What should you know before filing wrongful death claims?

Suffering the loss of a loved one can be devastating for people in Tennessee, and elsewhere. The impact can be all the more shattering when a death is caused by the negligence, carelessness or intentional actions of another. Often, in these cases, the families who are left behind are not only struggling with their grief, but also with unexpected financial challenges. In order to obtain the support and assistance they need, many who have experienced such situations choose to file wrongful death lawsuits. Before taking this type of action, however, it behooves people to have an understanding of wrongful death claims.

Whether a death is due to a motor vehicle accident, medical mistake, dangerous product or any other number of accidents or incidents, there are specific rules for who may file wrongful death lawsuits in the state of Tennessee. In general, such claims may be filed by the decedent’s spouse, or by the executor or administrator of his or her estate. If the person killed is not married, legal action may be taken by his or her adult children, or parents. Siblings may be able to file wrongful death lawsuits if the decedents are unmarried, have no adult children and were preceded in death by their parents.

Families do not have an infinite amount of time to file wrongful death lawsuits. With few exceptions, legal action in these cases must be taken within one year of the death.

Title 20, Chapter 5, Section 113 of the Tennessee Code governs the damages that may be awarded in wrongful death cases. By law, compensation may be sought for losses, including funerary costs, medical expenses, the decedent’s pain and suffering, and the loss of the deceased’s earning capacity from the time he or she was injured until the time when he or she passed away. Additionally, damages for the pecuniary value of life may also be awarded.

This post has provided an overview of wrongful death lawsuits in the state of Tennessee. It is important to keep in mind, however, that each case is unique. As such, this post should be considered only as general information, and not be taken as professional legal advice.

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