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What are the Laws for Filing Wrongful Death When a Child Dies?

Posted on December 25th, 2014 by Admin

Today’s parenting situations are more challenging than those of traditionally married couples.  With more children being born out of wedlock, paternity suits may be necessary to establish parentage.  Couples frequently separate and even more often than separating, they divorce.  So, the question arises — which parent can file a wrongful death lawsuit when a child dies?  And how do compensation awards work?

Georgia law considers homicide as all cases in which the death of a human being results from a crime, from criminal or other negligence, or from property which has been defectively manufactured, whether or not as the result of negligence.  Surviving family members have the legal right to recover damages in homicide cases.  Under Georgia Annotated Code § 19-7-1, until children reach the age of 18, they are under their parent’s control.  Even so, the parents are not the only parties who can recover for a child’s wrongful death.  In a child homicide, the order of priority for damage recovery includes:

  • The deceased child’s spouse (if there is one)
  • The deceased child’s child (if there is one)
  • The deceased child’s parent or parents —
    • Jointly if the parents live together and are not divorced
    • If divorced, the judge adjudicates how the award is divided between parents through a hearing

A child born out-of-wedlock does not bar recovery for parents.

Georgia law gives juries considerable latitude in determining wrongful death awards.  Consequently, your lawyer’s skills play an important role when presenting the case to the jury.  Gather important information and thoughtfully choose the right lawyer.

The Cochran Firm Atlanta brings excellent credentials and experience to the table when protecting our clients’ rights to compensation.

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