Who can file a Georgia wrongful death claim after a car accident?
Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult, particularly if the negligence of another driver was the cause of their death. In these cases, it may be possible for surviving family members to recover compensation and closure through a Georgia wrongful death claim. It is important to understand that family members have only a limited amount of time to file a civil lawsuit in these cases. Working with an experienced Georgia wrongful death attorney can be incredibly beneficial towards receiving maximum compensation in these situations.
If someone loses their life in a car accident in Georgia caused by the negligence action of another person, then surviving family members may be entitled to the “full value of the life of the decedent,” under state law (O.C.G.A.§ 51-4-2(a)).
Under state law, the surviving spouse of the deceased is allowed to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased also has surviving children, then the surviving spouse will act as a representative of the children and share with them any damages that are received. If the deceased was divorced or there is no surviving spouse, any children of the deceased would be able to file a claim on their own. If there is no surviving spouse or children available to bring a claim in court, the parents of the deceased or a representative of the deceased person’s estate will be allowed to bring a wrongful death claim.
There are a few timelines in place for a Georgia car accident wrongful death claim
The statute of limitations for most car accident wrongful death claims is two years from the date of a person’s death. However, in some cases, this time limit may be shorter or longer.
If a person is killed in an accident caused by a government entity or government employee (i.e. getting struck by a regional transit authority vehicle or police car), then notice to bring the claim may be considerably shorter than the statute of limitations, ranging from six months to a year.
If a person is killed due to a violation of Georgia law, including DUI or reckless driving, the statute of limitations may be paused pending the outcome of any criminal prosecution or until six years from the date of the person’s death, whichever comes first.
Who can face liability in a Georgia car accident case?
During the latest reporting year in Georgia, there were more than 1,500 total traffic deaths, according to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
Most car accidents occur due to the careless or negligent actions of one or more drivers on the roadway. It is not uncommon for a fatal car accident to be caused by a driver:
- Failing to follow traffic laws
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Operating too fast for conditions
- Operating while distracted by cell phones or other devices
- Operating while impaired by alcohol or drugs
In these instances, the at-fault driver could be held liable for their actions. That is why a wrongful death civil lawsuit in Georgia may be necessary after a car accident.
You should speak to an attorney about your case today
If you have lost a loved one in a car accident that was caused by the negligent or careless actions of another person, you need to seek assistance from a skilled wrongful death attorney in Georgia as soon as possible. An attorney is going to have the resources necessary to conduct a thorough investigation into the accident and secure the compensation and closure your family is entitled to.