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Right of Survivor Statute

O.C.G.A. 51-4-2 was made into law in 2010. The law allows for:

The spouse or parent of a victim to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, survival action, release the wrongdoer, and disposition of recovery. There is also the exemption of recovery for the decedent’s death. Recover is not barred by a child having been born to unmarried parents.

The law goes on to say that a spouse, or in the case of no surviving spouse, the children of a decedent, may recover the full value of the decedent’s life, provided they can prove that value in court. The statute also says that if the surviving spouse files the lawsuit and passes away before the lawsuit has been completed, the action is passed along to the surviving child or children.

O.C.G.A. 51-4-2 also dictates how monies awarded in a lawsuit be divided. The surviving spouse and children are to divide the money “per capita.” If the amount of the award being given to a minor child is less than $15,000 it will be given to the natural parent of the child to be used for the child’s care, and the natural parent will be held accountable for how the money is spent. In the event the award is larger than $15,000, it will be held by a guardian.

Any surviving spouse who would like to know more about this statute in Atlanta should consult a wrongful death attorney for assistance. An attorney can provide a family with information and next steps as appropriate for their unique situation.