If your loved one dies in a fatal motorcycle accident, what are your legal options? Georgia law is very strict when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits. This is just one reason why you may want to hire a Conyers wrongful death lawyer to help you during this difficult time.
In this blog, we will discuss who has standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia. We will also explain how the legal process works and what kind of damages you can demand from the defendant.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Fatal Motorcycle Accident?
In Georgia, there are only certain people who can file a wrongful death claim. According to Georgia Statute §51-4-2, only the following people have standing to sue after their loved one dies in a fatal motorcycle accident:
- Surviving spouse
- If there is no spouse, the decedent’s children
- If there are no children, the victim’s parents
If there are no suitable family members to file suit, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can also sue.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Georgia?
In Georgia, you only have a certain amount of time to file your wrongful death claim. According to the statute of limitations, you have two years to do this. The two-year period starts on the date of your loved one’s death.
It’s important to note that this date may not be the same date as the fatal motorcycle crash. It could be days, weeks, or even months later.
Are There Any Exceptions?
There is an important rule that may impact your filing deadline. In Harrison v McAfee 338 Ga. App. 393, 402 (2016), the Georgia courts held that in cases involving a motor vehicle accident, a special rule may apply.
If the defendant was charged with a crime or traffic violation, the clock will not start ticking until their legal case has been decided. This can extend the statute of limitations period for up to six years if need be.
Your Conyers Motorcycle Accident Attorney May Have to File Two Lawsuits
After a fatal motorcycle crash, your family may have to file two different kinds of lawsuits. The first is an ordinary wrongful death lawsuit. This case is meant to sue on behalf of the decedent. The damages sought in this type of case will be those damages the victim would have demanded had they survived the crash.
The second type of case you may need to file is called an estate claim. This is where your family can sue for the damages they have suffered as a result of the fatal motorcycle accident.
What Kind of Damages Can Your Wrongful Death Lawyer Demand?
The types of damages your family can receive will depend on the type of lawsuit you file. In your wrongful death claim, your Conyers motorcycle accident attorney can demand compensation for the full value of the decedent’s life.
This term may seem vague. That’s because it is. According to Brock v Wedincamp, a case dating back to 2002, the plaintiff in a wrongful death claim can demand two types of damages – tangible and intangible.
Tangible damages include the following:
- Money the victim would’ve earned had they not been killed in a fatal motorcycle accident
- Financial value of the household jobs the decedent performed while they were alive
Intangible damages would include such things as the victim’s reason for living and the relationships the victim had with their family and friends.
What Damages Can the Family Demand in the Estate Claim?
In an estate claim, the wrongful death lawyer can demand damages as well. This may include any or all of the following:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses related to the victim’s death
- Pain and suffering experienced by the decedent
- Property damage caused to the motorcycle
The damages in the estate claim will be distributed to the decedent’s heirs.
Who Receives the Money Once a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settles?
After settling a wrongful death claim or winning in court, the money will be distributed according to Georgia law. Regardless of how many children or heirs the decedent has, their spouse is entitled to at least one-third of the settlement proceeds.
The rest of the money will be distributed amongst the rest of the victim’s heirs, including their children.
Contact Our Office if Your Loved One Died in a Fatal Motorcycle Accident
Losing a loved one is hard enough when they pass away from natural causes. When they die as the result of a fatal motorcycle accident, it is much harder to deal with. Your family may have a legal claim against the person who caused the crash. Your wrongful death lawyer in Conyers can help hold them accountable.
Our firm offers new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to find out if you have standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It also allows our Georgia accident attorneys a chance to review your case.
Simply contact our office at 770-HELP-NOW today so you can schedule your free case review.