The death of a family member is a traumatic event, especially if the death was caused by another person who acted negligently. The aftermath is often uncertain as questions come up about funeral planning, insurance, making day to day decisions, and managing household expenses without the loved one.
We are truly sorry if you have been faced with the death of a family member. The hole left by the deceased is a big one to fill, especially if that person was a significant contributor to the family income. You have our deepest sympathies.
Today, we'll talk about what classifies as a wrongful death, who can file wrongful death claims, and the statute of limitations in Tennessee.
What classifies as wrongful death?
In the state of Tennessee, a "wrongful death" case can be described as a death caused by "injuries received from another" or by "the wrongful act, omission, or killing by another." In order for a wrongful death claim to be successful, it must have been caused by another person's negligence, or with intent to harm them and the surviving family members have to be suffering financially as a result of the death. Wrongful death claims are often brought after a criminal case using similar evidence. The individual responsible could be found liable for a wrongful death with or without being convicted of a crime.
Many circumstances can contribute to a wrongful death claim like in the following instances:
-Occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances
-Death during a supervised activity
-Car or airplane accident
-Medical malpractice that results in death
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Wrongful death claims are treated like a special kind of personal injury case. In these cases, the person who died is no longer able to bring a case themselves so the right to file a suit passes to certain family members or to a personal representative of the deceased person's estate.
The right initially passes to the surviving spouse, but if there is no surviving spouse, the right falls to the following parties:
-The surviving children or next of kin
-The personal representative of the deceased person's estate
-The surviving parent or parents, if the deceased person was dependent on his or her parent at the time of death, and
-The administrator of the deceased person's state, if the deceased person was a dependent at the time of death.
What is the timeline for filing a wrongful death claim in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, family members or representatives of the estate are required to bring a wrongful death case within one year of the date of the deceased person's death. Several factors can affect the statute of limitations. If you are approaching the deadline, call an experienced wrongful death attorney to discuss your case.
A death in the family is never easy, but seeking a wrongful death claim and winning could provide your family with the necessary money to not only bury your loved one properly, but cover expenses in the future.