When a loved one is killed by someone else’s carelessness survivors may have mixed feelings about filing a lawsuit for that death. Certainly no amount of money can bring the departed loved one back. However, a monetary award is the only way that civil law has to recognize the value of the life, compensate for the death, and penalize the party at fault. In Georgia there are two separate claims that can be made for a death. First is a wrongful death claim for the full value of life which belongs to survivors designated by statute: spouse, children, parent, or heirs at law depending on the circumstances. Second, is what we call a survivor action which belongs to the estate, is brought by the executor or administer seeking compensation for the pain and suffering the person endured before death plus the medical and funeral expense. The family may choose to pursue both claims or only one of them depending on what makes the most sense under the circumstances. Now Georgia’s wrongful death act which dates back to before the Civil War is one of the most humane wrongful death laws in the country. It measures the value of the life of the person who died with both economic and intangible aspects. The economic aspects, you look at what their lifetime income and benefits might have been and the value of their services. The intangible aspect, the jury exercising its discretion as fair and impartial jurors can look to the quality of life, relationships, activities, and etcetera and determine what the experience of living was worth to that person who died. Now if a family member has been killed through someone else’s negligence, give us a call. I hope we can help.
On May 22, 2018, former State Bar of Georgia president Ken Shigley will be a candidate for election to the Georgia Court of Appeals. The only other candidate is Ken Hodges, a former Dougherty County District Attorney. Ken Hodges was the Democratic Party nominee for Attorney General in 2010.