Can I Sue on Someone Else’s Behalf for Personal Injury or Wrongful Death in Georgia?

Just imagine that you are out for an afternoon drive with your husband and children, enjoying the great Georgia weather. Out of nowhere, suddenly another driver runs through a red light and slams into the driver’s side of your car. Luckily, you and your kids only sustain minor injuries. However, your husband did not fair as well and suffers a traumatic head injury and is hospitalized while in serious condition. He is unable to make any legal decisions due to his current condition. Are you able to file a personal injury claim on your husband’s behalf?  

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Witnessing a loved one suffer an injury can be overwhelming and devastating. It is also extremely financially taxing. In this specific instance, your husband will have large medical bills piling up, lost wages from missing work hours, and pain and suffering. Depending on your husband’s prognosis, you may need to think ahead for a lifetime care plan. When someone we love is injured, we want to help in any way we can to provide for our family and restore our lives back to normal, and the way life was before the accident. Knowing your husband’s condition, he is not able to file a claim for his injuries on his own. Are you allowed, as his spouse, to file a personal injury claim on his behalf to help pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering? In the state of Georgia, there are two types of cases to consider when deciding who can sue on behalf of another individual.

Wrongful Death Cases in Georgia

The first type of case is a wrongful death case. A wrongful death happens when someone dies due to the negligence of someone else. This can get very complicated because there are usually two types of claims that can be brought under Georgia law when someone dies from an injury caused by another’s negligence. The first is known as a “Survival Claim.” This is more of a personal injury case with minor differences. Due to the victim’s death, another individual needs to be able to bring forth the lawsuit. In Georgia, that individual needs to be the executor of the deceased individual’s will, or the administrator of the deceased individual’s estate, if they were without a will. For this type of claim, the damages that are available usually include medical bills, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering.

The other type of case associated with death from an injury is labeled as a “Wrongful Death” claim. This is different of that of a survival claim because the wrongful death claim examines the value of the deceased person’s life if he or she had continued to live. The survival claim focuses on what happened before the death, while wrongful death claims focus on what has been lost because the person is no longer living. For example, the damages within a wrongful death claim include the actual value of that person’s life, which includes their earning potential, loss of time with children or loved ones, the loss of enjoyment of life. The loss of enjoyment of life could be many things, such as spending time with your spouse, or hobbies you once enjoyed but now you no longer can, etc. Another important difference between a survival claim and a wrongful death claim is the party who can actually bring the lawsuit. For a wrongful death claim, the party who brings the action is determined by statute.  

The order of those who can bring the action goes from the spouse of the deceased person, then to the children of the deceased person, next on to the parents of the deceased, and if there are no parents living, then on to the Estate of the deceased person. Hopefully, this helps to clear up basic misunderstandings of these two types of claims. Who files the suit, what damages are involved, and who is being compensated can all get mixed together quickly and become confusing when dealing with these type of cases. It is always in your best interests to go over all of this with a Georgia personal injury attorney to make sure you are making the best legal decisions. The Law Office of John B. Jackson is knowledgeable on all Georgia personal injury laws and statutes. Call our office today if you have recently lost a loved one or have been injured due to someone else’s negligence. Our Douglasville personal injury attorneys will guide you through this complex legal process.  

Personal Injury Cases in Georgia

Now you are probably wondering, what happens in cases where the individual does not die from their injuries, and no survival or wrongful death actions are available? Sometimes an individual may be injured to the point that they are not able to make sound decisions about their own care, or legal needs. Georgia law provides for these situations as well. There are some cases where another individual is allowed to file on another’s behalf. For example, if the injured person is a minor or a child, usually the legal guardian or their parent can file a claim on their behalf. If the injured individual lacks the mental capacity needed to file a claim, a surviving family member (depends on the relationship) can file a claim for the incapacitated person’s behalf. Usually, in cases like these, the Probate Court appoints the individual bringing forth the lawsuit on the injured person’s behalf. The appointed individual is then expected to be the decision maker for the injured individual until they are deemed able after their recovery.

Consult with a Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Attorney for Your Case

It can be very complicated when deciding who can file a claim on behalf of an injured or deceased individual. If one of your loved ones has suffered an injury or a wrongful death due to another individual’s negligent actions, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation and get legal help with the claims process. The attorneys at The Law Office of John B. Jackson have successfully handled many Georgia personal injury and wrongful death cases. We always take a personalized approach to each and every one of our client’s cases. Our Georgia personal injury lawyers can help you determine the best legal actions to take as you move forward, whether on your own behalf or if you are filing on behalf of someone else. Our goal is to provide you and your loved ones with the best legal advice for your particular case and to recover the compensation that you and your family deserve. Please do not hesitate to call our office today for a free consultation about your case.