Georgia’s progressive wrongful death statute says that the value of human life is to be viewed and valued from the perspective of the deceased. In awarding damages for wrongful death, a jury is to consider the value of the person’s life to himself or herself. In practice this means that wrongful death lawyers in Georgia spend a great deal of time gathering details, photos, poems, letters, and stories from the deceased’s life. It is through testimony, video, and photos that a jury can be educated on the quality of life that the deceased lived. There is no limit on the award that a jury can return for wrongful death damages. It is only in rare circumstances that juries return less than $1,000,000.00 for the value of a person’s life in cases of clear liability.
The Estate of the deceased also holds the claim for any medical bills, conscious pain and suffering prior to death, and funeral expenses. If the deceased lived for even a short period of time after the mortal wound, the Estate holds the claim for the suffering, and if the deceased had time to apprehend that death was imminent, then the Estate holds a claim for that as well. An administrator of the Estate will be appointed to bring that claim in court.
Damages arising out of wrongful death are not subject to estate or income taxes, nor are they subject to the claims of the deceased’s creditors.