When a person dies in Georgia from Medical Malpractice, Hospital, or pharmaceutical errors, or any other wrongful act, two different legal claims are created.
First, family members have a “wrongful death” claim. The amount of this claim is the “full value” of the person’s life as determined in the “enlightened conscience of the jury.” This is a very broad concept, meaning what the person’s life was worth from their own perspective. The proceeds are distributed to family members according to a formula under Georgia law.
In addition, the person’s “estate” has a claim for the pain and suffering the person felt before death, and for their medical and funeral expenses. The estate must be set up, and administered by a representative. It is often convenient for another family member to be appointed as Administrator, and for the wrongful death and estate claims to be brought in the same lawsuit. The proceeds are distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate, who are often the same family members receiving the wrongful death proceeds.
There are strict time limits for bringing wrongful death and estate claims. The wrongful death limit is generally two years from the date of death. The limit for estate claims is generally two years from the date the estate is set up. However, there are certain limited situations when these time limits may be extended.
Navigating these rules, and knowing when you may need to rush to file a case can be very challenging. If you believe someone close to you died as a result of wrongdoing, please call us. We are here to discuss what happened, to gather information, and to advise you on your legal options.
The call is free and always confidential.