What is the “full value of life” in Georgia wrongful death law?
Published in wrongful death on April 23, 2018.
Understanding the full value of life in Georgia law
If you live in Georgia and have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to pursue a wrongful death suit through the court system.
According to the law in Georgia, the statutes define wrongful death as a death that is the result of a negligent, reckless, intentional or criminal act of an individual or legal entity such as a business. This negligence must be proven in court before a value can be assigned to the decedent’s life.
Before you decide to start such a case, you should fully understand how the State of Georgia values and measures the damage you suffered as a result of the loss of your loved one. The state uses what is known as the full value of life to the decedent to determine the amount of loss.
While Georgia allows those who have been left behind to recover any losses as a result of the death, the state does not have either a formula or a cap on the value of human life. Instead, the value of life is measured economically and non-economically.
When the court determines the economic loss in a wrongful death suit, it will examine the current value of the decedent’s earnings if that person hadn’t died. The court will look at factors such as how old the decedent was at the time of their death; their health and income; what type of work they did; and the value of that work. Other factors that have a bearing on the decedent’s life are also taken into consideration as well. For example, if the decedent was an older person or had a life-threatening illness, the economic value of their life might be lessened by the court. If the decedent was younger and on the move professionally, the court might determine that their life had a greater value.
The invaluable worth of a life can be more challenging for a court to put a value on. In this instance, judges and juries are asked to draw on their own life experiences to determine how much the decedent’s life was worth to them. They may consider the decedent’s relationships; how they lived; their hobbies, interests and other things that were important to them. This is where the personal testimony of the decedent’s family, friends, and colleagues becomes important during a wrongful death suit.
Cases of wrongful death have a two-year statute of limitations after the time of death. This means that the case cannot be legally pursued after that time has expired unless it has been halted for some reason.
Money can not replace your loved one. Personal injury attorneys Nelson & Smith can help you navigate a wrongful death suit by fighting for the full value of the life that has been lost. To get your questions answered about wrongful deaths, contact Nelson & Smith at 478-746-1468.
For more information on our Hawkinsville Wrongful Death Lawyers, please visit our site.