Q: What is a wrongful death settlement worth?
Every wrongful death settlement is different. The amount of compensation you can recover for the wrongful death of a loved one will depend on the details of your particular case.
What is the standard for compensation in a wrongful death case in Georgia?
While there is no specific standard, the purpose of wrongful death damages in Georgia is to compensate for the “full value” of the decedent's life.
What does "full value of the life" mean?
Per Georgia Code § 51-4-1, full value of the life means “the full value of the life of the decedent without deducting for any of the necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had he lived.” Essentially, it is the contributions — both economic and noneconomic — the decedent would have made.
Full value includes both economic and noneconomic losses. This means that if a surviving family member or personal representative brings an action, that party can recover compensation for:
- Medical bills, funeral, and burial expenses
- Any other necessary expenses
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of employment benefits
- Lost support and services (e.g., childcare)
- Pain and suffering the decedent experienced from the time of the injury until death
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of advice and counsel
- Loss of care
The “full value” of one person’s life can vary significantly from that of someone else.
Why is the “full value of the life” different from one person to another?
While it is difficult to put a monetary value on a life, the courts must do so to determine how much you can receive for that death. This value rests on the contributions the decedent made and how the death will affect survivors.
If, for example, a person works part time at a minimum wage job, that person will not contribute financially to the family as much as an individual who earns six figures. The more a person makes, the greater the financial loss to the household if the individual dies before his time.
However, it is important to remember that the full value does not only consider the economic contributions your loved one made. We always ensure a settlement includes the value of your loved one’s advice and counsel, companionship, and taking care of the household, as well as other intangible losses, in addition to the amount of money he earned.
Is it possible to recover punitive damages in a Georgia wrongful death claim?
Yes. If you can show that the wrongdoer acted intentionally or with conscious disregard for the consequences of his actions, the court may award punitive damages.
Call Jason R. Schultz for help with your wrongful death case.
Damages in wrongful death cases are different from other personal injury claims. Talk with Georgia wrongful death lawyer, Jason R. Schultz, for guidance on how to recover the compensation you need to live the best possible life after this tragedy in your family. You can call us at any time. We will always treat you with compassion and sensitivity. Set up your free consultation by calling 404-474-0804 today.
Before our meeting, feel free to check out our wrongful death checklist to keep everything organized during this very trying time in your life.