A wrongful death occurs when someone else’s negligence or misconduct causes an untimely death in the family. It can occur from medical malpractice, a car accident, a workplace accident, a defective or dangerous product, food poisoning, premises liability, a recreational accident, or a violent crime. The damages from a wrongful death suit include lost income, loss of consortium, and funeral and burial expenses. The deceased’s surviving family members, including their children, are eligible to file a wrongful death suit following intestate succession according to Georgia law.
Intestate succession for wrongful death in Georgia
Intestate succession typically ranks the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, parents, and siblings in order of inheritance or receipt of settlement when there is no surviving will of the deceased. Georgia law states that surviving spouse is the first eligible party who can file a wrongful death suit. However, if there is no surviving spouse, then the next in line to file is their child or children.
Can a child file a wrongful death suit in Georgia?
According to Georgia Code Section 51-4-2, a child can “recover for the homicide of the spouse or parent the full value of the life of the decedent, as shown by the evidence.” The surviving spouse, child, or children can bring a wrongful death action regardless of whether the surviving spouse or one of the children dies pending the action. The action continues with the deceased’s surviving child or children.
What if there is no surviving spouse in a wrongful death suit?
Usually, the surviving spouse can file a wrongful death suit for the deceased in Georgia. However, the rules are somewhat different without a surviving spouse to bring a wrongful death action. The natural guardian, guardian, or next friend of the minor child must either qualify as a conservator or obtain court approval to receive payment of the settlement on behalf of the minor child or children.
Filing a wrongful death suit in Georgia can be challenging during an extremely difficult time. Fortunately, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death suit is the same whether it is a surviving spouse or a child filing it.