Posted in Wrongful Death on September 6, 2021
If you have lost a loved one due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, company, or entity in Georgia, you may be entitled to various types of compensation for your losses. Family members of the deceased are allowed to file wrongful death claims in civil court, but they have to do so within a certain timeframe, according to Georgia law. Here, we want to discuss the Georgia wrongful death statute of limitations. We strongly encourage you to work with a skilled attorney who has experience handling these complex claims as you move forward throughout this process.
When we look at Georgia law surrounding wrongful death claims (O.C.G.A § 9-3-33), we can see that the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the deceased’s death. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, this timeframe could be shorter or longer period
If a branch of government in Georgia or a representative of the government is responsible for the death, the deadline could be shorter. Depending on whether the federal, state, county, or city government is at fault, the deadline for filing a wrongful death claim could be as soon as six months to a year after the death occurs.
If a person lost their life as a result of a violation of Georgia law, such as a violent crime or a traffic violation, the statute of limitations may be paused pending the outcome of criminal prosecution against the individual who broke the law. In order for the statute of limitations to be paused, the crime need not be intentional. The only requirement is that some sort of violation of law has occurred.
The wrongful death statute in Georgia lays out strict rules about who can file these claims. If the deceased has a surviving spouse, then that person holds the authority to bring the claim. They will be the only person who can file a wrongful death claim in civil court.
If the deceased also has surviving children, then the surviving spouse is required to act as a representative to these children and share with them any compensation awarded for the claim. However, the spouse can never receive less than one-third of the total recovery, regardless of how many children there are.
In the state of Georgia, the individual who files a wrongful death claim does not actually have to be the personal representative or the executor of the estate. Surviving family members will be responsible for the wrongful death claim, while the administrator of the estate will bring a claim on behalf of the estate. Often, the same person is in charge of the wrongful death claim and the estate claim, so this may not make a difference.
What does matter in these situations is the importance of securing an attorney to help with the claim. An Atlanta wrongful death lawyer will have the resources and experience necessary to handle every aspect of the wrongful death case. These claims can become incredibly challenging, particularly when working to prove the liability of the other party. An attorney will handle the investigation, all negotiations with other parties, and work with trusted economic experts who can properly determine how much compensation family members should receive.
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