If somebody loses their life due to another’s negligent actions, certain surviving family members and legal representatives for the decedent may file suit for their losses in what is known as a wrongful death claim.
You are likely in an emotional state after this event and struggling to address the financial loss if you depended on that person’s income. Filing suit under these circumstances can understandably be difficult without support from a compassionate personal injury attorney. A Stone Mountain wrongful death lawyer can provide the guidance and representation you need to protect your family’s interests without putting too much additional stress on yourself.
Who Can Recover for Wrongful Death Losses?
Wrongful death can occur from any number of situations, such as motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian crashes, medical malpractice, dangerous property, defective products, and dangerous drugs.
In addition to numerous other rules for pursuing compensation for a wrongful death, Official Code of Georgia §§ 51-4-2, 51-4-4, and 51-4-5 establish a priority order for people who have legal standing to file suit. First priority goes to the decedent’s surviving spouse, followed by their surviving children by blood or adoption, their parent(s) in certain situations involving a minor, and finally to the person named as executor or administrator for the decedent’s estate.
If the executor or administrator pursues a wrongful death case, they could recover compensation on behalf of the decedent’s next of kin. However, family members not listed above—for example, siblings or grandparents—have no legal right to pursue wrongful death litigation themselves or act as plaintiffs in such a claim.
Regardless of who files suit, a wrongful death case may demand payments for both economic and non-economic losses sustained by surviving family members and by the decedent’s estate, including:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Estate administration costs
- Outstanding medical expenses
- Lost future financial support
- Lost value of inheritance
- Lost household services
- Lost care, counsel, and companionship
A Stone Mountain wrongful death attorney can go into more detail about what specific losses could be included in a claim.
Wrongful Death Filing Deadlines in Stone Mountain
In most situations, the deadline for filing wrongful death litigation is two years following the decedent’s date of death. However, there are some exceptions to this rule that a Stone Mountain wrongful death lawyer may be able to clarify.
For example, the beginning of the two-year statutory filing period may be “tolled” (paused) for up to five years until the decedent’s estate goes through probate. In addition, the law allows the start of that filing period to be tolled up to six years if there is still an active criminal case against the defendant.
Learn How a Stone Mountain Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help
Learning your loved one’s death may have been the result of someone’s carelessness can make the loss even more difficult to deal with. However, if you want to hold the person who hurt your family financially liable for their actions, help is available from the capable legal representatives at Childers, Schlueter & Smith.
Guidance from a Stone Mountain wrongful death lawyer can help clarify your options and provide you with the optimal legal strategy. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.