Non-Economic Damages In A Georgia Wrongful Death Case

As we have posted before, in Georgia the measure of damages is the full value of the life of the decedent. The full value of the life of the decedent is comprised of the economic value of the deceased’s normal life expectancy and the non-economic loss sustained at the time of the wrongful death. As to the non-economic component, this includes the joy of living itself, the loss of society, affection and companionship of a wife, children and other family members and generally what the decedent lost at the time of their death.
A young person losses more life experiences than does an older person who has already experienced a long life span. Thus, typically, a younger person’s claim for wrongful death is economically more valuable than is an other persons under the rationale that the longer one would have lived had they not wrongfully lost their life the greater the damage to the deceased.
Again, Georgia law is unique because damages are measured from the standpoint of what the decedent lost not what the decedent’s survivors lost. In many states, the measure of damages is from the standpoint of the survivors. What did they lose when the decedent died? How much of his income did they lose? How much of his society and affection did they lose? In Georgia, on the other hand, the measure is based on what the decedent him or herself lost. Either way, the damages are left to the sole discretion of fair and impartial jurors seeking to do justice in a case where someone has wrongfully been killed and lost their life.

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