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Losing the life of a loved one is heartbreaking. It may be even more painful when that loved one’s death resulted from the intentional or negligent actions of another. Surviving family members may possess complicated feelings about whether or not to initiate a lawsuit. After all, no amount of money can bring back that loved one. However, families may face medical and funeral expenses, loss of income, and other financial challenges. Pursuing legal claims for the death of a loved one may be the only means of recovering for needed losses.

In many cases, a loved one may possess claims against another that he or she was not able to pursue before passing on. In such instances, a representative of the deceased may have the legal right to continue such legal claims and receive compensation.

What is a Survival Action?

Under Georgia law, a survival action is an extension of a legal claim associated with a deceased person. A survival action seeks damages for loss experienced by the deceased during the accident that led to his or her death. The damages may include compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, or other financial losses. In short, a survival action is a lawsuit that the deceased person could have brought if he or she were still living.

Who Can Bring a Survival Action?

A representative of the deceased person’s estate may file a survival action in Georgia. The representative may include an executor, an administrator, or a personal representative. In many situations, this representative may include a member of the deceased person’s family.

How Does a Survival Action Differ from a Wrongful Death Claim?

Family members of the deceased who assert a wrongful death claim have their own individual right to receive compensation for the loss of their loved one. Thus, in a wrongful death action, family members may recover compensation for economic losses–such as lost income and benefits–as well as other less tangible losses, such as a loss of companionship and affection. In a survival action, however, the representative of the deceased person’s estate sues for losses that belong to the deceased person, as opposed to family members. Thus, in a survival action, the family members of the deceased do not directly receive compensation. However, damage awards are given to the estate of the deceased and distributed to his or heirs, which often include family members and others.

Deciding Whether to Bring a Survival Action

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, you may file a wrongful death claim, a survival claim, or both in Georgia. Determining which type of claim to file will depend on your circumstances and the circumstances of your loved one’s death. A skilled wrongful death attorney can provide answers and insight to the types of claims you should pursue.

Getting Legal Help After the Loss of Your Loved One

If the intentional or negligent actions of another has caused the death of your loved one, you should contact a wrongful death attorney immediately. An experienced wrongful death attorney can review the facts of your case and determine whether you have a viable claim. If so, they can help you seek the compensation you deserve.

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