Unfortunately, not all truck accident victims survive the catastrophic injuries they suffer in a truck accident. Coming to grips with the death of a loved one can be much more difficult when the family knows that the tragic wreck could have been prevented. However, families may be entitled to compensation from the negligent truck driver and the trucking company in a wrongful death action.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death action is a claim for compensation that certain family members of the deceased person can raise against a negligent person or business for causing the person’s death. It is a statutory law, which means that it was created through a law passed by Georgia legislature. This is a different type of claim than an estate claim, which is a claim that must be filed by the victim’s estate to recover his funeral expenses, medical expenses for his last illness, and compensation for his pain and suffering.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Action in Georgia?
Under Georgia law, only certain family members are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. There is also a hierarchy as to who is entitled to pursue a claim. The following family members could be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death case:
- Spouse and children. If the truck accident victim died leaving a spouse, the spouse would be the only person entitled to file a wrongful death action. If the deceased person also left minor children, the spouse is required to act as their representative as well and share the compensation received with them. However, the spouse is entitled to at least one-third of the compensation obtained.
- Children. When the victim was not survived by a spouse, surviving children are entitled to file a wrongful death action and split the proceeds received.
- Parents. When the deceased person had no spouse or children, his parents would be the proper parties to file a wrongful death claim.
- Estate. The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate would need to pursue the wrongful death action when the person had no surviving spouse, children, or parents. The claim would be brought on behalf of the estate, and the settlement would be split between the heirs either pursuant to the will or Georgia law.
What Compensation Is Awarded in Wrongful Death Actions Following a Truck Accident?
It is important to remember that two separate claims need to be pursued for compensation. In a wrongful death action, the compensation is for “the full value of the life of the deceased.” Family members can receive the following types of compensation:
- Lost wages and benefits of the deceased person, including the wages that he would have earned during his lifetime
- Loss of care, companionship, and other intangible benefits
Often an estate claim will also be filed because of the different types of compensation that can be obtained, such as the following:
- Medical expenses related to injuries caused by the truck accident
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
- Pain and suffering that the deceased person experienced before his death
Let Christopher J. Hudson, LLC Help You Pursue Your Wrongful Death Action Claim
If you lost a loved one in a truck accident because of a truck driver’s negligence, your case is more complicated because of the federal and state regulations that may have been violated and the general complexities in truck accident cases. In addition, your settlement could be larger due to the death of your family member. This could result in the insurance company fighting harder to deny or reduce your claim for compensation.
Let the experienced truck accident attorneys at Christopher J. Hudson, LLC take over the burden of investigating your loved one’s accident, collecting the evidence you will need to hold the trucker and trucking company responsible, and negotiating your settlement for you. We are committed to obtaining the compensation that you deserve and are not afraid to take your case to trial if this becomes necessary. Contact us online or call us directly at 888.795.6261 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.