Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Georgia

A local family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Atlanta suburb of East Point and two of its former police officers last week after police allegedly used Taser devices on a 24-year-old man who died following the incident.

Gregory L. Towns Jr. was arrested on April 11 after he fled on foot from officers who wanted to question him about a domestic dispute, according to the New York Times. The officers later abused him while he was handcuffed, according to the lawsuit.

Towns’ family said in the lawsuit police officers in East Point “acted with malice and a deliberate intent to cause grievous bodily injury, pain and death” to Towns. In the lawsuit, the family said officers used Taser devices on Towns up to 13 times in a 29-minute period, which they said led to a wrongful death.

According to Georgia law, a wrongful death occurs due to the negligence or intentional act of another. For instance, the family is alleging the police officers intentionally tried to harm and/or kill Towns. In some cases, the decedent is a victim of crime, such as murder.

In cases of negligence, a personal injury attorney would have to prove the person who is being sued acted in certain ways, which lead to the wrongful death. This often involves failing to act as a reasonable person and meet a certain standard.

For example, doctors are held to a certain standard and are expected to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities. If a nurse or a doctor was careless when treating a patient and he or she suffered injuries, the medical professional could be held liable.

According to Georgia Code § 51-4-2, surviving spouses may file a wrongful death suit. In cases where there is no spouse, such as Towns’ case, a surviving child may bring the suit. The lawsuit filed against East Point was filed in the name of Towns’ estate and his infant son.

Under state law, a person filing the lawsuit is entitled to the “full value of the life of the decedent, as shown by the evidence.” This involves the difficult subject matter of putting a value on a person’s life. Several factors contribute to this decision.

The court will look at the victim’s earning power, as demonstrated by his or her education, work history and pay history. It will look at how long the decedent could have been expected to live. Survivors also may be able to seek other damages, like loss of consortium and loss of support.

No amount of money can bring a loved one back, but it can give the survivors a sense of security and a level of comfort. An Atlanta personal injury attorney can help seek justice for the loss of a loved one in a wrongful death suit.

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ReShea Balams

ReShea Balams is an award winning attorney and the founder of The Balams Firm.  Prior to answering her true calling to represent families impacted by life-changes tragedies, ReShea gained invaluable experience and insight as an attorney for large insurance companies.  She is known for her record of exceptional results on behalf of clients, and is a zealous advocate for injury victims.

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