Grieving families usually experience different emotions when they lose a loved one due to someone’s recklessness. Such people can hire an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer to seek financial compensation.
Survival actions help family members receive a settlement after losing a loved one due to someone’s negligent acts. However, knowing how and when to file a survival action in Georgia can be complicated.
This article will explain a survival action and when to file one in Georgia. We’ll also explore how you can file one and the damages you can recover.
What Is a Survival Action in Georgia? An Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer Explains
Georgia’s wrongful death law states that a survival action is an extension of the legal claims associated with a deceased person. This claim focuses on the losses the deceased person experienced from the time of their injury to their death. A survival action helps the deceased’s survivors to receive compensation.
The deceased’s family often files a survival action when the decedent lived for a while after the injury. They must have lived long enough to incur losses due to the wounds inflicted by the negligent party’s actions. During this time, they might have undergone medical treatment and experienced fear, pain, and suffering. This claim helps to recover the losses they filed a personal injury claim for if they were alive.
An example of when you can file a survival claim is if your loved one was injured in an auto crash and survived for one week. An Atlanta wrongful death lawyer can assist you in demanding compensation for a week of economic and non-economic damages.
Even if the person lived for an hour, their family could claim the deceased endured suffering, mental anguish, pain, and fear before dying and seek compensation for these. You can also include funeral and burial costs in your survival action claim.
Since this compensation is collected on behalf of the deceased, it is part of their estate. It would therefore be distributed according to their will by the administrator based on Georgia’s laws.
When Can I File a Survival Action in Georgia?
To make a survival action claim, you must do it within two years from the death of your loved one. This is clear in Georgia’s Statute of Limitations and is essential if you want compensation for damages. Unfortunately, if you don’t file a claim within this time frame, an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer can’t help you, meaning you will lose your right to compensation.
Although two years seem like a long time, there might be a need for a thorough investigation to determine fault for your loss and damages to include in the claim. That’s why it’s essential to contact a skilled wrongful death lawyer. Waiting could significantly affect your chances of a win and limit your time to build a solid case against the at-fault party.
Who Can File a Survival Action in Georgia?
The survival action law in Georgia states that the decedent’s estate representative must file the claim. The representative is usually the estate’s administrator or executor rather than the decedent’s legal beneficiaries. This is because compensation is sought on behalf of the person who died for their experience while they were alive rather than the losses their family experienced due to their death.
In some cases, the court appoints a family member of the deceased as the estate administrator. Once appointed, the representative must bring the survival action, and the claim automatically becomes an asset of the decedent’s estate. The money secured from a survival claim that isn’t required for medical bills and other expenses will go to the legal beneficiaries. However, it must go to the estate before getting disbursed.
How a Survival Action Differs From a Wrongful Death Claim
It’s pretty easy to confuse a wrongful death claim with a survival action because they’re both filed after the death of a loved one. However, some distinct features differentiate one from the other.
A survival action claim is filed on behalf of the decedent. It consists of the damages the deceased would have sought compensation for in a personal injury claim if they were alive. Therefore, a survival action seeks compensation for a person’s damages before dying.
On the other hand, you can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a decedent’s legal beneficiaries. This claim seeks compensation for the damages survivors suffer due to the death of their loved ones. Wrongful death claims are more common, which is why people confuse one for the other. In some cases, an Atlanta lawyer can help you take both actions to get the compensation you deserve after a loved one’s death.
As stated earlier, any settlement recovered in a survival action claim automatically becomes the estate’s property. Therefore, it will be distributed based on the will of the deceased by their estate executor.
On the other hand, compensation from a wrongful death claim isn’t the property of the estate because it is for the survivors’ benefit directly and not the deceased. Such compensation is distributed according to Georgia’s intestacy law. This means that the wrongful death settlement will be distributed amongst heirs regardless of the deceased’s will.
Damages You Can Recover in a Georgia Survival Action Claim
When filing a survival action claim, there are many damages you can recover. Some of the damages survivors can recover include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Burial costs
The survivors can use the compensation to pay the deceased’s debts or estate expenses. Note that the settlement paid in survival actions is subject to inheritance taxes.
An Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You File and Win Survival Actions
The period after losing a loved one is usually difficult and uncertain. While mourning and dealing with expenses incurred, it can be difficult for surviving family members to understand the legal claims they can file.
A survival claim helps to recover compensation to cover the medical bills and losses the decedent suffered while alive. First, however, filing it within the Statute of Limitations is essential, and a personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, can help.
At The Weinstein Firm, we understand complex cases and handle every survival action claim with compassion and vast experience. When you contact us, we’ll review your case to help you determine the best step to take.
We’ll also ensure all damages are covered in your claim to get maximum compensation. So contact our law firm to set up a free consultation today with our personal injury lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia.