2020 Georgia Code
Title 51 - Torts
Chapter 4 - Wrongful Death
§ 51-4-4. Wrongful Death of Child

Universal Citation: GA Code § 51-4-4 (2020)

The right to recover for the homicide of a child shall be as provided in Code Section 19-7-1.

(Code 1933, § 105-1307, enacted by Ga. L. 1980, p. 1154, § 2.)

Law reviews.

- For survey article on wills, trusts, guardianships, and fiduciary administration, see 59 Mercer L. Rev. 447 (2007). For note, "Not Just For Kids: Why Georgia's Statutory Disinheritance of Deadbeat Parents Should Extend to Intestate Adults," see 43 Ga. L. Rev. 867 (2009).



  • General Consideration

General Consideration

Limit on recovery.

- Recovery for wrongful death in Georgia is limited to the full value of the life without deduction for necessary or personal expenses of decedent and does not include recovery for mental anguish or emotional distress. Ob-Gyn Assocs. v. Littleton, 259 Ga. 663, 386 S.E.2d 146 (1989), overruled on other grounds, Lee v. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co., 272 Ga. 583, 533 S.E.2d 82 (2000), overruled on other grounds, Shores v. Modern Transp. Servs., 262 Ga. App. 293, 585 S.E.2d 664 (2003).

Lack of standing.

- Father lacked standing to recover for the child's wrongful death pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 19-7-1(c) and51-4-4 as the father had abandoned the child pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 19-7-1(b)(3); the father never supported the child, nor did the father ever visit the child in the many years after the child's hospitalization in infancy, there was no evidence that the father attempted to learn where the child resided in order to initiate visitation or support, and the father was obligated under O.C.G.A. § 19-7-2 to support the child, even though the divorce decree did not require it. Baker v. Sweat, 281 Ga. App. 863, 637 S.E.2d 474 (2006).

The defense of accident is to be confined to its strict sense as an occurrence which takes place in the absence of negligence and for which no one would be liable, unless there is evidence authorizing a finding that the occurrence was an "accident" as thus defined, a charge on that defense is error. Battle v. Kovalski, 202 Ga. App. 471, 414 S.E.2d 700 (1992).

Recovery by parent of deceased when murdered by spouse.

- After the Georgia Supreme Court concluded that because the police officer, as the son's wife and murderer, was precluded from recovery, the son's mother had standing to assert claims for her son's wrongful death and funeral expenses under Georgia law; therefore, the district court erred by dismissing the mother's state law claims. Carringer v. Rodgers, 331 F.3d 844 (11th Cir. 2003).

Nonresident alien parents.

- Because nonresident alien parents of a decedent were entitled to bring an action under O.C.G.A. § 51-4-4, an administratrix did not have standing to pursue the action under O.C.G.A. § 51-4-5. Auto Doors, Inc. v. Zivoluba, 277 Ga. App. 288, 626 S.E.2d 256 (2006).

Divorced parent with custody entitled to cause of action for minor's death.

- The Georgia wrongful death statute in effect between April 4, 1979 and March 25, 1980 gave, at least by necessary implication, a right of action to the divorced parent who had custody of the child during the child's minority, regardless of whether at the time of the death the child was a minor or sui juris. Cain v. Vontz, 703 F.2d 1279 (11th Cir. 1983).

Cited in DeLoach v. Floyd, 160 Ga. App. 728, 288 S.E.2d 65 (1981); Childers v. Tauber, 160 Ga. App. 713, 288 S.E.2d 5 (1981); Adams v. Wright, 162 Ga. App. 550, 293 S.E.2d 446 (1982); Solomon v. Sapp, 169 Ga. App. 267, 312 S.E.2d 166 (1983); Ford Motor Co. v. Stubblefield, 171 Ga. App. 331, 319 S.E.2d 470 (1984); Stegman v. Horton Homes, Inc., 843 F. Supp. 707 (M.D. Ga. 1994).



- Effect of death of beneficiary upon right of action under death statute, 13 A.L.R.4th 1060.

Recovery of damages for grief or mental anguish resulting from death of child - modern cases, 45 A.L.R.4th 234.

Excessive and adequacy of damages for personal injuries resulting in death of minor, 49 A.L.R.4th 1076.

Wrongful death: surviving parent's minority as tolling limitation period on suit for child's wrongful death, 54 A.L.R.4th 362.

Workers' compensation act as precluding tort action for injury to or death of employee's unborn child, 55 A.L.R.4th 792.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for parents' noneconomic loss caused by personal injury or death of child, 61 A.L.R.4th 413.

Effect of death of beneficiary, following wrongful death, upon damages, 73 A.L.R.4th 441.

Recovery of damages for loss of consortium resulting from death of child - modern status, 77 A.L.R.4th 411.

Who, other than parent, may recover for loss of consortium on death of minor child, 84 A.L.R.5th 687.

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