family relationships. The person with the highest priority and first legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit is the surviving spouse of the deceased individual.
If there is no surviving spouse, then children have the right to make a claim. If there is neither a spouse nor a child of the deceased, then other family members will have the right to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit.
In the rare situation where there are no immediate family members, a representative of the deceased’s estate may be the party that pursues legal action against the person or business who caused the death.
Regardless of who files the lawsuit, the goal will be to collect appropriate compensation for the practical consequences of the recent death and also to impose a financial penalty on the responsible party. Learning more about the laws that apply to wrongful death claims will help those hoping to pursue justice in civil court.