Estate Claims In A Wrongful Death Context

As we have posted before, in a wrongful death context, the heirs-at-law have a claim for damages for the full value of the life of the decedent whereas the Administrator of the estate has a claim for pre-death damages. In some cases involving serious injury, the injured individual may live for a time prior to death. If, in such a hypothetical case, the individual incurs substantial medical expenses and experiences significant pain and suffering prior to death, the estate of such a decedent is the proper legal entity that brings these claims. The claim is brought in the name of the Administrator or Administratrix of the estate, not the estate itself and the claim is brought, not for the full value of the life of the decedent, but rather for damages unique to the estate, which includes burial expenses, funeral expenses, medical expenses and any conscious pain and suffering experienced prior to death. Thus, in any wrongful death case in Georgia there are typically two claims which are brought, one by the heirs-at-law and one by the Administrator/Administratrix of the estate as the damages that are sought by each are unique under Georgia law.

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