Starting the Claims Process: Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

Every family is unique. Your differences are what make you who you are, but they can also create a fair amount of confusion as you try to determine who can file a wrongful death claim in Georgia.

Understanding the Georgia Wrongful Death Law

Georgia law states that wrongful death claims may be filed if your loved one’s death was due to any of the following types of act:

  • Negligent
  • Criminal
  • Intentional
  • Reckless

In other words, if your loved one was killed due to a reckless driver, someone under the influence, or by an intentional crime against him or her, someone may file a wrongful death claim. When filing this claim, the plaintiff must prove that the death was not an accident. The person filing must show that negligence, crime, intent, or reckless behavior played a direct role in the death of your loved one.

Deciding Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia

Once you know with certainty that your loved one’s passing qualifies as a wrongful death claim, you need to file a lawsuit. Because your loved one is unable to represent himself or herself, you must designate one person to file on his or her behalf.

In Georgia, the spouse is the first person who is legally able to file the claim. If there is no surviving spouse, the adult children of the deceased may bring the case to court. If there is neither a surviving spouse or adult child, the surviving parents of the deceased may bring the case, or any person designated by the deceased person’s estate.

If there are minor children involved, the surviving spouse must represent the best interest of the children when filing a wrongful death claim. However, the surviving spouse must receive at least one-third of the total recovery.

The Georgia wrongful death law is very complex. Deciding who may file, who should file, and how to divide the claim fairly among all of the survivors can get very complicated. You are grieving and want to focus on the memory of your loved one. With a wrongful death lawyer in Georgia on your side, you can have confidence that your case is handled correctly and that you receive the compensation your family deserves.

Do you know of a family struggling to decide who should file after losing their loved one? We encourage you to send them this article so that they may find the guidance they need.