Wrongful death actions in Georgia and survival claims share a common characteristic; they both deal with the aftermath of someone’s death. However, the similarities end there. Suits for wrongful death compensate the decedent’s family, whereas survival action seeks compensation for damages that were caused prior to the deceased’s death.
The Georgia Wrongful Death Act provides that a surviving family of a deceased person who has been killed by the wrongful act of another person or company has the legal right to sue for wrongful death. That family may sue for “the full value of the deceased’s life.”However, some people might confuse this law with a survival action, which aims to recover damages for pain and suffering and damages the deceased experienced prior to death.
If you want to bring a claim following the death of a loved one, our personal injury attorneys can help you decide whether to file only one or both lawsuits. Our team of lawyers has extensive experience in dealing in both areas and will guide you in every aspect.
Elements of Wrongful Death Actions:
The circumstances in which a claim can be made constitute one of the main differences between a wrongful death claim and a survival claim.
An action for wrongful death consists of four elements:
- The person presenting the lawsuit must either be the spouse, child, or parent of the deceased or the estate administrator if the deceased had no living spouse, children, or parents.
- The death was caused by a crime, negligence, or by effectively manufactured property.
- The deceased could have filed a personal injury claim if they had survived.
- The family member who filed the claim suffered losses, such as psychological distress, loss of companionship, and loss of inheritance, due to the death.
The compensation is given to the surviving family of the deceased.
Survival Actions in Georgia:
As opposed to a wrongful death claim, a survival action seeks compensation for the victim’s losses and not the losses of the victim’s family. This is a personal injury claim related to wrongful death. There are four elements required to file a survival action:
- A survival action is filed by the representative of the estate, and compensation goes to the estate.
- The deceased suffered injuries and losses before their death, such as pain and suffering and property damage.
- The deceased would have been able to file a personal injury claim if they had lived.
- Damages were done to the deceased as the result of the defendant’s wrongdoing.
The deceased’s estate is legally entitled to be reimbursed for any damages suffered by the victim, along with any ancillary expenses, such as funeral costs.
Statute of Limitation for the Two Claims:
To make a wrongful death claim or survival claim, you must do so within two years from the date of the death of your loved one. This is due to the statute of limitations in Georgia. If you do not submit a claim within that timeframe, you will not be able to do so and you will lose your right to compensation.
Despite the fact that two years may seem like a long time, it may be necessary to conduct a thorough investigation to find out who is responsible for your grave loss.
As soon as possible after the death of your loved one, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer, as waiting may impair your chances of a win. Contacting a lawyer right away allows the attorney to develop a solid and compelling case against the culprit.
A wrongful death lawyer at our firm can offer you guidance through wrongful death actions in Georgia. It is important to contact a lawyer with experience handling this kind of matter, who can assist you in filing the right claim and ensure that justice is served.