The crux of a wrongful death action in Georgia is the homicide of the deceased. Homicide includes any case where the death of a human being results; for example, from a crime, from criminal negligence or simple negligence, or from a defective product causing death even where there there is no negligence in the manufacture of the property or product.
The purpose of Georgia’s wrongful death law is to create a legal claim (that is, legal rights and duties) with the aim of the prevention of homicides, whether by criminal or negligent conduct. Another primary purpose of Georgia’s wrong death laws is to satisfy social and economic inequities that are created by conduct amounting to wrongful death. By holding those who cause death economically responsible, in theory, this will prevent future tragedies.
A wrongful death action can be pursued even in a case of suicide as long as it can be proven that the decedent’s act of suicide was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s negligent or tortious conduct, e.g, bullying or extreme public ridicule or shaming.
A wrongful death action can be maintained by surviving spouses, offspring of the decedent, parents of the decedent or the decedent’s personal representative. The wrongful death claim and claims of the decedent, for example, for pre-death pain and suffering, are distinct causes of action and each can lead to separate monetary awards by a court or jury.
If you have questions about Georgia’s complex wrongful death laws, do not hesitate to contact a wrongful death lawyer at McAleer Law.