Can I Recover Funeral Expenses in a Wrongful Death Claim?

May 17, 2022

Wrongful death claims are typically the result of a personal tragedy. Losing a family member because of someone else’s reckless, malicious or negligent actions is never easy. Not only are you coping with immense grief and emotional trauma, but you’re also forced to deal with medical and funeral expenses.

Filing a wrongful death claim may help you find much-needed closure and get economic and non-economic compensation for your loss. Frequently, families aren’t prepared to pay for funeral costs when their relative’s life was unexpectedly cut short.

Most importantly for many families is replacing their lost loved one’s wage. When a households primary wage earner is the victim of a wrongful death accident, the surviving dependents deserve compensation. Families shouldn’t face financial ruin because of someone else’s mistake.

What Compensation Can Families Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

According to Georgia law, when a person dies because of someone else’s negligence, the person or people responsible for the act must financially compensate the deceased person’s family. The amount of compensation is based on a variety of factors. While putting a fixed dollar valuation on a person’s life may raise eyebrows, it’s a necessity when it comes to pursuing damages in a wrongful death claim.

The full value of life consists of two parts: intangible value and tangible value. Examples of intangible value of life include:

  • Quality time spent with family and friends
  • Engaging in hobbies, sports and other activities
  • Getting married
  • Raising children
  • Having a fulfilling career
  • Pursuing higher education
  • Enjoying retirement

Tangible value of life is strictly economic and includes:

  • The deceased person’s earnings and unrealized earning potential
  • The value of any services they performed, like doing yardwork or other household chores

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

If the decedent was married at the time of death, their surviving spouse can bring a wrongful death claim. If the person who died had no surviving spouse but had children, the children or their representatives can pursue a claim on the child’s behalf. Children who are still dependent on their deceased parent for financial and parental support may be entitled to more compensation than independent adult children.

If the deceased person was a minor and had no spouse or children, their parents or guardians have the right to recover damages in a wrongful death claim. However, one of the factors that make wrongful death claims large are lost future wages for dependents.

For example, a parent can file a wrongful death claim for their adult child’s death. If the parent were dependent on that adult child for financial support, they would likely be entitled to more compensation to make up for lost income. If the adult child had no dependents, no spouse and no children, the claim would likely be worth less.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

The length of time you have to file a wrongful death case is governed by a law called the statute of limitations. Under Georgia’s statute of limitations, you have two years from the date of your loved one’s passing to file such claim. There are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if there’s a criminal prosecution alongside a wrongful death claim, the criminal prosecution may need to be handled first before a family can file a civil case.

Recover Compensation After the Wrongful Death of Your Loved One

At the Dressie Law Firm, we help grieving Atlanta families recover damages after a family member’s untimely passing. We’ll work tirelessly to honor the memory of your deceased spouse, parent or child with hard work and dedication. We’re also willing and able to take your case to trial if need be.

Call 678-909-1639 to get your free case evaluation.