Wrongful Death Attorney


 Assertive legal representation in Wrongful Death cases

There is perhaps nothing more devastating than the unexpected loss of a loved one. This loss can be all the more overwhelming and painful if you believe that your loved one’s death could have and should have been prevented, if not for the negligent or intentional action of someone else.

Zach is committed to helping his clients in the wake of the unthinkable. He knows that you are overcome with loss, and is here to help you through the legal aspects of your case, so that you and your loved one can find justice and financial support even as your mourn.

You could secure both legal justice and compensation if your loved one’s death was due to another person or party’s negligence or reckless behavior.

Zach offers residents of Savannah a free, private legal consultation. This can simply be a time where you can tell your story and as your legal questions to an experienced, compassionate wrongful death attorney. It can also be a time to plan legal action against the entities that contributed to your loved one’s death.

I’m very pleased to recommend Zachary H. Thomas Law to my friends and relatives! I have to mention how efficient and professional in dealing with my case has been with Zach.

Britany Weaver

Free Wrongful Death Case Evaluation

Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death attorney
What is a wrongful death claim?

Georgia law classifies a death as wrongful if it was caused by another person or business without legal justification.

A person who takes another person’s life has caused a wrongful death.  Most wrongful deaths are caused by reckless or negligent conduct. Negligence means carelessness. For instance, a driver who makes a right turn on red and kills a pedestrian in a crosswalk has caused a wrongful death.  Or, an apartment complex that knowingly allows violent crime to occur on its property and does not try and stop that crime from occurring can be held responsible for a wrongful death that results because of future crime.

The civil justice system is intended to compensate the surviving family members for the wrongful death of their loved family member.

Who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia?

Married at time of death:

In cases where the deceased victim was married, O.C.G.A § 51-4-2 authorizes the deceased victim’s spouse to bring a wrongful death claim. If the victim was not married, any of the victim’s surviving children can bring the claim. Court decisions also authorize the children to bring a claim if a surviving spouse is unwilling or unable to do so, or if the spouse caused the victim’s death.

Unmarried and no children:

When the victim died without a spouse or children, O.C.G.A § 19-7-1(c)(3) authorizes the victim’s parents to bring a wrongful death claim. They can bring the claim jointly if they are married and living together. If they are separated or not married to each other, either parent can bring the claim if the other refuses. If one parent has died, the living parent can bring the claim.  Both parents are vested with the right to bring a case; barring unusual circumstances both parents must share equally in the recovery.

Unmarried, no children, and no parents:

When a wrongful death victim dies with no surviving spouse, children, or parents, O.C.G.A § 51-4-5 authorizes the victim’s estate to bring a wrongful death claim. That claim is commenced by the administrator of the victim’s estate. Whether the victim had a Will does not affect the right of the estate to seek wrongful death compensation.

How long does a family have to bring a Wrongful Death claim in Georgia?

Generally, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the death, but that time called “the statute of limitation” can sometimes be extended, though it can also sometimes be shortened.

The statute of limitation can be longer than two years and be delayed for up to six years:

If someone is killed because of a criminal act (which includes serious crimes and traffic accidents where the at-fault driver is ticketed by the officer), the time can be “tolled” aka extended.  A crime does not have to be intended and even simple traffic accidents can be considered a crime. O.C.G.A. § 9-3-99.  What that means is that in any motor vehicle crash where the at-fault driver received a citation, the statute of limitation for the wrongful death lawsuit is tolled from the date of the violation until a final disposition of the traffic charge or for six years, whichever is shorter. Harrison v. McAfee, 338 Ga. App. 393, 402 (2016). The two year period statute of limitation starts running after that date.

The statute of limitation can be shorter than two years:

If the government caused the person’s death (for example, if a county police officer crashed into the person), the deadline could be shorter.  The amount of time to bring the case depends on which branch of government is involved, and an ante litem deadline may govern.  Sometimes, the statute of limitation can be as short as six months.