The emotions grieving families face when a loved one dies from an accident can only be imagined. There are many things people in this situation can do to make things better, especially if their loved one was not at fault. Hiring a car accident attorney in Douglasville is one of them.
Hiring a car accident attorney in Douglasville after an auto accident in Georgia is important to successfully pursue financial compensation, mostly if you want to file a survival action. This is because survival action cases can be very complicated.
In most instances, accident victims and their families confuse survival action with wrongful death claims. These are separate legal actions that apply to different circumstances. Families of the victim can pursue both legal actions simultaneously. However, knowing the differences between the legal process of both actions and when they should be applied will help get the right financial compensation.
From this article, you will understand the difference between a survival action and a wrongful death claim. We will also provide other important information about survival action, especially when you can file a survival action for an auto accident in Georgia. Lastly, you will know how a car accident attorney in Douglasville can use their expertise to ensure you get the right compensation.
A Car Accident Attorney in Douglasville Explains What a Survival Action in Georgia Entails
A survival action extends a legal claim related to a deceased individual under Georgia law. In essence, it addresses the losses the decedent suffered between the occurrence of the injury and their passing and seeks financial compensation for their surviving family members.
Usually, the victim’s family can file a survival action if lived long enough to feel fear and agony or get medical treatment. It is intended to cover the kinds of losses that, had they lived, they might have included in a personal injury claim.
In Georgia, survival actions are regarded as costs of the decedent’s estate and may include funeral costs. In some states, wrongful death claims, instead of survival actions, cover demands for funeral and burial losses.
The family might file a claim for the agony, sorrow, anxiety, mental anguish, etc., their loved one went through before passing away, even if they only survived the accident for one hour. Imagine a scenario where a victim survives a car accident but dies after spending a week in the hospital.
The victim’s family can file a survival action seeking compensation for a week of the following:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
Who Can File for a Survival Action?
The last section mentioned a term called the deceased’s estate. But what does it mean? The deceased’s estate stands for anything legally owned by a person at the time of death. These entities or properties stand in for them in legal proceedings.
In Georgia, a survival action is initiated by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate, also known as the executor or administrator, who is normally mentioned in the will. If not, the court will ordinarily select a member of the family to represent the estate.
The estate of the deceased person, not their survivors, must initiate survival actions. This is because the compensation sought through a survival action is for what the victim suffered before their death and not for the losses or damages suffered by their survivors.
In the end, survivors will receive any proceeds from a survival action that aren’t used to pay for medical bills or other debts. The estate must receive it before distributing the funds.
Who Gets the Money From a Survival Action Claim in Georgia?
The deceased person’s estate will get all proceeds from any survival action. It is then regarded as a part of the estate and handled similarly to other things like property, bank accounts, and retirement funds.
The beneficiaries the deceased named before their death receive these assets. Without a will or designated beneficiaries, the money will be distributed according to Georgia intestacy law. The deceased person’s spouse, children, parents, or other close family members typically receive the money.
What Is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and a Survival Action?
You must have gained more knowledge about what survival action is and how it works. However, you might still confuse it with a wrongful death claim. In this section, our car accident attorney in Douglasville explain the differences between both legal actions.
A survival action is taken on behalf of the deceased person, while a wrongful death claim is initiated on behalf of the deceased person’s survivors. Wrongful death claims are more common after a car accident. However, as mentioned, the deceased family can simultaneously file a survival action or both legal actions.
Damages Covered by a Georgia Survival Action Claim
Th victim’s family will recover the following compensation:
- Lost earnings
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial costs
- Mental anguish
Damages Covered by a Georgia Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death claims cover damages that impact the legal beneficiaries of the deceased victim of a car accident.
- Lost care and support
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional pain suffered by the legal beneficiaries because of the victim’s death. etc.
As opposed to what happens in a survival action claim, the financial compensation received from a wrongful death claim is received directly by the legal beneficiaries of the deceased.
When Can I File a Survival Action for an Auto Accident in Georgia?
The timeframe to file a survival action for a car accident in Georgia is expressed in the Statute of Limitations. The Statute of Limitations for survival action claims in Georgia is two years.
This means that you must file a survival action within two years of the death of your loved one. If you exceed this timeframe, you will lose the right to file for compensation. The time limit also applies to wrongful death claims.
Immediately after a loved one dies, the survivors should contact a car accident attorney in Douglasville to initiate legal action. Doing this ensures you do not file out of time, and a lawyer will also protect your rights and get maximum compensation.
Book a Free Consultation With Our Car Accident Lawyer in Douglasville
The pain felt by survivors of the victims of car accidents in Georgia cannot be truly compensated financially. However, the funds received from a successful survival action can help with the financial stress resulting from the death of a loved one.
The experienced Douglasville car accident lawyers at Hartley, Rowe, and Fowler understand how important getting maximum compensation is to you and know what to do to get it. So, book a free initial consultation today.