Questions About Wrongful Death

Serving Gainesville, Jacksonville, Atlanta areas

Can I file a wrongful death claim?

If you are an immediate family member of the deceased person, you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the only immediate surviving family member of the deceased is a minor, the court may assign a "guardian ad item" to represent the minor's interests in a wrongful death case.

In some states, the ability to file a wrongful death case may also be granted to extended family members or people who were financially dependent on the deceased person. For more information about who is eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim, please visit: Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Do all states have the same wrongful death laws?

No. Each state is responsible for determining their own wrongful death laws, which means they may differ considerably depending on where you live. The length of time during which you can file a case (called the "statute of limitations"), the type of damages you can recover, and even who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim will all depend on state laws.

In some situations, you may be able to choose which state you file a lawsuit in. This is an important consideration that should be discussed with an experienced wrongful death lawyer.

If my loved one died from a gunshot wound, should I seek compensation through a criminal case or a wrongful death case?

Most fatal gunshot wounds happen with some level of intent on the part of the shooter. Manslaughter or murder with a deadly weapon are criminal offenses, and will be prosecuted as such. However, criminal cases are designed only to punish the offender; they cannot provide you with compensation for your own losses after your loved one's death. Because of this, wrongful death cases are usually pursued alongside criminal cases as a separate action.

If you were financially dependent on your loved one - for example, if your spouse died due to a gunshot wound, and you are left raising your child alone - their loss will have an overwhelming impact on you and your child's future. Only a wrongful death case can provide you and your family with the financial relief you need after losing your loved one. Our attorneys at The Chestnut Firm can guide you through the process of pursuing a successful wrongful death case after your family member dies from a fatal gunshot wound.

What damages can my family recover in a wrongful death lawsuit?

The types of damages you are able to recover in a wrongful death case will differ from state to state. However, most states allow surviving family members to pursue compensation for:

  • Emotional and mental trauma
  • Medical and funeral expenses
  • Punitive damages
  • Loss of companionship or protection
  • Loss of the victim's future income
  • Loss of benefits (if the victim provided healthcare or pension benefits for the family)

If you have questions about the specific wrongful death laws in your state, please contact The Chestnut Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Jacksonville wrongful death attorneys. We represent clients nationwide, with offices in Jacksonville and Gainesville, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; and Charlotte, North Carolina.