4 Things You Should Know About Wrongful Death Cases
If you have a loved one who you believe is the victim of a wrongful death, you need to take action as soon as possible. We understand that knowing when and how to file a wrongful death claim can be stressful and disheartening, so we have put together a list of factors to consider before filing your claim. Here are 4 things you should know about wrongful death cases:
1. What is Considered “Wrongful Death”?
Different states have variations of what is technically considered “wrongful death.” In Tennessee, the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit arises when a person or fetus dies from “injuries received from another” or “by wrongful act, omission or killing by another”. Tennessee treats wrongful death cases as a specific type of personal injury case, where various events are considered basis for a claim. Some of the events include negligence-based incidents (including car accidents), and intentional acts or crimes. In wrongful death cases, the defendant’s liability is measured in terms of “damages,” meaning they have to pay survivors or the deceased’s estate.
2. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Again, different states have varying laws pertaining to who can file on behalf of the victim, but in Tennessee the responsibility initially falls to the surviving spouse, if any.. If there is no spouse, then family members have the right to file a claim, including the surviving children, parents or next of kin. A personal representative, also known as the “executor”, can also file on behalf of the victim’s estate. It is important to note that all recovered damages filed from the personal representative will still be awarded to the surviving family of the deceased.
3. What Damages are Covered?
The goal of a wrongful death case is to have the defendant pay damages or claimed losses to either the estate or survivors. Each case is different, but depending on the facts of the case, various losses can be included under “damages.” Some of the more obvious compensation includes the funeral and burial costs, as well as the medical expenses of the person wrongfully killed. Lost wages and experienced mental and physical suffering may also be listed under damages to pay. The defendant may also have to pay for the suffering inflicted upon the survivors, including loss of love, care, guidance and companionship.
4. There is a Time Limit for Claims
One factor of wrongful death cases that most people don’t know, is that there is a time limit for filing your claim. Tennessee statute of limitations states that you must file your wrongful death claim no later than one year from the date of the deceased’s death. Unfortunately, if the claim is not filed in this timeframe, survivors can’t make a claim at all. That’s why it is so important to contact a personal injury lawyer early so you can get ahead in your claim. Our experienced lawyers have a vast knowledge of how to handle wrongful death cases and they are ready to help you take the first steps in your claim.
Now that you know more about wrongful death cases, you can begin determining if you have a case to bring forward. Contact us at Stephen A. Burroughs today and let us help you get started and answer any questions you may have!