A loved one’s death is always tragic and difficult to deal with. This loss can be even more troubling if it came as a result of negligent acts on behalf of another person. However, while legal action may not be the first priority after the loss of a loved one, Georgia law provides a way for the surviving spouse to recover for the wrongful death of their wife or husband.
Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?
Under Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act, if a person is fatally injured and killed by the wrongful act of another person or company, there are two separate avenues for legal claims. The first is via the surviving spouse or next kin of the decedent. In that instance, the Wrongful Death Act allows the family of the person who died to recover “the full value of the life of the decedent.” Georgia law holds that the “full value of the life” includes both economic damages, such as likely lifetime income and earnings, value of services and other losses of income, as well as intangible damages such of loss of relationships.
Georgia law also allows for a claim made through the decedents estate. The estate claim allows for financial recovery regarding specific items such as medical bills, funeral and burial costs and payment for lost wages.
When Do You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Moving quickly in situations involving the wrongful death of a spouse or family member is important. Generally, Georgia law places a two-year limitation on any action for wrongful death. However, that time limitations period can sometimes be lengthened, or “tolled,” or shortened.
If someone is fatally injured or killed due to a criminal act (such as driving under the influence), the limitations period can be tolled. The criminal act, however, does not have to be intended and can even amount to a simple traffic citation. For example, if the individual or company who caused the death of a spouse or family member received a citation as a result of a traffic collision, the limitations period is “tolled” from the date of the violation until the final disposition of the traffic citation or for six years, whichever is shorter. At that point, the two-year limitations period begins to run.
While the statute of limitations period is, in most instances, two years, if the government caused a person’s death (such as in the instance of a collision involving a school bus or police vehicle), you must also give notice of the claim within twelve months of the event. This notice is called “ante litem” notice.
How Can Bodewell Injury Group Help?
At Bodewell Injury Group, we are committed to helping secure compensation for the spouses and families of wrongful death victims. Our compassionate and experienced team is here to ease the burden of the loss of a loved one. Bodewell’s services are completely free unless we recover on behalf of you or your loved one’s estate.
If your spouse of family member has been killed as a result of the negligence or wrongful conduct of another, call Bodwell today and allow our team to fight for the recovery you and your family deserve.