It is never easy to lose a loved one in a sudden accident, but when that accident was caused by a drunk driver, incompetent doctor, or irresponsible store manager, it is especially hard to cope. You are left with questions about why it happened, grief over the loss of your loved one, and mounting bills to cover end-of-life medical expenses, funeral costs, and, possibly, the loss of a provider’s income. When the accident that killed your loved one was caused by another party’s negligence, carelessness, or willful harmful action, you may be able to hold him or her accountable through a wrongful death lawsuit. Weir & Kestner Injury Lawyers are compassionate attorneys who will aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve when a loved one is killed.
What Is Wrongful Death in Tennessee?
Tennessee, like most states, views wrongful death as a personal injury claim where the injured person is unable to bring his own claim to court, so the right passes to a family member or personal representative of the estate. A wrongful death claim may be filed even if a criminal charge such as homicide or manslaughter is pending. Wrongful death claims are brought in civil court, and the findings are expressed in monetary damages, not prison time or probation. Wrongful death might result from negligence such as in the following:
- Car accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Medical procedures
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Hospital accidents
- Slip and falls
- Trip and falls
In general, any incident that would have led to a personal injury claim if the victim had lived can become a wrongful death claim upon his death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Tennessee?
Wrongful death damages are not available to just anyone following a person’s death. In Tennessee, you must be a dependent family member or the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. The following relatives may file a wrongful death suit:
- The surviving spouse has the first claim for damages.
- If there is no surviving spouse, the surviving children may file.
- If there is no spouse and no children, the personal representative or administrator of the deceased person's estate may file on behalf of the estate.
- If the deceased person was dependent on his or her parents at the time of death, the surviving parents may file.
If you lost a loved one in a tragic accident, discuss your situation with our wrongful death attorneys. In a free consultation, they will tell you if you have a claim and who has a right to file the claim.
What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Tennessee, damages may include what would have been awarded to the deceased if he had survived as well as losses experienced by surviving family members. Compensation for a wrongful death claim may include the following:
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss of earning capacity during the period between the accident and the time of death.
- Loss of enjoyment of life for the deceased during the same period.
- Pain and suffering of the deceased person as a result of the fatal injury.
- Lost wages and benefits the deceased would likely have earned if he or she had lived.
- Pain and suffering and expenses incurred by family members as a result of the death.
- Loss of the deceased person's love, society, and companionship.
Many of these damages are what are known as non-economic damages, meaning that the monetary value of the loss—such as loss of companionship—is open for interpretation. Our wrongful death attorneys are experienced in arguing for maximum value for non-economic losses.
Has Your Loved One Died Due To The Negligence Of Others?
If you've lost a loved one due to the negligence of someone else you need to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 615.220.4180 to schedule your free consultation. We will schedule a time to meet with you at one of our offices in Smyrna, Nashville or Murfreesboro—whichever location is most convenient for you.