If you have lost a loved one due to the careless, negligent, or reckless actions of someone else, you should be able to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. However, there are certain time limitations that govern when these cases must be filed.
Today, we want to discuss the statute of limitations attached to these cases. We firmly believe that family members should be compensated for their loss. It is important to have this information because filing a lawsuit after these deadlines will likely lead to a case being dismissed. Please ensure you have a qualified and experienced Georgia wrongful death attorney ready to help.
General Georgia wrongful death statute of limitations
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is generally going to be two (2) years from the date of death.
What if the actual incident that causes the death happened weeks or even months before the death?
In cases where a person does not die immediately after an incident, the “clock” on the two-year statute of limitations will not start counting down until the date of death.
While the two-year limit applies to most cases of Georgia wrongful death, there are some instances when the statute of limitations is shorter or longer.
If a branch of government is the responsible party
If a government entity is responsible for the death of a loved one, their family members face different statutes of limitations. The deadlines to file a case could be anywhere from six months to a year after the death occurs depending on whether we are talking about the federal, state, county, or city government.
If the person is killed due to a violation of Georgia law
If someone is killed due to the violation of our state laws, the statute of limitations could be longer than the two years. This can include violation of criminal law as well as traffic violations. In these cases, the statute of limitations will be “tolled,” or paused, pending the outcome of any criminal case.
In these cases, the crime did not necessarily need to be intended for the statute of limitations to be tolled. Unintentional incidents that lead to a person being charged with a crime will also allow for tolling of the statute of limitations.
- Please note that there does not need to be a guilty verdict against a person in order for them to face a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death claims are civil actions separate from criminal cases.
Medical malpractice and wrongful death in Georgia
If your loved one is killed due to a medical mistake (surgical error, misdiagnosis, medication error, etc.), then the regular two-year statute of limitations applies. However, in cases where the medical mistake that caused the death was not discovered immediately, family members have two years from the date of discovery of the medical malpractice to file a claim (with a limit of five years from the date of the incident).
Seek an attorney as soon as possible in a Georgia wrongful death case
If you have lost a loved one due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another person, business, or entity, please seek legal assistance immediately. This is undoubtedly an incredibly difficult time for you. A knowledgeable and experienced Georgia wrongful death attorney will be able to hand all aspects of your case and work to secure the compensation you deserve. This can include:
- • Funeral and burial expenses
- • Lost income and benefits of the deceased
- • Pre-death pain and suffering
- • Pre-death medical expenses
- • Mental anguish damages
- • Loss of consortium
- • And more
In cases of gross negligence or intentional acts, you can seek punitive damages against those responsible.