Nothing is quite as difficult as losing a loved family member. But that loss can be substantially greater when our loved one is taken from us by the wrongful acts of another person.
Many surviving family members might not know where to begin getting justice for their loved one’s death. Fortunately, an experienced Murfreesboro wrongful death attorney could be helpful during this difficult time. Many wrongful deaths result from someone’s negligence, but they can also occur in criminal acts. When the unthinkable occurs, certain surviving family members and the deceased’s personal representative have a right to recover damages for the losses they have suffered from the responsible party.
If you lost a family member because of another person’s wrongful act, our Murfreesboro wrongful death attorneys can help you and your loved ones get the justice you deserve. Contact Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357 for your free case review.
Defining Wrongful Death in Murfreesboro, TN
Tennessee defines wrongful death as one that occurs from a wrongful act, failing to act or murder by another person. Some wrongful deaths result from a crime, but another person’s negligence causes the most. For instance, car accidents caused by negligent drivers are arguably one of the main reasons for wrongful death claims. A death is considered wrongful if the deceased could have filed a lawsuit to recover damages had they survived the accident or murder. If someone’s act or omission caused the death of another person, they could be held liable to the surviving family members. Our Murfreesboro wrongful death attorneys can further explain wrongful death claims and answer any questions you might have regarding your case.
Parties that Can File a Murfreesboro, TN Wrongful Death Claim
Many people might mourn the loss of a loved one, but only a few family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation. The deceased’s personal representative could also file on behalf of the client’s estate.
Surviving Family Members
Under T.C.A. § 20-5-107(a), certain family members can file a wrongful death claim for the loss of their loved one. The law also provides the order for which family members can claim a wrongful death first. The following are the family members that can file a wrongful death claim in the order they may file:
- Surviving spouse
- Any surviving children if no spouse
- Next of kin if no surviving children
In addition to these family members, the law also permits the deceased’s personal representative to file a claim on behalf of the deceased’s estate. However, family members can file their wrongful death claim independent of the personal representative’s suit.
One caveat is for wrongful death claims for the loss of a child. According to T.C.A. § 20-5-107(b), parents with unpaid child support payments cannot file a claim for the loss of a child until their child support is paid in full, plus interest. However, suppose the parent fails to pay child support during the child’s life or the last two years, whichever is the shortest period. In that case, they will be prevented from recovering any compensation for their child’s wrongful death.
Personal Representative of the Deceased
As mentioned, the law also permits the deceased’s personal representative to file a claim to recover damages on behalf of the deceased’s estate. A personal representative tends to be a family member of the deceased, chosen by the deceased while they were alive, and usually named in their will. However, a person can typically elect someone close to them, like their attorney or friend, to act as their personal representative if they choose. If the deceased did not name a personal representative, the court would likely appoint a family member to act as the representative. Our Murfreesboro wrongful death attorneys can help determine if you have a valid wrongful death claim.
Types of Claims that Can Be Files After a Wrongful Death in Murfreesboro, TN
Two types of civil claims can be filed for the wrongful death of a loved one. While they seem similar, each claim is intended to compensate a deceased’s loved ones for different damages.
The deceased’s personal representative can bring a survival action to recover damages that the deceased would have been able to pursue had they survived the incident. Survival actions can also recover damages that the deceased incurred because of their injuries before they passed. Damages for a survival action include the deceased’s medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering before the deceased passed.
Wrongful Death Claims
Certain surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim to recover damages for the financial and emotional support they have suffered from losing their loved one. Compensation for a wrongful death claim can cover economic and non-economic damages. An award for damages could include funeral and burial expenses, outstanding medical expenses, lost financial benefits the deceased provided, and loss of companionship. Importantly, T.C.A. § 29-39-102(a)(2) caps non-economic damages at $750,000.
Time Limit to File a Murfreesboro, TN Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Tennessee’s statute of limitations dictates the amount of time that surviving family members and personal representatives will have to file a wrongful death claim. According to T.C.A. § 28-3-104, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within one year of the date of the deceased’s passing. This is a much shorter filing period compared to most other states. In most cases, family members will not be able to recover compensation if their lawsuit is not filed before the one-year deadline, as the court will dismiss it.
However, surviving family members and personal representatives will have more time to file a lawsuit if criminal charges are brought against the party that caused the wrongful death. The law provides two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit in this situation. Our Murfreesboro wrongful death attorneys can help you determine when the statute of limitations runs in your case so you do not lose out on the vital compensation you need.
Our Murfreesboro, TN Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help
If you lost a loved one to another person’s negligent or criminal act, our Murfreesboro wrongful death attorneys can help you hold them responsible for your incredible loss. For a free case evaluation, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.