What is the Value of Life?


What is the Value of Life?

Wrongful death claims are among the most difficult and emotional cases that we regularly encounter and handle.

While no legal action can bring back a loved one, a wrongful death claim in Georgia serves as a means to seek justice and acknowledge the full value of the life lost. It’s a process that seeks to provide some measure of comfort and closure by recognizing the deep emotional and relational void left by a loved one’s absence. While no amount of money can ever replace the loss of a loved one, a wrongful death claim in Georgia seeks to provide some measure of justice and financial compensation and stability for the bereaved following a fatal accident. It’s about recognizing the value of the lost life and holding responsible parties accountable for their actions.

Georgia’s approach to wrongful death claims is unique from many other states and reflects a deeply empathetic understanding of loss. Notably, Georgia’s wrongful death law is structured from the perspective of the person who passed away, a perspective that profoundly affects how we value their life and the loss suffered. Unlike many other states where wrongful death claims focus primarily on the survivors’ losses, Georgia’s statute uniquely considers what the deceased person has lost – the “full value of the life of the deceased,” as viewed from their perspective. This approach is not just about things like medical bills, funeral/burial costs, or the financial support they would have provided but also, and crucially, about the experiences, joys, and opportunities they have been denied due to their untimely death.

To properly prosecute these cases, we must obtain a complete and comprehensive understanding and appreciation for the person who we lost. Our approach requires a deep and empathetic understanding of the person and what was important to them during life. It’s about piecing together not just what they contributed in terms of work and salary, but also the essence of who they were: their passions, dreams, relationships, and the joy they brought to those around them. It further includes the pleasures, interests, and experiences they would have cherished in the future that was taken away. We want to present a claim that is an acknowledgment of the individual’s lost potential for happiness and fulfillment. It should be a story and celebration of the person’s life and what it should have been.

To help tell this story, we ask questions like, what were they looking forward to in life? These are the things and examples that really give meaning to a wrongful death claim. Things like getting married or watching a loved one get married, graduating from an educational institution and obtaining a degree, experiencing the birth of a child or grandchild, celebrating a favorite holiday, or simply spending time with friends and family. All of these are items to consider and assign value to.

Though many think of their lawyers as just providing legal expertise for these cases, that is only half the battle. It is equally important—and sometimes even more so—to also provide emotional support, compassion and guidance. A good personal injury attorney will strive to understand and convey the story of a loved one’s life, ensuring that the full scope of what they have lost is presented and valued.

Valuing human life is inherently subjective and complex. There is no receipt, no invoice, no number that can easily sum up the worth of a person’s presence in our lives. There are no medical bills. However, as wrongful death attorneys in these heart-wrenching situations, we can and should provide support, understanding, and a shoulder to lean on as we find a path forward in honoring a lost loved one’s memory and seeking the justice they deserve.

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