Does the administrator of the estate have to bring a Georgia wrongful death case?

Generally, no. If the person who died is survived by a husband or wife, that surviving spouse can bring the wrongful death claim, regardless of whether he or she is appointed as the administrator of the estate. If the decedent did not leave a surviving spouse, then the wrongful death claim may be brought by the decedent’s children (through their guardians, if necessary), regardless of who is appointed as the administrator of the estate. If the decedent did not have a surviving spouse or any surviving children, then the decedent’s parents have the right to bring the wrongful death case.

Only if the decedent died without leaving any surviving spouse, children, or parents would the administrator of the decedent’s estate bring the wrongful death claim. (For more detail about this, see the question “Who can bring a wrongful death case in Georgia?” above.)

There are, however, some claims—usually called the “estate claims,” as distinct from the “wrongful death claims”—that can only be brought by the administrator of the estate. These estate claims usually involve recovering damages for pain and suffering, pre-death medical expenses, and funeral expenses. (For more detail about this, see the question “What compensation is available in Georgia for a wrongful death case?” above.)

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