One thing all wrongful death lawyers in Sandy Springs learn is that wrongful death cases are difficult to handle. Not only has our client lost a loved one, but they may also be prevented from pursuing justice.
Here, our Sandy Springs wrongful death attorneys will discuss how wrongful death cases in Georgia work. If you still have questions, feel free to contact our office directly.
How Is a Wrongful Death Case Different from Other Personal Injury Cases?
People hear the words “wrongful death case” and assume it’s totally different from a regular personal injury lawyer.
The truth is that these cases work the same way. The only major difference is that the victim in a wrongful death case passes away from their injuries. Another major difference is that the law limits who can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
One of the Biggest Differences is That the Victim Passes Away from Their Injuries
In any personal injury lawsuit, the victim has the right to file legal action. Of course, the only way you’ll find an attorney to handle your case is if you suffered damages. It works the same way with a wrongful death case.
Your wrongful death lawyer in Sandy Springs understands that you want justice for your loved one. If they were killed during the commission of a crime, there’s a good chance the defendant will be facing criminal charges for manslaughter or murder.
As far as civil damages are concerned, the courts and legislature in Georgia are very strict about who has standing to sue.
Your Sandy Springs Wrongful Death Attorney Knows That Only Certain People Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
According to OCGA §51-4-2, only certain people are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. As outlined in the statute, the first person who would have standing to sue in a wrongful death case is the victim’s spouse.
If the victim’s spouse is alive and they were married at the time of the victim’s death, they should have standing to sue for wrongful death.
In addition to the victim’s spouse, the victim’s children can sue as well. There are many cases that our Sandy Springs wrongful death attorneys handle where there is no surviving spouse.
In cases such as this, we are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the decedent’s children.
Finally, in instances where there are neither children nor a surviving spouse, the accident victim’s parents can sue if they so choose. These cases are nowhere near as common as the other types of wrongful death cases.
Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of the victim’s parents worrying more about criminal justice than civil justice.
Fiancés, Siblings, and Significant Others Do Not Have Standing for a Wrongful Death Case
What may be frustrating to you and a lot of other people is that you cannot sue for wrongful death in Georgia if you’re not related to the victim. You must be a member of their immediate family in order to have standing to sue.
Sometimes, our wrongful death lawyers in Sandy Springs meet with someone who is insistent that they file legal action. More often than not, this person was either engaged or dating the person who passed away.
As much as we wish we could change the law, there is nothing we can do to change the fact that you’re not allowed to take legal action.
Why Can’t Your Wrongful Death Lawyers in Sandy Springs Sue on Your Behalf?
If you did hire a wrongful death lawyer in Sandy Springs to file a wrongful death lawsuit, it would ultimately be dismissed. One of the two things would happen.
Either the judge or court clerk would notice that you do not have standing to sue and dismiss your wrongful death case. Or the defendant named in your lawsuit would have their lawyer file a motion to dismiss for the same reason.
Even if the judge believes that the defendant was 100% responsible for your loved one’s death, they will still have to grant their motion to dismiss your complaint.
Your Wrongful Death Lawyer in Sandy Springs May Give You Hope
Your Sandy Springs wrongful death attorney understands how upset you are that you cannot pursue justice on behalf of your loved one. In many cases, the person engaged to the victim was closer to them than anybody else.
You may know more about your fiancé’s life than anybody else in the world. Unfortunately, the court does not consider this when determining who has standing to sue.
Perhaps You Can Convince the Administrator of the Estate to Sue on Your Behalf?
One option your wrongful death lawyer in Sandy Springs may have for you is reaching out to the administrator of your loved one’s estate.
In almost every state, including Georgia, the person who’s handling the victim’s estate does have standing for a wrongful death case. What they would do is sue the defendant on behalf of the estate of your loved one.
The only question will be whether you would be entitled to damages. Whatever monies your Sandy Springs wrongful death attorney collects will be paid directly into the estate. From there, it will be distributed to your loved one’s heirs.
It’s Still Worth Speaking with an Experienced Sandy Springs Wrongful Death Attorney
As a general rule, significant others can’t sue for wrongful death in Georgia. Our top-rated Georgia personal injury lawyers have handled their fair share of these cases. They know exactly who has standing to sue and who doesn’t.
There are times, however, when you may be able to petition your fiancé’s family to pursue a claim. Or your Sandy Springs wrongful death attorney can reach out to the administrator of your significant other’s estate. They have the option of filing an estate claim against the person responsible for your loved one’s death.
The only way to know what your options are is to meet with a seasoned wrongful death lawyer in Sandy Springs. We do offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. If you decide that you want to move forward with legal action in your wrongful death case, we may be able to help.