The loss of a family member is always incredibly difficult. Losing a family member in an accident or because of someone else’s mistakes is not only difficult but might be grounds for legal action.
A person’s death may be considered wrongful if it occurred because of someone else’s wrongful actions. Wrongful actions might include criminal violence, neglect, or a failure to take necessary preventative measures. Generally, a wrongful death claim can be filed by the representative of the deceased person’s estate. However, surviving spouses or other next of kin can file the case. If your case is successful, you may recover damages related to the injuries sustained by the deceased person in addition to economic and non-economic losses related to your personal losses. Some common examples of wrongful death lawsuits include car accidents, deadly assaults, and neglect, among others.
If your family member passed away and you believe another person is to blame, call our Tennessee wrongful death attorneys for help immediately. Our team can help you and your family get justice and closure. For a free case review, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
How to Know You Have a Wrongful Death Case in Tennessee
The right of action for a wrongful death can be found under T.C.A. § 20-5-106(a). The law defines a wrongful death as a death that results from a wrongful act. While wrongful acts might involve criminal actions, they are not always crimes. For example, an act of negligence or a failure to act when legally required might also be wrongful. Generally, if the deceased person could have sued for their injuries if they had survived, the death may be considered wrongful, and you might have a case.
It is not always clear from the beginning that a death results from a wrongful act. For example, suppose you lost a loved one in a car accident. It might not be clear at first who caused the car accident. If, after a police investigation, it becomes clear that the other driver’s negligence caused the crash and your loved one’s death, you can sue them in a wrongful death lawsuit. Our Tennessee wrongful death lawyers can help you get your claims started.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case in Tennessee
According to T.C.S. § 20-5-107(a), a wrongful death case can be filed by the deceased person’s personal representative. A personal representative is typically whoever is in charge of the deceased person’s estate after they pass away. Personal representatives are often family members, but they might also be someone unrelated who was close to the deceased person, like a good friend or their attorney. Our Tennessee wrongful death lawyers can help you file the case.
The law also states that family members can file wrongful death claims in their own name without a personal representative. A surviving spouse can file a wrongful death claim on their own and in their own name. The deceased person’s children can file the case if there is no surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse or children, other next of kin, like parents and siblings, can file the lawsuit.
If you wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the loss of a child, you might run into problems if you have unpaid child support arrearages. According to T.C.A. § 20-5-107(b), a parent cannot recover under a wrongful death action until all child support arrearages, including interest, have been fully paid. On top of that, if a parent intentionally refuses or fails to pay child support for the life of the child or at least 2 years, whichever is shorter, the parent cannot recover under this action at all. Similarly, spouses who abandoned the deceased person for at least 2 years may not recover.
Damages Available in Tennessee Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Damages in wrongful death cases are governed by T.C.A. § 20-5-113. There are two broad categories of damages that you can recover in a wrongful death case. First, you can recover damages related to the economic and non-economic losses connected with losing your loved one. Second, you can recover damages related to the injuries and expenses incurred by the deceased that they could have claimed themselves had they survived. Our Tennessee wrongful death attorneys can help you accurately calculate all your damages.
Claims for damages incurred by the deceased person that they could have claimed if they survived are sometimes referred to as survival actions. They typically include things like the deceased person’s pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other losses they experienced before they passed away. If a loved one does not pass away immediately and lingers on for some time, the damages can be quite high.
Wrongful death damages are more focused on the economic and non-economic losses of the surviving family members. You can usually claim burial and funeral costs as part of your damages and other pecuniary losses. For example, a spouse can claim the value of the deceased person’s income that has been lost.
You can also recover for your non-economic losses and injuries. For example, a spouse can sue for loss of consortium or companionship. Keep in mind that there is a cap on non-economic damages. Under T.C.A. § 29-39-102(a)(2), non-economic damages are capped at $750,000.
Common Examples of Wrongful Death Cases in Tennessee
Perhaps the best way to understand what kind of cases include wrongful death claims is to examine several common examples. Of course, an unlawful killing may lead to a wrongful death lawsuit in addition to criminal prosecution. However, other non-criminal wrongful actions might also lead to wrongful death claims. Talk to our Tennessee wrongful death lawyers for advice about your case.
Car accidents are significant sources of wrongful death lawsuits. Whether the other committed a crime behind the wheel or not, they can be held responsible for the death of any accident victims. Accidents involving drunk, distracted, or negligent drivers are common in wrongful death cases.
Premises liability issues also lead to wrongful deaths. For example, if your loved one fell down the stairs and passed away because of their injuries, the owner of the property where your loved one fell might be liable if they neglected to repair the stairs and left them in a dangerous state. Similarly, a landlord might be liable if they fail to correct dangerous electrical wiring that sparks a fire causing the death of multiple tenants.
Call Our Tennessee Wrongful Death Attorneys for Help
If you recently lost a loved one because of someone else’s criminal or negligent behavior, our Tennessee wrongful death attorneys can help you get justice for yourself, your loved one, and your family. For a free case review, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.