Wrongful Death Claim After a Car Accident in Georgia

December 19, 2020

When you lose someone you love in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence; there is nothing you can do to recover your loss. However, during this hard period, it is crucial to understand that there is a time limit in Georgia to claim wrongful death compensation.

A Georgia car accident lawyer is necessary to advise you on the procedures to file a civil lawsuit and receive the maximum compensation. The at-fault driver should be held liable for their irresponsible actions that caused so much pain and suffering to the deceased family.

Time Limitations

In wrongful death situations in a car collision, surviving family members need to be supported, so they do not miss the deadline for filing the lawsuit. As the state law (O.C.G.A.§ 51-4-2(a)) states, they may be entitled to the “full value of the life of the decedent,” and the “full value of the life has two parts:

  • Intangible – The deceased person’s relationships, family, and reasons to live. For example, spending time with the kids, relaxing, and playing.
  • Tangible – The money that the fatal car accident victim would have brought to the family and the value of the matters handled in the household by the person. These may include household jobs like washing the dishes, driving the kids to school, or fixing things in the house.

The deceased person’s family can also claim for the decedent’s pain and suffering on behalf of the deceased’s Estate.

In Georgia, a wrongful death claim has to be filed within two years of death. There is a statute of limitations. Nevertheless, this can vary in specific cases. A driver is supposed to drive with caution and care towards others on the road. Otherwise, the driver can be defined as reckless and negligent.

The family of the person who died in the auto accident by the wrongful act of another driver has the right to bring a wrongful death claim. In case there are also surviving children, the surviving spouse of the deceased will be their representative, and the compensation received will be shared amongst them. If there is no surviving spouse, in the scenario that the deceased was divorced, the children can file a lawsuit independently.

If again, there is no spouse or children, then a representative of the deceased person’s estate has the right to file a claim for wrongful death or the deceased person’s parents or guardians.

In the state of Georgia, there are also some other time limitations.

For instance, if someone is hit by a police car and dies, this accident is considered to be caused by a government employee. In this case, the time limit is even shorter. The claim for wrongful death has to be filed by the family between six months to one year after the accident victim’s death.

When there is a criminal prosecution pending, the statute of limitations can be paused up to six years from the person’s death. If the driver at-fault violated Georgia law, resulting in a fatal automobile accident, the decision must come out first.

When is the Driver Considered Liable in a Car Accident?

Based on the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety report, there were more than 1,500 deaths from car accidents during the last year.

The following reckless driving behavior is considered negligence and is responsible for most of the fatal car accidents.

  • Not following the traffic laws
  • Driving faster than the conditions can justify
  • Driving and using cell phones or other devices at the same time
  • Driving while drunk or drugged and being incapable of responding to an unexpected event
  • Failing to yield the right of way

Driving under the above conditions and causing an accident that leads to another person’s death makes the driver responsible for wrongful death and liable for damages.

If you suffer the loss of someone you love from a car accident caused by the irresponsible driving behavior of another person, you should speak to a Georgia automobile accident attorney the soonest. An experienced car accident attorney can investigate the incident and make sure that you will get compensated as you deserve.

Our team at Joe Durham Jr., P.C., is here to support and guide you through this difficult period and assure compensation and closure. Call us today and book your free consultation appointment.