The wrongful death statute of limitations in Georgia is generally two years, per O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. Accordingly, in the event of a fatality caused by another party’s negligence, qualifying family members of the deceased may have up to two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Waiting longer than this to take legal action could result in the lawsuit being dismissed.
There may be circumstances that alter this general deadline and require a plaintiff to act sooner. For example, lawsuits against the government in Georgia have different filing deadlines. This includes:
- Six months for a claim against a city, per O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5
- One year for a claim against a county, per O.C.G.A. § 36-11-1
- One year for a claim against a state, per O.C.G.A. 50-21-26
A law firm that handles wrongful death lawsuits may be able to give you information about what specific deadlines pertain to your case during a free consultation.
Understanding Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims in Georgia are usually filed by a surviving spouse, child, or parent of the deceased. Depending on how the fatality in question occurred, there may be different ways for qualifying family members of the deceased to seek compensation.
If the accident was work-related, the family may receive wrongful death benefits from the deceased’s employer’s workers’ compensation policy. These benefits would be determined using the rules outlined in O.C.G.A. § 34-9-265, which governs workers’ compensation benefits for work-related deaths. In this case, the deceased’s income and certain payout limits may be used to determine how much in benefits the deceased’s family may be entitled to.
If the accident was a result of the negligence or recklessness of another party, wrongful death liability rules may apply. For example, in each of the cases below, the negligence of a different party could make them responsible for an accidental fatality:
- If a negligent driver causes a vehicular fatality, his or her employer, the vehicle owner, or the driver themselves may be at fault for the accident. A road repair team or municipal body may also share some of the blame for the accident if road damage or signage issues caused or contributed to the accident.
- If the actions of a negligent healthcare worker such as nursing home staff or a doctor caused the death of a nursing home resident or a hospital patient, the worker or the institution that employs them may be liable for the resultant damages.
- Slip and fall cases that lead to death may involve premises liability rules that recognize property owners or operators as at-fault for accidents that occur on a hazardous or poorly maintained property.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
You may be able to file a wrongful death claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. If they do not make you a fair offer that reflects the value of your damages, you can also file a wrongful death lawsuit against them.
You may need to present evidence of the responsible party’s liability to recover compensation. Depending on the nature of the accident that caused your loved one’s death, this may include:
- Photos or videos from the accident scene
- Witness statements
- Medical records
- Testimony from accident reconstruction experts
- Police reports or accident reports
- And more
A wrongful death lawyer in your area may be able to handle the evidence gathering, communications, and negotiations in your case when they represent you.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
The recoverable damages in a wrongful death case in Georgia may include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical bills incurred before the deceased passed away
- Loss of earnings
- And more
A wrongful death lawyer may also be able to produce evidence of the value of these damages to use in your case.
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers May Be Able to Help You
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers handles wrongful death lawsuits in the Atlanta area. As a full-service law firm, we can take over all of the legal work in your case when we represent you.
Our firm operates on a contingency-fee basis, meaning our clients do not pay us attorney fees unless and until they recover compensation in a court award or settlement offer.
For a free consultation on your wrongful death case with a member of our team, call Bader Scott Injury Lawyers today at (404) 888-8888. We can go over our services, your legal options, and what statute of limitations pertains to your wrongful death case during this call.