The loss of a loved one is devastating. This blow can be worse when the death is unexpected. It can be anger-inducing when the death is due to negligence. You may feel helpless. It hurts to know that a careless act took your loved ones life. There is no way to bring your loved one back, but you may seek a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
- The spouse of the victim. If the victim was married at the time of their death, their spouse has the first right to bring forth a claim. However, if it can be shown that the spouse had withdrawn from the relationship for a period of two years prior to the death, then the right to file may go to children.
- Any surviving children. If the victim was not legally married but had children at the time of death, the surviving children can bring forth a claim. The children would equally share any compensation. In Tennessee, the children must file one suit together. They are not allowed to file individual suits.
- Surviving parents of the victim. If the victim was unmarried and there are no surviving children, then the parents of the victim can make a claim. If the parents are divorced, they may have equal shares in the claim.
- Next of kin. In the event that the victim is unmarried and has no surviving children or parents, then the next of kin can file a claim. This could be a sibling of the victim.
- A representative of the victim's estate. If the victim had an estate plan in place, there may be an appointed representative that can bring forward a claim.
When can you file a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death claim must be filed within one year in Tennessee. This is a shorter period of time than some other states. There are some circumstances in which this timeframe can be extended, and legal representation should be sought out to help.
What can you gain compensation for?
You can receive compensation for either economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages will cover items such as medical bills, funeral fees, and loss of income-- from time of death and possibly into the future. Non-economic damages will cover items such as pain and suffering, and depression and anxiety.