Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Tennessee: How Do They Work?
In civil courts, a person’s death may be considered wrongful if it was caused by an accident that should have been avoided, such as a car crash. Tennessee civil courts allow surviving family members to file what is known as a wrongful death lawsuit. You may be entitled to compensation if someone dear to you was recently killed in an unexpected accident.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit: What Is It?
Plaintiffs who file wrongful death lawsuits in civil courts seek compensation from parties allegedly at fault for causing fatal injuries. By suing the responsible party for financial compensation, surviving family members or the deceased person’s estate can make themselves whole again. It is possible to recover money for funeral and burial costs, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more in a Tennessee wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when a human being dies as a result of the criminal acts or negligence of another. If the product was defectively manufactured, a wrongful death claim may also be pursued in the absence of negligence. These are some of the most common accidents that result in wrongful death lawsuits:
- Accidents involving cars
- Accidents involving trucks
- Accidental slips and falls
- Accidents at work
- A fire
- Premises that are hazardous
- Medical malpractice
A party’s negligence in personal injury law refers to their failure to act reasonably and prudently in the same circumstances. Tennessee may hold the defendant liable for wrongful death when the defendant’s reckless or wrongful behavior caused the fatal accident.
Tennessee Wrongful Death vs. Criminal Case After Death
When someone intentionally causes the death of your loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit is different from a criminal case. There is a difference between these two legal systems in terms of their rules, procedures, and requirements. In a wrongful death lawsuit, compensation is sought for those who lost a life that could have been prevented. In contrast, a criminal case involves proving that a defendant committed a crime, such as murder, so that they can be punished with a conviction.
Survivors of a wrongful death must file a claim, whereas a District Attorney’s office files criminal charges for homicide or manslaughter. There is also a difference in the burden of proof. An individual must be found guilty of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case. Evidence must be clear and convincing in a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is the process for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by spouses, children, parents, or executors of other decedent’s estates. State law only allows lawsuits to be filed by these individuals (in this order). Your deadline must also be met. A Tennessee wrongful death claim has a one-year statute of limitations (legal deadline) from the date of death.
A skilled Knoxville wrongful death lawyer can help. Lawyers can assist with the legal process, including filling out confusing claim forms and submitting them to courts on your behalf. Once the insurance company is contacted, your attorney can negotiate with them for the maximum amount of compensation or represent you at trial, if necessary.