Was your loved one killed in a tragic accident?

Your family may be entitled to wrongful death benefits. Let our Georgia attorneys help secure compensation from those accountable for your loss.


Anger. Shock. Dismay. Confusion. Anxiety. Crippling grief. You may be experiencing all of these emotions and more right now if you recently lost a spouse, child, parent or another loved one in a tragic accident. We hear about such unthinkable losses on the news, but nothing can prepare you when it happens to you and your family.

If you are reading this page because you recently lost a loved one, first we’d like to offer our deepest condolences. The death of a spouse or family member is devastating, especially when it occurs unexpectedly and tragically.

Emotional distress and grief aren’t the only troubles you are probably facing, though. After a fatal accident, surviving spouses and family members often experience tremendous financial difficulties since a primary breadwinner is no longer able to provide for the family. As the bills pile up, you might feel lost and helpless in this moment.

But take some comfort in knowing that you don’t have to face the unknown of what comes next alone.

Our Georgia wrongful death attorneys can help you and your family obtain financial security in the wake of this tragic loss by seeking compensation for damages such as funeral costs, burial expenses, medical bills, lost future earnings, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and more.
While no amount of money will fill the hole in your life left by the loss of your loved one, financial compensation can not only help you achieve financial stability, but also ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable for their negligent actions.

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Georgia wrongful death laws

Georgia wrongful death laws

If you get hurt due to negligence, you can generally take legal action against the negligent individual, party, or company under Georgia's personal injury laws. But when the injury is so severe that the person dies, they are no longer able to bring a claim themselves. In such cases, their surviving spouse, children or loved ones may file a claim on the deceased’s behalf. This is what’s known as a wrongful death lawsuit.

Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act (Title 51, Chapter 4) defines “wrongful death” as a tort in which someone’s death results from:

  • A crime
  • Negligence (criminal or otherwise), or
  • Defectively manufactured or managed property

Wrongful death lawsuits can arise from any incident caused by negligence, including a wide number personal injuries and accidents — most commonly fatal car and truck accidents, motorcycle wrecks, pedestrian and bicycle collisions, defective products, construction accidents, medical malpractice and nursing home negligence and abuse.

Criminal vs. civil

Criminal vs. civil law: how wrongful death cases differ

Wrongful death is a type of tort that falls under personal injury (civil) law. While wrongful death cases can arise as a result of a criminal act, they differ from criminal cases in several important ways.

For starters, the purpose of a wrongful death action is not necessarily to punish the person or company at fault (the defendant), but rather to financially compensate the plaintiff for their loss. This compensation is referred to as “damages.”

In criminal cases, on the other hand, a person convicted of homicide or manslaughter might face jail time, probation, loss of their driving privileges and other penalties. Some criminal defendants must also pay a fine to the state, but this money is not given to the spouse or family of the person they killed.

In other words: Though criminal convictions can provide some measure of justice and accountability, they do nothing to financially support a grieving family. If you are seeking monetary compensation for the death of your loved one, you’ll have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court.

Another important distinction is who can bring a case. In a criminal case, a government-appointed prosecutor files charges on behalf of the state and victims. The defendant is represented by either a government-appointed attorney or hires a private defense attorney to represent them. The survivors or estate of the deceased may be called upon as witnesses in a criminal case, but ultimately they have no say over the sentencing or plea bargain negotiations.

In a civil tort such as a wrongful death lawsuit, the deceased survivors or estate may choose to file a lawsuit in civil court. Usually, the plaintiff hires a wrongful death attorney to represent them, and the defendant hires a defense lawyer. Unlike criminal charges, civil claims can be “dropped” if, for instance, a pre-trial settlement is reached during negotiations or mediation.

Wrongful death lawsuits and criminal (homicide) charges also differ in how they proceed. Criminal cases usually go to trial, which is presided over by a judge and jury. Sometimes, plea bargain agreements and deferred adjudication can reduce the penalties a defendant must serve, but every person is entitled to a fair and impartial trial under the 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Wrongful death actions, on the other hand, rarely proceed to trial. While some cases do go before a judge and jury in civil court, a vast majority of wrongful death claims are settled out of court during pretrial negotiations, mediation or arbitration.

Lastly, the burden of proof differs between criminal cases like homicide and civil cases like wrongful death. In a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant committed the crime. This is the highest legal standard.

In contrast, plaintiffs (or their attorneys) in a wrongful death claim need only establish that the defendant was more likely than not responsible for their loved one’s death (known as a “preponderance of the evidence”) — or at least 51 percent liable.

Proving fault is harder in criminal cases than civil claims, which means that a person whose criminal charges were dismissed could still be liable in civil court for personal injury or wrongful death damages — for example, take the OJ Simpson case. While a criminal conviction can help support a civil tort claim, it isn’t a requirement.

Meet your Georgia wrongful death attorney

Julian Lewis Sanders founded The Law Offices of Julian Lewis Sanders and Associates in 2003. The firm proudly serves Atlanta and the surrounding communities of Georgia in personal injury law.

“Growing up in a military family, I learned the importance of dedication and honor early, which established a foundation for my eventual
law career.”

We want to help you. Give us a chance to listen to your needs, answer your questions, and show you how we will take swift strategic action to help right the wrong that has been done to you.

Excellent! Some time ago, my wife found out about Julian Sanders, and she hired their services as our legal representatives in court. They helped us in getting the compensation due to us. I can never thank them enough. – Jastin Clark

Call or text the Law Offices of Julian Sanders & Associates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
(678) 705-9581


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At The Law Offices of Julian Lewis Sanders & Associates, we understand the gravity of wrongful death cases and what's at stake. Our legal team of Georgia-based attorneys has represented countless individuals and families in Georgia who are still reeling from a sudden, tragic death. Our law firm handles each and every case with compassion, expertise, and skill to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients.