The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that there are close to 4,000 fatal truck accidents each year. The majority of these fatalities involved the occupants of the passenger vehicle. Trucks generally weigh 20 to 30 times the average car or SUV, resulting in considerable damage to the occupants of the smaller vehicle. Losing your spouse in a truck accident is one of the most devastating things you could ever experience. This type of loss can tragically leave you emotionally distraught and in financial upheaval. However, there are steps you can take to obtain justice for the loss of your spouse and receive the financial compensation you deserve.

Georgia Wrongful Death Claims

Georgia law authorizes those who have lost a loved one due to negligence, recklessness or the intentional actions of another to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible. The spouse has the first priority in bringing a wrongful death action against the at-fault individual or company. If the spouse and the deceased victim share minor children, the spouse will bring the action on behalf of the children as well. The spouse is entitled to at least one third of the recovery, regardless of the number of minor children.

Damages for the Surviving Spouse in a Wrongful Death Action

There are several different types of compensation a spouse can seek in a wrongful death action. The first category of damages includes, among others, those relating to the financial and intangible value of the victim’s life. It may include lost wages or benefits which the deceased person may have earned had he or she lived a normal life expectancy. Damages can also include the intangible, such as loss of companionship, loss of care and emotional pain and suffering.

For example, spouses can bring a related but separate action known as loss of consortium. This action seeks the loss of the deceased spouse’s love, affection, society, companionship, services, aid, sexual relations and comfort.

Damages can also be sought by the estate of your deceased loved one and can include medical expenses incurred prior to death, such as emergency transportation and surgical expenses. Funeral and burial expenses are generally recovered, as are damages for conscious pain and suffering experienced by the victim prior to his or her passing.

A surviving spouse has two years from the date of their loved one’s death to file a wrongful death and loss of consortium action. However, it is important to act as soon as possible after the accident so as to protect your legal rights.