Georgia state law defines a “wrongful death” as the death of one person caused by the “negligent, reckless, intentional, or criminal” acts of another person or entity (such as a business). Negligence is typically defined as a failure to use reasonable care when there is a duty to do so, resulting in harm to another.


Who May File a Georgia Wrongful Death Claim?

Georgia law specifies who may bring a wrongful death claim to court, beginning with the spouse of the deceased person. If the spouse and the deceased person had minor children, the surviving spouse must also represent the interests of the children in court. In no case can the spouse receive less than one-third of the total recovery, no matter how many children there are.

If no surviving spouse or children are available to bring the claim to court, the claim may be brought by the following parties:

  • the surviving parent or parents of the deceased, or
  • the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate


Damages Available in Georgia Wrongful Death Claims

Georgia recognizes two separate and distinct types of wrongful death claims. The first is a claim to establish the “full value of the life of the deceased.” This claim is brought by or on behalf of the surviving family members of the deceased person. It includes  monetary damages  related to both the financial and intangible value of the deceased person’s life, such as:

  • lost wages and benefits, including what the deceased person might reasonably have earned if he or she had lived, and
  • loss of care, companionship, and other intangible benefits the deceased provided to loved ones.

The second kind of claim is one that is meant to remedy the financial losses related to the deceased person’s death. This claim is brought by or on behalf of the deceased person’s estate, and it seeks to establish and recover the losses the estate suffered in relation to the untimely death. Damages that may be recovered in this claim include:

  • medical expenses related to the deceased person’s last illness or injury
  • funeral and burial expenses, and
  • conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased just before death.

Time Limits on Georgia Wrongful Death Claims

Georgia’s  statute of limitations  limits the time the survivors or personal representative have to bring a wrongful death case to court. In most cases, the wrongful death claim must be filed within  two years  of the date of death. If the claim is not filed within the two-year time limit, the right to bring it is almost always lost.


No amount of money can replace a life lost through the fault of another, however life continues for those family members left behind and they will surely need all the financial resources available to them. Our experienced attorneys can guide you through this difficult process and protect your interests.