Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim? (An Overview Of Georgia Law)
Losing a close loved one in a fatal accident is heartbreaking and emotionally devastating—especially so when it was an accident that could have easily been prevented with proper safety precautions. A wrongful death claim allows surviving family members to hold the at-fault party legally liable.
This raises an important question: Can anyone who was close to the victim file a wrongful death claim in Georgia? The short answer is “no”—under Georgia law, certain parties should file the claim. Here, our Atlanta wrongful death attorney provides an overview of the eligibility rules.
Understanding the Process for Who Should File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Georgia
An untimely death in an accident caused by negligence can impact an enormous number of people. A wrongful death claim is a path to justice. Unfortunately, Georgia does not provide every person who was close to the victim wrongful death claim rights. Under Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 51-4-2), a wrongful death lawsuit should be initiated by a specific party. Indeed, there is a specific priority order for the following of a wrongful death claim. The following list outlines the order of priority for those who are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia:
- Surviving Spouse: In a Georgia wrongful death claim, the top priority for taking legal action always goes to the deceased’s surviving spouse. Indeed, it is the surviving spouse who has the initial legal right to file the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person.
- Surviving Children: In the absence of a surviving spouse, the deceased’s children are eligible to file the wrongful death claim. If the deceased had a surviving spouse and surviving children, the spouse will represent the interest of any children in the lawsuit.
- Surviving Parents: If there is no surviving spouse or children, the deceased’s parents become eligible to file the wrongful death lawsuit. In other words, the priority of the parents is always subordinate to a surviving spouse and/or surviving child.
- Personal Representative of the Estate: In cases where the deceased has no surviving spouse, children, or parents, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate.
Of course, determining who should file a wrongful death lawsuit is just one aspect of the claims process in Georgia. These are highly complicated cases. Families also need to deal with a wide range of other matters—from proving liability to establishing damages. Do not go it alone: The sooner you consult with a top Atlanta wrongful death attorney, the better your position to get true justice, real accountability, and maximum financial support available under state law.
Call Our Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
At The Moses Firm, our Atlanta wrongful death lawyer is a compassionate, experienced, and justice-driven advocate for grieving families. Contact us today for a free, fully confidential initial appointment with an attorney. With an office in Atlanta we represent families in wrongful death cases throughout the State of Georgia, including in Fulton, DeKalb, and Fulton counties.