Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia depends on whether the person who died is a child or an adult.
When a child dies, who can file a wrongful death action in Georgia?
When a child dies from something other than natural causes, Georgia law provides guidance on who has the legal authority to sue for the wrongful death. The people entitled to bring a wrongful death action for the passing of a child are:
- The deceased party’s spouse
- The parents/legal guardian of the deceased child
- If there are no surviving parents of the deceased child, then the administrator or executor of the estate of the deceased child or his personal representative
Does it matter if the parents are living together?
No. If the parents are divorced, separated, or living apart, both parents have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. If one of these parents is absent or refuses to go forward with the action, the other parent can file the lawsuit alone.
Note: If one parent has abandoned or failed to provide support to the child, he may be unable to bring a claim.
Who has the right to sue for the wrongful death of an adult?
The following parties have the right to file suit for the wrongful death of an adult:
- A surviving spouse (the primarily eligible party)
- A child of the deceased person.
- Parents (only if there is no surviving spouse or children, or if the spouse is the alleged negligent party)
- Personal representative
What can I recover in a Georgia wrongful death suit?
What you can recover depends on your relationship to the deceased.
If you are a spouse, child, or parent of the deceased, the damages are the full value of the life of the deceased. If you are a personal representative of the deceased, the damages available include medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and all other necessary expenses that arose from the injury and death.
Who are the possible beneficiaries of a wrongful death action?
In a claim for the passing of a child, the surviving spouse or parents of the deceased child can be the beneficiaries. In cases where the parents are the beneficiaries, they both split the award, but the court can order a different distribution. If an absent parent does not appear within two years, the court can award that person’s share to the parent who brought the action.
If one parent abandoned the child or failed to provide support, he may be unable to recover from the award.
In a claim for the death of an adult, the surviving spouse and children can be the beneficiaries. Also, the estate can be the beneficiary, if the administrator or executor of the estate or the personal representative of the deceased adult brings an action.
Call Jason R. Schultz for help filing a wrongful death claim.
If a member of your immediate family has died due to a negligent or intentional act, call on Georgia wrongful death attorney Jason R. Schultz for help. Before our meeting, feel free to read through our wrongful death checklist for more information about the process you can expect to go through.
Set up your free consultation today: 404-474-0804.