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When negligence leads to wrongful death

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2022 | Wrongful Death

A tragic and unexpected loss can be very difficult for surviving family members, especially if the death was preventable.

There is no amount of money that can bring your loved one back, but seeking compensation for your loss can assist with medical bills, funeral expenses and lost wages. Additionally, your wrongful death lawsuit may act as a catalyst for change that saves lives in the future.

What is wrongful death negligence?

When someone dies as a result of another person or organization’s carelessness and inattention, these actions or nonactions constitute negligence. Like personal injury claims, plaintiffs in wrongful death suits must be able to prove the following elements:

  • The defendant’s behavior is partially or wholly responsible for the death
  • The defendant had a duty of care to protect the deceased but failed to do so
  • The survivors of the deceased suffer economic, non-economic and/or punitive damages

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

The law allows specific people the opportunity to represent a decedent in a civil case:

  • The spouse and children of the deceased
  • Parents (if the deceased has no living spouse or children)
  • The estate executor (if there are no surviving family members)

In Georgia, the statute of limitations for filing wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the death; however, there can also be claims for the pain and suffering of the deceased before death. Generally the statute of limitations for such claim runs two years from the date of the medical errors. In cases where the defendant also faces criminal charges, the state may extend the deadline for civil claims pending the conclusion of the trial.