The death of a loved one is always tragic, but there might be legal repercussions depending on how they passed away. You can file a lawsuit if your loved one dies because of another’s wrongful actions.
You should consider a wrongful death lawsuit if you lose a loved one because of someone else’s negligent, criminal, or wrongful behavior. The damages available in your case depend on how your loved one died and who was left behind. You can recover for your mental suffering and economic losses, like medical bills or the loss of valuable services. There is a hierarchy of people who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, surviving spouses have priority, but children and other family members may file if there is no surviving spouse.
The wrongful death of a loved one should not be tolerated, and those responsible should be brought to justice. Our Nashville wrongful death lawyers can help you hold the wrongdoers responsible in court. For a free case evaluation, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
Why File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Nashville
The death of a loved one is always hard to process. You might have an even harder time if your loved one’s death was under rather unpleasant circumstances. If a family member passes away because of the actions of another person, you might be able to hold that person accountable in a wrongful death lawsuit. Our Nashville wrongful death attorneys can help you get your case started.
Under T.C.A. § 20-5-106(a), a wrongful death may involve a wrongful act, omission, or killing. Negligence is a significant reason behind many cases. For example, if your loved one passed away in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence behind the wheel, you can sue the other driver for damages. Remember, negligence is often unintentional, but that does not mean that the perpetrator should not be held responsible.
You can also sue if your loved one’s death was the result of a crime. This not only includes criminal homicide but also other criminal acts in which your loved one’s death might have been accidental. For example, if a drunk driver hit your loved one and caused their death, the driver would be criminally prosecuted for the DUI and vehicular homicide, and you could hold them civilly liable for the wrongful death.
Sometimes, a wrongful action is not so much an action as an omission. This is often seen when caretakers forget or neglect to take care of the people in their charge. For example, a daycare provider who fails to secure the front door may be sued for the wrongful death of a child who left through the door and got hurt.
Damages You Can Recover in Nashville Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Damages in wrongful death lawsuits are often complicated. Not only must we account for the damages related to your losses and suffering, but we must also consider the damages incurred by the deceased person before they passed away. Our Nashville wrongful death lawyers can help you calculate damages and maximize potential compensation.
According to T.C.A. § 20-5-113, damages may be recovered related to mental and physical suffering, loss of time, and various necessary expenses related to losing your loved one. These damages are from the perspective of the deceased person. This means that your deceased loved one’s suffering, loss of time, and expenses are the basis for these damages.
Your own losses and suffering are also considered. Damages including the loss of consortium, services, and companionship, may all be considered. However, there are certain limits to what can be recovered. According to T.C.A. § 29-39-102(a), non-economic damages are capped in all personal injury cases, including those for wrongful death.
Typically, you cannot recover more than $750,000 in non-economic damages for a wrongful death. Non-economic damages are losses that are not directly connected to a monetary value. For example, pain, suffering, and loss of consortium are non-economic damages. If the injuries experienced by the deceased person were catastrophic, the limit may be increased to $1,000,000.
Catastrophic injuries include the following by statute:
- Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis
- Amputation of two hands or feet or one of each
- Third-degree burns over at least 40% of the body as a whole or 40% of the face
- Wrongful death of a parent, leaving a surviving child or children behind
Who Files a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Nashville
Generally, only family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Losing a close friend may be very traumatic and emotionally devastating, but only their family can file a wrongful death claim. If you lost a loved one but are unsure who in the family should file the claim, our Nashville wrongful death lawyers can help you.
There is a sort of hierarchy regarding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, surviving spouses take priority and are the first in line to file. The deceased person’s children can file the lawsuit if there is no surviving spouse. If there are no surviving spouses or children, the case can be filed by the deceased person’s estate representative or other next of kin. If the deceased person was a child in the custody of their parents, the parents are first in line to file the claim.
In some cases, children can supersede surviving spouses if the surviving spouse is found to have abandoned the deceased spouse. Under T.C.A. § 20-5-106(c), the surviving spouse’s right to institute the wrongful death claim and collect damages may be waived if children or other next of kin can establish that the surviving spouse abandoned the deceased spouse or fully withdrew for at least 2 years. If at least 2 years have passed since the abandonment or withdrawal, there is a rebuttable presumption that the surviving spouse abandoned the deceased spouse.
Call Our Nashville Wrongful Death Attorneys for Help Today
If you have lost a loved one and believe someone else’s wrongful actions caused their passing, our Nashville wrongful death lawyers can help you take legal action. For a free case review, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.