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If you’ve ever had a family member or loved one who tragically died because of medical malpractice, an automobile accident, or because of the negligence of a property owner, you are probably furious because their death could have been prevented. At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, we understand that no amount of money may be able to bring your loved one back, but our team of experienced wrongful death lawyers can recoup an amount of compensation to make you and your family’s life manageable again. We understand the pain you are going through, and we are ready to do everything in our power to bring you justice on behalf of the person you care about being gone forever. Asserting your right to compensation may be a way to hold accountable those who were responsible for your relative’s death and alleviate any financial burdens arising from it.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Tennessee
Before learning how the wrongful death claims process works, you should know what a wrongful death means from a legal sense. Tennessee Code Annotated section 20-5-113 defines a wrongful death as a death that is caused by the wrongful act, fault or omission of another person.
Wrongful death claims are treated as a specialized personal injury case because the person who would file the claim is no longer able to. Instead, certain family members or the deceased’s personal representative can file a claim on their behalf. This can include:
The surviving spouse
The surviving children if the spouse is deceased
The surviving parents
The administrator of the deceased person’s estate
In Tennessee, a wrongful death claim can be filed even if a criminal charge for homicide has already been filed in connection with the loss of your family member or loved one. But it doesn’t mean both claims are similar. A wrongful death claim is a civil claim, unlike homicide which is a criminal charge. Also, a criminal charge for homicide has no monetary benefits, as where the liability in a wrongful death claim can compensate the family of the deceased.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Suit
For many years, the damages awarded to those resulting from wrongful death claims were very limited. They did not include the losses the surviving family suffered, but rather what damages the deceased person would have received if they had survived the incident.
However, the rule was amended and now benefits the surviving family members who are able to recover certain damages that resulted from their loved one’s untimely death. The damages can include being compensated for:
Loss of earning from between time of injury or illness and time of death
Loss of enjoyment of life during the same timeframe
Mental anguish the deceased person suffered because of injury or illness
Lost wages the deceased person would have likely earned if they had lived
Pain and suffering
If the deceased person’s next-in-line kin is not 21 years of age, any and all damages would be placed in a trust until the minor is of age.
However, all eligible compensation would be null and void if no claim is brought forward within one year of the deceased person’s death. Because of Tennessee’s statute of limitation laws, the deceased’s family would lose out on the opportunity to seek compensation. However, there are several factors that can affect the one-year deadline.
Our Tennessee Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help
The death of a loved one, especially one that was preventable, can be difficult for anyone. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another party in Tennessee, you should consult the wrongful death lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard. We will work quickly to resolve your case, all while working in your best interests to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation.