What if the plaintiff died before filing a personal injury suit?

Let's say your wife is involved in a serious car accident and suffers serious burn injuries. She spends months in the hospital fighting to recover from the burns. However, infection after infection has taken their toll and she finally succumbs to her injuries and dies.

Because your wife was struck by a drunk driver, she had a strong personal injury claim for financial damages. A claim that would have paid for the massive medical bills your family has incurred as a result of her care. Now what? Is it too late for her personal injury claim?

What should I do to pursue my deceased family member's claims?

If your wife passed away as a direct result of her car accident injuries, then you will likely have a strong claim to pursue wrongful death damages in court. In the state of Georgia, special laws allow for the pursuit of wrongful death damages by close family members, such as spouses and children of the decedent.

That said, if the decedent did not have any close family members who could pursue a wrongful death suit, but did have heirs, then it may be possible for the personal representative or executor of the decedent's estate to pursue personal injury damages on behalf of the estate. Any proceeds garnered by the personal injury lawsuit would then be divided amongst the heirs through the probate process.

What damages can be pursued?

Following the death of a car accident victim, courts will identify several categories of compensatory damages, including money to compensate for the cost of medical care before the individual passed away. Lost future income earning potential will also be evaluated. Sometimes, for example, close family members of the decedent can seek compensation for lost future earnings of a primary contributor to family income. They can also seek claims for damages related to lost family relationship, loss of consortium and more.

A personal injury lawyer can help

If you lost your husband or wife in a car accident caused by another driver's unlawful or negligent behavior, you will likely have a viable claim to seek wrongful death damages. Furthermore, if you were the heir of an individual with a viable personal injury case, it may still be possible to benefit from a potential unfiled car accident lawsuit. By getting in touch with a personal injury lawyer, you can other family members of the decedent can evaluate the most appropriate legal options available.

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