Wrongful death lawsuits are an unfortunate but realistic part of personal
injury law and every state’s wrongful death laws vary. If you find
yourself in the unfortunate situation in which you’re seeking an
attorney for a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one, it is
important to hire a knowledgeable and experienced Georgia wrongful death
lawyer to represent your best interests.
In the state of Georgia, the measure of damages in wrongful death law is
known as the “full value of life”. Specifically, statute 51-4-1
states “the full value of the life of the decedent, as shown by
the evidence” must be observed from the point of view of the deceased
and decided by the “enlightened conscience of a jury.” This
“full value of life” includes two parts:
- Economic - including the present value of the loss of future earnings,
not withholding expense or tax deductions for the decedent. Factors such
as physical well-being, age, income, type and value of work performed,
and more are considered by jurors to determine the economic value of life
of the deceased. Once this has been calculated, this estimated economic
value of life is decreased to present-day cash value with calculated interest
of 5% annually.
- Noneconomic/intangible – is not use contingent upon any one formula.
There is no specific method to determine your lost loved one’s full
value of the life. Jurors are instructed to determine the value by using
their rational conscience, understanding and awareness of human relationships.
They may study practically all details and circumstances that affected
the subjective worth of a person’s life. Relationships, family circumstances,
and living conditions may all be factors in determining the intangible
value of life. These noneconomic aspects can also be established by using
testimonies from friends and family.
Both economic and noneconomic aspects of the “full value of life”
in Georgia wrongful death lawsuits can be determined by using life expectancy
tables if jurors so choose. In some states recoveries of losses underwent
by survivors are provided for (such as companionship, counsel, advice,
etc. from the deceased), but Georgia law does not offer those recovery
options. Fortunately, though, the state of Georgia doesn’t impose
a cap or strict formula on the value of life like some other states do.
In the event that you have lost a loved one and wish to pursue legal damages
for loss, you may also have a claim for punitive expenses such as pain
and suffering, medical, and funeral expenses. Ultimately, it is imperative
that you contact an experienced wrongful death attorney if you are considered
a legal claim.