Georgia Wrongful Death Laws

The Georgia wrongful death laws can be found in Chapter 4 of Title 51 of Georgia Code.  Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 51-4-2, the surviving spouse or, if there is no surviving spouse, a child or children, either minor or sui juris, may recover for the homicide of the spouse or parent.  If the surviving spouse dies pending the action, the action shall survive to the child or children of the decedent.  If the child or children maintain an action and one of the children dies pending the action, the action shall survive to the surviving child or children[i].

The amount recovered as damages shall be equally divided among the surviving spouse and the children per capita and the descendants of children shall take per stirpes.  Moreover, if the recovery to which a minor child is entitled amounts to $15,000.00 or more, the amount shall be held by the natural guardian for the benefit of the child or by a guardian of the property of such child[ii].  A child born out of wedlock is also entitled to recovery. The surviving spouse shall not receive more than one-third of such recovery as spouse’s share.  The recovery shall not be subject to any debt or liability of the decedent.

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 51-4-5, when there is no surviving spouse or child to bring an action for the wrongful death of a decedent, the administrator or executor of the decedent may bring an action for and may recover and hold the amount recovered for the benefit of the next of kin. When death of a human being results from a crime or from criminal or other negligence, the personal representative of the deceased person shall be entitled to recover for the funeral, medical, and other necessary expenses resulting from the injury and death of the deceased person[iii].

[i] O.C.G.A. § 51-4-2

[ii] Id

[iii] O.C.G.A. § 51-4-5


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