Filing a Gainesville Wrongful Death Action

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When you have lost a loved one, you may be dealing with shock, grief, and trauma. Those emotions can be overwhelming, but they are not the only struggles you may be facing, as your loved one may have provided monetary support and essential services. Without them, you may be going through tremendous financial struggles.

Georgia law provides a remedy for survivors through a wrongful death action. These actions allow people to sue a wrongdoer for the total value of the deceased loved one’s death. Determining the value of someone’s life is challenging, but a compassionate wrongful death attorney from Smith Hulsey Law could help you estimate the value of your claim as one of the first steps in filing a Gainesville wrongful death action.

What Are Wrongful Death Actions?

In Georgia, any death caused by another person without legal justification is a wrongful death. Sometimes, these deaths are also crimes, and the wrongdoer may face criminal prosecution in addition to a civil action. However, in many instances, the wrongdoing is not criminal or malicious conduct but reckless or negligent.

The civil justice system allows people to seek justice on their own. It cannot put a wrongdoer in jail or issue other types of punishment. Instead, filing a wrongful death action in Gainesville provides a way for surviving family members to get compensation.

Which Surviving Family Members Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?

Surviving family members can bring a wrongful death action in Gainesville, but not every family member has the same right. Who has priority depends on the structure of the person’s family at the time of death.

Spouses and Children

When a person was married at the time of death, the spouse can bring the wrongful death action. If the spouse elects not to bring the claim or if the spouse was the one who caused the death, the person’s children can bring a claim. Many people do not realize that children can bring the claim because that right results from court decisions, not statutes.


If a person dies without children or a spouse, then the deceased’s parents can bring a wrongful death claim. Each parent has the right to bring a claim. If they are married and living together, they can bring a joint claim. If they are not together, then they can bring the claim individually. Generally, regardless of who brings the claim, both parents will share in the recovery.

Distant Family Members

When a person dies without immediate family members, distant family members may be able to recover. They cannot bring the claim on their own, but the deceased’s estate can bring a wrongful death action. Any resulting award will belong to the estate, which may be distributed to the person’s relatives, depending on the contents of their will.

Filing Survival Actions With Wrongful Death Actions

The estate frequently has the option of bringing a survival claim, also known as an estate claim. A survival action allows the estate to bring a personal injury suit on behalf of the deceased for damages they experienced between the time of the incident and the time of death. These estate claims also allow the estate to recover for burial and funeral expenses.

While the family has the right to bring a wrongful death action, and the estate has the right to bring a survival action in Gainesville, they may want to combine the two actions. Both actions involve proving the same factual scenario, but the damages are different. A skilled attorney could explain the differences and tell a family what to expect monetarily.

Call a Gainesville Lawyer To Learn About Filing a Wrongful Death Action on Behalf of Your Loved One

When you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. Sometimes, people assume they do not have a claim unless the deceased was making money or offering financially valuable services at their death. However, the law recognizes that a person’s life has value beyond earning potential. Survivors can file a lawsuit to recover for those intangible losses.

To find out more about filing a Gainesville wrongful death action, schedule a consultation with one of our tenacious attorneys at Smith Hulsey Law. They could let you know if a claim exists, the correct person to bring it, filing deadlines, and other important information you need to know.

Smith Hulsey Law

Smith Hulsey Law