Georgia and other states provide for monetary damages to the estate of a person who was killed in a vehicular accident by the negligence of another party. Such a claim is called a wrongful death claim. The wrongful death statute in every state provides a list of damages that are recoverable from death relating to car accidents. Often, the biggest element of damages that is recovered in a wrongful death claim is the decedent’s lost earnings and earning capacity.
A recent deadly accident in Lowndes County, Georgia, will likely put the foregoing principles to work for the estate of a deceased 40-year-old man. The tragic event occurred when the victim was operating his vehicle north on Loch Laurel Road when approaching the intersection to Carroll Ulmer Road. While driving with the right-of-way through the intersection, another operator who was traveling east on Carroll Ulmer reportedly failed to stop for a stop sign and crashed into the side of the victim’s vehicle.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle survived but was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The Georgia State Patrol reported that alcohol or impairment was not suspected but that the investigation was still open. Without impairment, some sort of distracted driving, or falling asleep, would be the two most prevalent causes of this type of negligence.
The decedent’s next of kin must file an estate in the county courthouse in order to pursue a wrongful death claim under Georgia law arising from fatal car accidents like this one. If the reports of going through the stop sign can be confirmed by credible evidence, there is little doubt that the estate will succeed in obtaining monetary compensation on the decedent’s behalf. If the 40-year-old man was employed, the economic damages incurred could be substantial according to average actuarial computations. The claimant will have to obtain the expert report and testimony of an economist to verify the amount of lost earning capacity in the case.