A wrongful death lawsuit cannot bring back the deceased. But it can hold the person, business or other responsible party to financial account for their negligence while also helping a grieving family feel that justice was served — especially if the person who caused the loved one’s death will not be facing criminal charges.
Wrongful death litigation is unique in two ways. One, the personal injury victim cannot sue the defendant, so someone like the deceased’s surviving spouse must file the lawsuit on their behalf. Two, there are two categories of damages: those for the deceased’s estate and those that go to their immediate family members, such as their spouse and children.
Potential damages in Georgia wrongful death litigation
Damages that the plaintiff can seek on behalf of the victim’s estate include:
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost past and future wages
- Pain and suffering
Then there are damages associated with the surviving family’s “full value of life” claim. These are meant to compensate spouses, children and/or parents of the deceased for being denied the benefit of the deceased’s life. Such damages include:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of parental relationship
- Emotional pain and suffering
While these damages cannot replace what the family has lost, they can help prevent death from putting the deceased’s loved ones into financial catastrophe. In certain cases, the estate can also seek punitive damages if the defendant’s behavior was particularly egregious.
Losing a family member because of somebody else’s negligence is heartbreaking and something nobody should have to experience. But it does happen to Valdosta families sometimes. When it does, families need to know their options.