Wrongful death as a legal term is a death that has been caused by the negligence, recklessness or fault of another person. For example, deaths caused by drunk driving, the manufacture or sale of a defective or dangerous product, the construction of an unsound structure or building, or failing to diagnose or properly treat a serious disease may be considered under the law as “wrongful deaths.”
In Georgia, wrongful death lawsuits or claims can be brought by the surviving spouse, or if there is no surviving spouse, a child or children of the deceased. If there is no surviving spouse or child, the parent of the deceased can bring the wrongful death action. When there is no such person entitled to bring an action for wrongful death, the administrator or executor of the estate of the decedent may bring an action, and any amount recovered will be held for the benefit of the next of kin.
Wrongful death claims are filed in order to obtain monetary damages to recover “the full value of the life of the decedent.” This includes both the economic value of the deceased person’s normal life expectancy, such as the earnings the deceased person would have provided, as well as the intangible element or value of the deceased’s life which in incapable of exact proof.
In some situations, there is also an estate claim whereby the administrator or executor of the estate can pursue claims for funeral, medical and other necessary expenses resulting from the death. The estate can also recover for the pain, suffering or mental anguish suffered by the decedent. Finally, if warranted, the estate can bring a claim for punitive damages, intended to punish wrongdoers and prevent them from harming others.
If you believe that a loved one has suffered a wrongful death, call us at 404-253-7860 or contact Chambers & Aholt, LLP, online for a FREE consultation.
We handle these cases on a contingent fee basis. If there is no recovery no fees are owed.