Fighting For The Rights Of Georgia’s Injured For Decades

Who has the option of filing a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2024 | Uncategorized

Those negatively affected by deadly car crashes and similar scenarios often want some kind of justice. Occasionally, the Georgia criminal courts may grant families a sense of justice and closure by prosecuting the person at fault for an incident and securing a conviction.

Unfortunately, not every tragedy meets the necessary standards for the state to bring criminal charges. Even when someone dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another person, holding them criminally accountable is not necessarily an option. Thankfully, it could be possible to seek justice in the civil courts instead.

Those grieving the loss of a loved one can file a wrongful death lawsuit. A successful wrongful death lawsuit can compensate surviving family members for the losses caused by someone’s death. Who actually has the authority to take legal action after someone close to them dies?

Georgia law prioritizes immediate family

In some states, wrongful death statutes focus on the estate of the deceased. The personal representative handling probate matters is also the individual who has the ability and responsibility to file a wrongful death lawsuit. They then distribute the funds generated through that lawsuit among close family members.

In Georgia, the wrongful death statute is a bit different. Instead of having the estate of the decedent essentially bring the lawsuit, the law empowers surviving family members to do so. Typically, the closer the family relationship is, the stronger the right to take legal action.

Spouses are often the family members who demand financial accountability after a tragedy. However, the children of the deceased individual can also take legal action. Parents can take legal action when the deceased individual does not have a spouse or children. More distant relatives may have the authority to initiate litigation in cases where someone does not have any surviving immediate family members.

Typically, only one lawsuit is possible per tragedy, meaning that children or parents may have to defer to the spouse of the decedent. However, one lawsuit can address the losses experienced by the entire family of the deceased individual. The plaintiff isn’t necessarily the only beneficiary of the lawsuit.

Depending on family circumstances, they may need to share the proceeds of the lawsuit with other surviving family members. Generally speaking, the surviving family members of someone who died tragically have to act relatively quickly. They may need help to handle what can be a complex legal matter during what is likely a very emotional time. Learning more about Georgia’s wrongful death rules can benefit those grieving the death of a family member. A successful lawsuit can provide a family with a sense of justice after a preventable tragedy.