WHAT DOES A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT COVER?
The purpose of a wrongful death case is to recover “the full value of the life” of the person who died. O.C.G.A. § 51-4- 2. The “full value” of a life has two parts. First, there is an economic part. Basically, that means that the jury can evaluate how much money the person would have earned throughout his or her life. Second—and more importantly—there is an intangible part.
This is for the important parts of life that the person missed. As a top wrongful death lawyer Brookhaven GA residents hire we believe that we don’t just represent the person who hires us; we believe we represent the person whose life has been taken. If a person was killed while young, for instance, that person may have missed falling in love, graduating from school, earning his or her first paycheck, getting married, having children, and watching those children grow into adults. Those are all parts of the intangible value of life. The jury’s verdict in a wrongful death case should reflect the “full value of the life” that was lost, and that “full value” should be measured from the point of view of the person who died. O.C.G.A. § 51-4- 2(a); Brock v. Wedincamp, 235 Ga. App. 275, 280 (2002).
Finally, a wrongful death lawsuit is intended to keep the wrongful conduct from happening again because, as Georgia’s courts have determined, the statute “is itself punitive.” Ford Motor Co. v. Stubblefield, 171 Ga. App. 331, 340 (1984). In that sense, a civil lawsuit can give purpose to tragedy—it can deter the defendant from hurting someone else.