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What Damages Can You Recover in a Wrongful Death Case?

When a family member dies, it is always devastating, but it can feel particularly upsetting when that loss could have been prevented. When people die due to the negligence or wrongful acts of another party, surviving family members may be able to find closure by bringing a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.

Under Georgia's Wrongful Death Act, if a person is killed due to the wrongful act of another person or business, a wrongful death claim may be filed by the deceased person's surviving spouse, child, parents or the personal representative of the decedent's estate. They may seek compensation for the "full value of the life of the decedent," which can include both economic and intangible or noneconomic losses such as:

  • Lost wages, including what the deceased person might reasonably have earned had they lived and any future benefits or services they might have rendered
  • Loss of companionship, loss of counsel and advice and loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations

In addition, damages can be recovered to compensate the deceased person's estate for losses related to the deceased person. The decedent's executor must bring the wrongful death claim, which can include compensation for:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses related to the decedent's injury and death
  • Pain and suffering undergone by the decedent prior to death

Negligence is a central issue in all Georgia personal injury cases, including those involving wrongful death. Negligence becomes a crucial issue, especially in fatal auto accidents, as Georgia law allows individuals to recover damages only if they are 49 percent or less at fault for their injuries.

As such, if the decedent was 50 percent or more at fault for their injuries, a wrongful death action cannot recover damages from  people whose fault was less.

While you may be grieving the loss of your loved one, the law only permits you to file a wrongful death claim within two years from the date of your family member's death, so it is important to file a claim as soon as you are able.

At Jason & Bradley, LLC, located in Atlanta, we represent those who are pursuing damages through a wrongful death claim. Call us at 404-297-9933 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation at our Stone Mountain office.