If you have lost a loved one in an accident or from complications arising from medical malpractice, the attorneys in our Nashville office may be able to help you file a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit is intended to restore the victim’s survivors to the financial position they would have been in had the wrongful death not occurred.
By filing a lawsuit, the attorneys in our Nashville office may be able to help you receive compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and other financial losses you incurred as a result of the unexpected loss.
In Tennessee, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within one year of the victim’s death, so it is very important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible. If you have lost a loved one in an accident or because of medical malpractice, please complete our free, no-obligation case review form to learn about your rights and options under Tennessee law.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Tennessee’s wrongful death law provides that:
“Where a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act, fault or omission of another and suit is brought for damages, the party suing shall, if entitled to damages, have the right to recover for the mental and physical suffering, loss of time and necessary expenses resulting to the deceased from the personal injuries.”
This means that when someone dies because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional act of another person or entity (such as a corporation or a hospital), the victim’s survivors may file be able to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the losses they incurred as a result of the untimely death.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence occurs when a person fails to exercise reasonable care and this dangerous conduct results in the injury or death of another. For example, if a person drives a car over the speed limit and causes a fatal accident, the speeding driver has acted negligently and may be held liable in a court of law for any damages caused by the crash. The car accident victim’s surviving spouse, children or other family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident.
Hiring an Attorney and Filing a Lawsuit – What’s Involved?
If you believe the death of your loved one was caused by the negligent or wrongful act of another, the attorney will review the facts of your potential case to determine if you have grounds to file a lawsuit. As part of this process, your lawyer may review medical records, accident reports and Nashville police records to determine if a wrongful act caused or contributed to the death. If you decide to file a lawsuit, your attorney will draft a legal document called a “complaint” setting forth the facts and circumstances of the case.
Wrongful death lawsuits often settle before going to trial. If any settlement offers are received, your attorney will help you determine if the proposed settlement provides compensation proportionate to the damages you have suffered. If the amount is inadequate, your lawyer may negotiate on your behalf for a higher settlement amount.
If these negotiations do not yield an acceptable settlement amount, your lawyer will prepare your case for trial. During trial, your attorney may call upon medical experts as witnesses to explain to the judge and jury how your loved one’s death was caused by the negligent or reckless act of another.
Cases We Handle
Our Nashville lawyers handle wrongful death lawsuits involving the following:
- Car, truck and motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Defective products, including defective medical devices or prescription drugs
- Unsafe premises
- Workplace accidents, including exposure to hazardous chemicals
- Construction accidents
- Pedestrian and bike accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Drowning accidents
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Under Tennessee law, the deceased’s spouse, child or parent may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Only one lawsuit may be filed for the wrongful death of an individual. For example, a spouse and a child may not file separate wrongful death lawsuits. In wrongful death lawsuits involving young children whose parent or parents were killed in an accident, the lawsuit may be filed by an individual acting as a personal representative.
Even if the surviving spouse and the deceased were separated at the time of the wrongful death, the surviving spouse may still file a wrongful death lawsuit. Furthermore, under Tennessee law, a parent can file a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a fetus that was viable at the time of the injury.
When Should A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Be Filed?
For most wrongful death cases in the state of Tennessee, a lawsuit must be filed within one year of the date of death. Because it takes time to prepare a lawsuit and research the relevant legal issues, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
What Type of Compensation Is Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to put the survivors in the financial position they would have been in had the wrongful death not occurred. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be able to obtain compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Income lost from the time of injury to death
- Anticipated future income of the deceased
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium (intended to compensate a spouse for the loss of companionship, services, love, affection and sexual relations)
- Loss of parental companionship
- Punitive damages
If your spouse or family member has died as a result of the wrongful act of another, an attorney in our Nashville office may be able to help recover compensation for your losses. Please contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.