What Defines a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death happens when a person’s death is caused by injuries received at the hands of another or by another person’s wrongful act or failure to act. In Tennessee, wrongful death claims are similar to a personal injury case in which the injured party can no longer bring the case himself or herself. Wrongful death cases transfer the right to bring a claim to someone else – generally a family member or members.
A wrongful death claim is a civil charge, and it can be brought even if criminal charges are filed in connection with the case. Wrongful death claims are obviously extremely challenging emotionally, but they are also extremely important – as they can help the family who is left behind move forward with their lives. If someone else’s negligence (or worse) caused the death of your loved one, you need the professional legal services of an experienced Nashville personal injury attorney.
Who May File?
In the State of Tennessee, specific family members have the legal right to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. This right passes first to the deceased’s surviving spouse, and if there is no surviving spouse, that right is passed to the following:
- The deceased’s surviving children (if minors, the court will appoint a guardian to make the claim)
- The deceased’s parents (if the deceased is a minor or unmarried with no children)
- The executor of the deceased’s will (if the deceased left a will naming an executor)
- If none of the above apply, anyone can petition the court to be named as the administrator of the estate (if more than one person applies for the administrator position, the court will appoint whoever’s best qualified)
Damages You Can Recover
It used to be that wrongful death cases in Tennessee were limited to those damages the deceased could have received if he or she had survived. More recently, however, this has changed, and family members are now able to recover on certain kinds of damage they suffer as a result of the victim’s untimely death. These damages can include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- The deceased’s lost earnings that would have spanned the period between being injured and time of death
- The deceased’s lost earnings in relation to his or her expected lifespan
- The deceased’s loss of enjoyment of life spanning the period from injury to death
- The deceased’s mental anguish suffered as a direct result of the ultimately-fatal injury
- The family members’ mental and physical pain suffered as a result of their loved one’s life being cut short
- The family members’ loss of the deceased’s love and companionship
While a wrongful death claim cannot bring a loved one back, it can provide survivors with the resources to better cope with their grief and move forward with their lives.
If You’ve Lost a Loved One Because of Someone Else’s Negligence, Consult with an Experienced Nashville Personal Injury Attorney Today
Wrongful death cases are difficult, but the compassionate personal injury lawyers at Bednarz Law in Nashville care about you and your case. Our experienced legal team is committed to helping you obtain the compensation necessary to help you go on after this devastating loss. Your case matters, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 615-256-0100 for more information today.