When a family member dies suddenly, the death often overwhelms family members emotionally and financially. Family members must make funeral arrangements and take care of family matters. Very seldom does a family member think about seeking legal advice in the days following a sudden death. However, if your loved one died because of the acts of another party, you may have a wrongful death claim. Meeting with our Tennessee wrongful death attorneys can help you evaluate whether you have a wrongful death claim against the party who caused your loved one’s death.
Defining Wrongful Death in Tennessee
Wrongful death is a civil concept. A person does not need to be guilty of a crime to be liable for damages in a wrongful death action. Tennessee’s wrongful death statutes define wrongful death as a person whose death was the result of injuries caused by another person or whose death is the result of an omission, wrongful act, or intentional act of another person.
Situations that might give rise to a wrongful death claim include:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Premises Liability Claims
- Medical Malpractice
- Product Liability Claims
- Intentional Acts of Violence
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Workplace Accidents
- Nursing Home Abuse
Most acts of negligence or intentional wrongdoing give rise to a wrongful death action. If the person’s death would not have occurred had it not been for the actions or omissions of another party, the death is typically considered “wrongful.”
Why Should I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Filing a lawsuit will not undo the horrible wrong committed against to your family. Also, lawsuit will not bring back your loved one or ease your pain. However, a lawsuit can provide compensation that your family may need after losing a family member who contributed to the family’s finances. Consequently, a wrongful death lawsuit can also help you gain a measure of justice for your loved one and your family after the tragic and untimely death of a relative.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Tennessee?
Tennessee’s wrongful death statutes set forth the priority for filing wrongful death claims. The surviving spouse has the right to file a claim above all other heirs. Surviving spouse typically refers to a wife, husband, or domestic partner. It does not include an ex-spouse and may not include common law spouses. If the deceased person does not have a surviving spouse, the right to file a wrongful death claim passes to the surviving children or next of kin. Personal Representatives of the probate estate may also file claims for wrongful death on behalf of the surviving beneficiaries.
The laws regarding the right to file a wrongful death claim can be confusing. However, the law is clear as to who has priority to file a claim. Even though family members may file multiple wrongful death lawsuits, only one living descendant’s lawsuit will be recognized. The other lawsuits will be dismissed.
Tennessee Wrongful Death Attorneys
If your family member’s death was the result of an unintentional injury, you should consider if the incident qualifies for a wrongful death action. Contact the wrongful death attorneys at Cummings Law today. Talking with an experienced Tennessee wrongful death attorney is the first step in holding the negligent party who caused your loved one’s death accountable.
Posted in: Wrongful Death