According to Tennessee Law, wrongful death is any death that results from being killed or fatally injured by someone else’s wrongful act or omission.
A wrongful death lawsuit is considered a special type of personal injury lawsuit. However, since the person who was injured in a wrongful death case is not able to bring a claim themselves, that right instead passes to family members or other representatives of the deceased.
It’s important to note that survivors of the deceased have the right to file a wrongful death claim even if criminal charges have already been filed against the at-fault party. This is because a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim, rather than a criminal charge filed by a prosecuting attorney. Civil and criminal matters are completely separate.
In criminal cases, liable parties are typically held accountable by terms of fines, imprisonment, probation, and other punishments. In civil claims involving wrongful death actions, though, at-fault parties are held accountable solely through monetary means. This means that in a wrongful death lawsuit, representatives of the deceased seek justice in the form of financial compensation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Sevierville TN?
Only certain individuals have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased person. In most cases, a surviving spouse of the deceased has legal priority over other parties.
If a deceased person has no surviving spouse or the spouse does not wish to file a wrongful death claim, the claim may be filed by the following parties, in order of priority:
- Surviving children or next-of-kin to the deceased
- The personal representative of the estate of the deceased
- Surviving parents of the deceased, if the deceased individual was a dependent of their parents at the time of their death
- The administrator of the estate of the deceased, if the deceased individual was a dependent at the time of their death
Compensation Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
In the past, Tennessee law only allowed survivors to recover as much compensation as the deceased person could have acquired themselves in a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived their fatal injuries. Now, surviving family members are able to claim certain types of compensation for the suffering they endure as a result of their loved one’s death.
The types of compensation that are now available in a Tennessee wrongful death claim include:
- Funeral and burial expenses, within reasonable limits
- Lost earning capacity for the period in between the deceased person’s initial injury or illness and their time of death
- Lost future wages and benefits that the deceased would likely have provided if they have survived their fatal injuries
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before death as a result of their fatal injury or illness
- Pain and suffering, losses of personal time, and incidental expenses incurred by family members as a result of the death of their loved one
- Lost enjoyment or quality of life of the deceased from the time of their initial injury or illness and the time of their death
- Family members’ losses of the love, society, and companionship of the deceased
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Tennessee
Tennessee courts impose strict limits on the amount of time you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Tennessee’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is one year. This means that, if you want to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your loved one in a Tennessee civil court, you have exactly one year from the date of their death to do so. Only rare and narrow exceptions can extend the deadline.
If you fail to file a wrongful death lawsuit before this one-year deadline expires, the court will almost certainly dismiss it, no matter how strong the underlying claim may be. This means your family will lose its right to pursue compensation for the losses you have endured as a result of your loved one’s death.
One year is a particularly short time limit. If you believe you have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s a good idea to act quickly. The experienced Sevierville wrongful death lawyers at The Terry Law Firm can review your legal standing and help you weigh your options during a free case review.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Sevierville
There are a number of preventable tragedies that commonly lead to wrongful death. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death that our Sevierville attorneys handle include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Boat accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Construction accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice incidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
How Our Sevierville Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You
The wrongful death attorneys of The Terry Law Firm can support your claim by:
- Investigating the accident to gather evidence, find out what happened, and identify any parties who could be liable
- Collecting any paperwork needed for your claims, such as medical records, accident reports, and payroll records
- Negotiating with other parties, such as insurance providers and defense attorneys, for fair compensation on your behalf
- Representing you in court, if the at-fault parties and their representatives refuse to agree to reasonable settlement demands
If you lost a loved one because of a devastating accident or act of intentional malice caused by someone else, you may have the right to seek compensation for your losses. The compassionate lawyers of The Terry Law Firm are here to help your family pursue the justice you deserve.
To discuss the details of your case in a free initial consultation simply calls us or fill out our convenient online contact form.