Car crashes can have deadly consequences. Victims can suffer devastating harm like traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, and spinal cord damage that ultimately results in their deaths. Fortunately, in such cases, the families of the deceased may be entitled to financial compensation.
One of the options for pursuing compensation after a fatal accident is filing a survival action. If successful, the plaintiff may recover compensation for damages suffered by the victim between the time of their accident and their death. For example, compensation for medical bills, emotional anguish, and physical pain may all be awarded.
If you need help filing a survival action, seek support from our experienced Tennessee wrongful death lawyers at Howe Law by calling (844) 876-4357.
How is a Survival Action Different from a Wrongful Death Case in Tennessee?
A wrongful death claim seeks to compensate a victim’s beneficiaries for damages they suffered as the result of their loved one’s death. Examples of damages sought in wrongful death cases include the value of lost financial support, lost household services, and lost affection the victim would have provided in the future.
Unlike wrongful death cases, survival actions are not filed on behalf of a deceased person’s family members. Rather, they are filed on behalf of the deceased. Survival actions seek to compensate a victim’s estate for the damages incurred by the deceased between the time of their accident and their death.
Accordingly, survival actions are usually filed in cases where victims are injured as the result of other peoples’ negligence but do not succumb to their injuries until sometime later. For example, a survival action may be filed when someone suffers a harmful car accident and undergoes weeks of treatment in the hospital before ultimately passing away. In that case, the victim’s estate may be able to recover compensation that the deceased would have been entitled to if they were still alive.
Survival actions help prevent negligent drivers from escaping liability for certain damages that stem from the accidents they cause. During a free case assessment, you can evaluate the strength of your potential survival action with help from our Nashville wrongful death attorneys.
Who Files a Survival Action in Tennessee?
The first consideration that must be made when seeking to file a survival action is who may bring the lawsuit to court. Tennessee law is adamant that only one person can bring the lawsuit. The state does not want multiple cases in the court system addressing the same subject matter. Accordingly, a priority for filing survival actions has been established.
If the victim of a deadly car accident has a surviving spouse, then they will have first priority for filing a survival action. If there is no surviving spouse, then the right to file will pass on to the deceased person’s child or next of kin. After that, priority will pass on to the victim’s parents. Finally, if none of the aforementioned parties are available, then the victim’s personal representative may file their survival action. A personal representative is an individual chosen by the victim to administer their estate. If they did not choose a representative, then one may be appointed by the court.
Time Limit for Filing a Survival Action in Tennessee
The time limit for filing a survival action in Tennessee is governed by T.C.A. § 28-3-104. Typically, plaintiffs will have one year from the date of a victim’s death to bring their claim to court. Noncompliance with this deadline can cause plaintiffs to miss out on important compensation.
An extensive amount of evidence may be needed to support your survival action. Accordingly, you should begin working on your claim as soon as you can. As time passes, relevant evidence can become hard to gather and preserve. The sooner you begin building your case, the more easily you may collect the information you need.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Survival Action in Tennessee?
When a person’s death occurs as the result of another party’s negligence, then their estate may be entitled to several types of monetary damages. The following are all examples of damages that may be recovered by filing a survival action in Tennessee:
If a car accident victim underwent medical treatment between the time of their injury and their death, then compensation for their medical expenses may be recovered through a survival action. These expenses are usually proven using medical bills and records.
Also, compensation for property damage may be obtained by filing a survival action. For example, if a victim’s car was damaged as a result of their deadly accident, then a survival action may be filed seeking payment for the cost of the car’s repair or replacement.
Lost income is another form of damages that plaintiffs in survival actions may recover. If the deceased missed work while attempting to recover from their injuries, then their estate may be entitled to payment for the lost wages the victim suffered. These damages are generally calculated using deceased workers’ average weekly income.
Additionally, plaintiffs in survival actions may be entitled to payment for non-economic damages sustained by victims before their deaths. For instance, compensation for physical pain may be awarded.
There are several types of car accident injuries that may produce high degrees of physical pain. For example, burns, broken bones, and internal injuries can all be excruciatingly painful. If your loved one underwent a great deal of physical pain before succumbing to their injuries, then you may be able to recover compensation for the harm they endured.
Lastly, compensation for emotional anguish may be awarded. If a victim experienced emotional distress while being treated for their injuries, then a survival action may be filed seeking payment for their suffering.
Plaintiffs in Tennessee Survival Actions Can Call Our Lawyers for Help
Get assistance from our experienced Knoxville wrongful death lawyers by calling Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 to review your case for free.