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Georgia Wrongful Death Laws

When a person dies as a result of someone else's actions, certain people -- such as a surviving spouse -- have the right to file a wrongful death action. In Georgia, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed in cases where a person dies of a "homicide." For purposes of Georgia wrongful death laws, homicide is defined as death resulting from:

If the lawsuit is successful, the plaintiff can recover the "full value of the life of the decedent." This is calculated without deducting any necessary or personal expenses of the decedent had they lived.

Georgia Wrongful Death Laws at a Glance

It's important to read the primary source of information when conducting legal research, which in this case is the actual text of the law. Unfortunately, laws are usually written in "legalese," which is why reading an overview of the law in plain English can be beneficial. In the following chart, you can find an overview of wrongful death laws in Georgia as well as links to relevant statutes.


Georgia Code, Title 51, Chapter 5, Section 51-4-1, et seq. (Wrongful Death)

Statute of Limitations

Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the person's death. But, there are times when the statute of limitations is "tolled" or paused:

  • If the deceased person's estate hasn't gone through probate, the statute of limitations is tolled for up to 5 years.
  • If there's a criminal case involving the same events as the wrongful death claim, the statute of limitations will begin after the criminal case is completed (as long as it doesn't take more than 6 years).
Right of Action

A wrongful death action can be brought by a surviving spouse, a child (if there is no surviving spouse), or a parent (if there is not surviving spouse or child).

If there's no surviving spouse, child, or parent, the administrator or executor of the decedent may bring an action for wrongful death and hold the amount recovered for the benefit of the decedent's next of kin.

Related Statute(s)

Georgia Code:

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Georgia Wrongful Death Laws: Related Resources

If you'd like more information and resources related to this topic, you can visit the links provided below.

Questions About Georgia Wrongful Death Laws? Ask a Local Attorney

While the money recovered from a successful wrongful death lawsuit can't replace the loss of someone you love, it can provide some sense of justice. If you've lost a loved one and think that it was due to the wrongful actions of another, speak with a local personal injury attorney today to find out how Georgia wrongful death laws apply to your specific situation.

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