Legal Question in Personal Injury in Georgia

Legal rights of sister or mother in fatal car accident

Is there any litigation or legal rights of a sister or mother if the brother or son is killed in fatal car accident? My brother-in-law was killed in a auto accident and is married and has one son. Didn't know if sister or mother should hire a attorney and sue the person who caused accident or is this something only the wife and son have a legal right to?

Asked on 8/12/02, 7:36 pm

6 Answers from Attorneys

Hugh Wood Wood & Meredith
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Re: Legal rights of sister or mother in fatal car accident

Here are the part of the statutes that govern your question:

51-4-2.

(a) 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 the full value of the life of the

decedent, as shown by the evidence.

(b)(1) If an action for wrongful death is brought by a surviving

spouse under subsection (a) of this Code section and the surviving

spouse dies pending the action, the action shall survive to the

child or children of the decedent.

* * *

(d)(1) Any amount recovered under subsection (a) of this Code

section shall be equally divided, share and share alike, among the

surviving spouse and the children per capita, and the descendants

of children shall take per stirpes, provided that any such

recovery to which a minor child is entitled and which equals less

than $15,000.00 shall be held by the natural guardian of the

child, who shall hold and use such money for the benefit of the

child and shall be accountable for same; and any such recovery to

which a minor child is entitled and which equals $15,000.00 or

more shall be held by a guardian of the property of such child.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of this subsection, the

surviving spouse shall receive no less than one-third of such

recovery as such spouse's share.

(e) No recovery had under subsection (a) of this Code section shall

be subject to any debt or liability of the decedent.

(f) In actions for recovery under this Code section, the fact that a

child has been born out of wedlock shall be no bar to recovery.

and

51-4-5.

(a) When there is no person entitled to bring an action for the

wrongful death of a decedent under Code Section 51-4-2 or 51-4-4,

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. In any such case the amount of the recovery shall

be the full value of the life of the decedent.

(b) 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.

Hugh Wood

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Answered on 8/12/02, 9:22 pm
Robert Windholz Robert S. Windholz, Attorney At Law
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Re: Legal rights of sister or mother in fatal car accident

If the deceased person was married at the time of his death, his wife has the right to assert the claim for his death. If there were children, their right is protected by the surviving parent. If he was unmarried, the parents have the right to sue for the death.

Any time there is a death, such as in this case, you should have the matter thoroughly investigated to determine any issues of negligence and damages.

You can email me at [email protected] or call at 678-990-1584.

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Answered on 8/12/02, 9:24 pm
Kenneth L. Shigley Chambers, Aholt & Rickard, LLP
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Re: Legal rights of sister or mother in fatal car accident

If there is a surviving spouse she controls the wrongful death claim, bringing suit on behalf of herself and any children of the deceased. The spouse shares the wrongful death recovery equally with the children, keeping not less than one-third for herself. She is authorized to hire an attorney and to settle the case, but must hold the child's share in a trust or guardianship for the child. I generally try to have the child's share put in an annuity to pay out at and beyond college age, if that fits the family situation, in order to spare the parent the burden of guardianship administration, bonds, etc.

If the surviving spouse abandons the child and refuses to have anything to do with the wrongful death suit, then the suit may be brought in the child's name.

Only if there is no surviving spouse or children does the parent of the deceased have standing to file a wrongful death suit.

For further questions, see http://AtlantaInjuryLawyer.com, or call me at 404-364-1999.

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Answered on 8/13/02, 5:46 am
Ronald Arthur Lowry Ronald Arthur Lowry
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Re: Legal rights of sister or mother in fatal car accident

The surviving spouse is the proper party to bring suit on behalf of herself and the children .Sometimes overlooked, the estate of the deceased has a separate claim for burial expenses, medical bills and pain & suffering of the deceased prior to his death. That claim is brought by the executor(or administrator as the case may be) of the estate.Sometimes that is the spouse but not always.This tends to be very fact intensive.I would need more detailed information.You may call me at (770)427-8468 for a free consultation. Ron Lowry

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Answered on 8/13/02, 11:03 pm
Amanda Farahany Barrett & Farahany, LLP
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Re: Legal rights of sister or mother in fatal car accident

In a wrongful death action, the claim is for the estate of your brother, for pain and suffering and for his beneficiary, in this case, his wife and child, through a wrongful death action for the full value of his life.

In some states, the survivors have a right of action for the wrongful death, and you would probably have a claim there. In Georgia, however, you would not have a claim.

If you have any further questions, you may email me directly at [email protected] or call at 404-870-8514

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Answered on 8/12/02, 7:41 pm
Glenn Loewenthal Glenn Loewenthal, P.C.
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Re: Legal rights of sister or mother in fatal car accident

The surviving spouse has the legal personal injury claim, which is the claim for pain and suffering damages, if the death was not instantaneous. The estate has the wrongful death claim, which would be for the value of the life, which is usually measured in terms of lost future income. Many times the administrator of the estate and the spouse are the same, and can bring the claims together. The damages award is then divided by statute between the spouse and children, with the spouse receiving at least 1/3.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me a [email protected]

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Answered on 8/12/02, 7:51 pm

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