Tennessee Wrongful Death Lawyer

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The death of a loved one is always a devastating situation. But for some, that grief is compounded by the nagging feeling that their loved one’s death didn’t have to happen.

Maybe they died suddenly in an accident that could have been prevented. Maybe you’re not sure what happened but feel you don’t have the full story.

These are the kinds of questions that bring people to see a Tennessee wrongful death lawyer, and frequently, clients want to know their options. Can they seek compensation from the party they believe is responsible?

They may also be struggling with financial strain, especially if their deceased loved one was the main financial provider in the family. Grief is difficult enough on its own without having to face bill collectors or worrying about how you’ll pay your rent.

In many cases, there are options for making a claim against a party whose negligence led to death. To determine if your situation qualifies, you should speak with a Tennessee wrongful death attorney right away, as there are time limits for filing such a claim.The legs of two people next to an open grave at a funeral for a wrongful death victim.

How Will a Tennessee Wrongful Death Attorney Help Me?

Ali Awad, the founder and managing attorney at the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm, understands the challenges of pursuing a wrongful death claim and the best strategies for these cases. Also called “the CEO Lawyer,” Mr. Awad built a client-focused firm based on the goal of helping those with limited access to legal resources.

The firm was later voted the fastest-growing law firm in the United States, coming out ahead of 499 others in 2021. The CEO Lawyer also finds time to dispense practical legal advice to more than a million followers on social media.

If you believe a loved one died due to the actions of a negligent party, you may be wondering where to turn or if anything can be done. You deserve to fully understand all your options in this situation so that you can make an informed decision.

Please call Ali Awad for a free, no-obligation consultation of your claim. The CEO Lawyer and his team work using a contingency basis – so they don’t get paid until they win your case. There is no risk in calling  (423) 777-8888 to learn your options so that you can make an informed decision about how to proceed.

Until then, we’ve put together some frequently asked questions about wrongful death claims in Tennessee:

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Under Tennessee state law, a wrongful death claim may be filed by:

  • The spouse of the decedent.
  • The decedent’s child or next of kin may file a claim if the decedent was not married.
  • In some situations, the decedent’s parent may file a claim.
  • If the above situations don’t work out, a representative for the deceased person’s estate may file a claim.

Any money recovered will be distributed based on Tennessee laws about intestate succession (inheritance laws for situations where the deceased did not have a will). A surviving spouse and children will receive the money first, with other relatives receiving compensation if the decedent had no spouse or children.

If there is a surviving spouse and no children, the spouse will receive all the recovery. If both a spouse and one or more children exist, the money will be divided among them, with the spouse receiving at least one-third of the recovery.

How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Tennessee, you have one year from the date of the deceased person’s death. In some cases, the court may make an exception if the cause of the person’s death was not discovered right away, but you shouldn’t count on that as an option.

If you have any cause for concern about the circumstances of a relative’s death, it’s best to speak with a legal expert right away. Don’t wait until the year is almost up.

Your attorney may need time to do research or look for additional evidence. The sooner you learn your options, the more time you will have to decide.

What Damages Can You Seek in a Wrongful Death Case?

In your claim, you may request compensation for the following:

  • Loss of income or financial support from the decedent. This involves figuring out how much income the deceased would likely have earned in the future if they lived.
  • Loss of companionship, emotional support, guidance, advice, and other aspects of a relationship.
  • Your own pain and suffering (mostly mental and emotional pain).
  • The decedent’s physical and mental pain and suffering prior to their death, if it was related to their cause of death. This is technically called a “survival claim,” but it can be filed at the same time as a wrongful death claim.
  • Medical bills left over from before the decedent passed if related to their cause of death.
  • Funeral or burial costs.

What Do You Need To Prove A Wrongful Death Claim?

As with other personal injury cases, it’s necessary to prove several things in a wrongful death claim:

  • The defendant (the person or entity you’re suing or whose insurance carrier you’re trying to collect from) had a duty of care. What that is can vary depending on the circumstances of the death. If the deceased person died in a car accident, your attorney might establish that the defendant had a duty to drive carefully in an effort to avoid collisions. If they died in an accident on a construction site, the argument might be that their employer had a duty to provide a safe workplace for all employees. If they died due to a defective product, the manufacturer had a duty to ensure their products didn’t harm consumers.
  • The defendant was negligent or failed in this duty. Either they did not drive safely by the standards of a reasonable person, they failed to keep the workplace safe for all workers, they created a dangerous product, etc.
  • This negligence led to the deceased person’s death. This is sometimes the most difficult aspect to prove. Your lawyer will need to make a strong argument linking the negligent actions with the circumstances that led to the deceased person’s death.

While negligence is the most common reason for wrongful death claims, there are two other possible grounds: medical malpractice and intentional acts. However, it is sometimes easier to prove someone was negligent than it is to prove they intentionally did something that led to a person’s death.

In these situations, we may recommend pursuing a claim for negligence instead.

What if I Think the Defendant Should Face Criminal Charges?

This is a common sentiment. Sometimes, clients feel that the negligent party was more than negligent – that their actions were deliberate and criminal.

Usually, they’ve already discussed these thoughts with the authorities and sometimes the district attorney. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to bring criminal charges against a person or entity whose actions resulted in a death.

This can happen for multiple reasons, but in most cases, it’s because there simply wasn’t enough evidence to charge someone with a crime. By the time a client comes to see us about a civil suit for wrongful death, they may be understandably frustrated by the situation.

In fact, one reason people consider wrongful death claims is because they want the negligent party to face some sort of consequence, even if it’s only a financial one. The good news is that you can still pursue a wrongful death claim even if there wasn’t enough evidence for a criminal proceeding or if the defendant was charged but found not guilty in criminal court.

The burden of proof in a civil court is much lower than that of a criminal court, where a defendant must be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In a wrongful death claim, the jury only needs to believe the defendant is “more likely guilty than not” based on a “preponderance of evidence.”

What Kind Of Evidence Is Needed To Prove My Claim?

It varies depending on the case and the nature of the victim’s death. For car accidents, we often look at accident reports, footage from traffic cameras or other sources (such as doorbell cameras or bystander video), witness interviews, etc.

In workplace deaths, we may also seek internal memos, emails, or other documents relating to the unsafe conditions, videos or photos taken by the decedent or other employees, any electronic records that may relate to the situation, witness interviews, records of previous accidents, and anything that may speak to the dangerous situation.

If you’re not sure if something is evidence or helpful to your case, ask your attorney about it.

A Tennessee Wrongful Death Law Firm That Cares

Ali Awad, The CEO Lawyer, is an experienced wrongful death attorney who will fight for your rights in this difficult situation. With more than twenty years of experience, The CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm’s attorneys have a lengthy and successful track record of over 99%.

If you have questions or concerns about your loved one’s death, contact the CEO Lawyer and his team at (423) 777-8888 for a no-obligation consultation.

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