Losing a loved one is never easy. But the situation can be even worse when someone else’s negligent or criminal conduct causes that death.
Sadly, this is not uncommon in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 224,935 people died from unintentional injuries in a recent year. Even in situations involving accidental death, there may be legal action you can take if it was due to negligence.
If you recently lost a loved one in Nashville, TN, you may be able to pursue justice and financial accountability through a wrongful death claim. However, the compassionate Nashville wrongful death lawyers at Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers know it can be difficult to think about taking legal action when you are grieving.
How Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help With a Wrongful Death Case in Nashville, TN
If you recently lost a loved one in a situation giving rise to a wrongful death claim, the legal team at Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers wants to help.
There are several ways our Nashville personal injury lawyers can assist, including:
- Investigating your case – Our team can investigate your case and identify all parties at fault for the accident.
- Proving negligence – We can gather evidence of the defendant’s negligence, such as medical records, accident reports, surveillance video, and photos of the accident scene. We’ll use this information to hold the defendant liable for the full extent of your damages.
- Negotiate a settlement – We can accurately estimate the value of your claim and take into account all losses. We can also review any settlement offers you receive and determine if they are adequate.
- Advocate for you – You can trust us to advocate for you and your family at every turn, patiently explain your rights, and explore your legal options.
Call us for a free consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney in Nashville, Tennessee.
How Is Wrongful Death Defined in Tennessee?
Tennessee law defines a wrongful death as a killing by another person due to:
- A wrongful act
- An omission
- A killing
Generally, if the victim would have had a cause of action in a personal injury case against the defendant, the surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
There are many different situations that can cause a wrongful death.
These are often accidents like:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slips and falls
- Defective product accidents
- Construction accidents
- Birth injuries resulting in death
- Medical malpractice
- Drowning accidents
A wrongful death claim can also involve intentional criminal behavior such as homicide or battery.
Potential Damages Awarded in Tennessee Wrongful Death Cases
Tennessee law allows you to seek various economic and non-economic damages caused by a wrongful death. Economic damages are those costs that can be quantified.
These are similar to the economic damages awarded in personal injury cases, such as the following:
- Medical bills the decedent incurred for the treatment they received immediately before their death (if any)
- The counseling needed to deal with your grief and changed circumstances
- Loss of income the decedent would have provided had the death not occurred
- Burial and funeral expenses due to your loved one’s death
Non-economic damages are losses you incur and are eligible to be compensated for, but that cannot be easily quantified.
These losses include:
- Emotional trauma caused by the death of your loved one
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
An experienced wrongful death lawyer in Nashville can evaluate your claim and determine the compensation that might be available.
What Is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Case and a Criminal Case?
The purpose of the two cases is much different. In a criminal case, the objective is to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct in the future. The defendant could be imprisoned, fined, or put on probation as a result of a conviction.
In a wrongful death case, the purpose is to provide financial compensation for surviving family members. The defendant could be ordered to pay the family a certain sum of money.
Additionally, the burden of proof is much different. Criminal cases have the highest burden of proof – beyond a reasonable doubt. In contrast, wrongful death cases must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, which is “more likely than not.” For this reason, it is easier to prove a wrongful death case than a criminal case. A criminal conviction is not necessary to win a wrongful death case.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Tennessee?
Tennessee provides specific rules for who can file a wrongful death claim and when. If the decedent was married at the time of their death, their spouse has the right to file a wrongful death suit. If the decedent was not married, their children or next of kin have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
A personal representative of the decedent’s estate also has a right to file a claim. Absent any of the above, the surviving parents of the decedent or the administrator of the estate have this right.
If the rightful beneficiary is a minor or legally incompetent, the court can order that all or a portion of the funds recovered in the wrongful death action be placed in trust for the beneficiary if that is in their best interest.
If you recently lost a loved one, an experienced Nashville personal injury attorney can review your case and explain if you have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
What Evidence Is Needed To Prove a Nashville Wrongful Death Case?
To recover compensation in a wrongful death case, you must be able to show that the defendant was negligent in causing your loved one’s death.
Depending on the circumstances, this evidence might include:
- Accident reports – There may be an official accident report or police report regarding the accident that may provide crucial details about how the accident occurred and how the defendant was responsible for it.
- Photos – Photos of the accident scene may show factors that contributed to the accident.
- Videos – Today, many things are caught on tape. Whether from surveillance footage, dash cams, traffic cameras, or personal cell phones, there may be valuable evidence in the form of videos.
- Medical records – Your loved one’s medical records can help establish the connection between the accident and their injuries.
- Witness statements – Others may have observed the accident or factors that contributed to it. They may be able to provide a statement to the insurance company or testify at trial.
- Personnel records – Employers can be financially responsible for the negligent actions of their employees. Personnel records may show that workers failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the accident and that the employer is responsible. Employers can also be held liable for their own negligence, such as negligent hiring, training, or supervision.
- Electronic records – There may be valuable evidence in the form of electronic records, such as electronic data recorder information, electronic trucker logs, or cell phone records.
An experienced Nashville wrongful death attorney knows the type of evidence that can help prove your claim and can get to work immediately to preserve and collect it.
What Does It Cost To Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Nashville, TN?
Nothing – until we win. This is because, at Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers, we work on a contingency fee basis. We don’t charge any fees for our services unless and until we recover compensation for your case.
What Is the Deadline To File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Tennessee?
Like with personal injury claims, Tennessee law gives you just one year to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This deadline starts on the day of the decedent’s death. If you do not file your case within this limited time frame, you can lose your chance to have your case heard by the court and to recover any compensation through the court system.
At Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand you are going through a difficult time, and we want you to be able to grieve. We can handle your claim for you so that you can focus on processing these difficult emotions.
Contact an Experienced Nashville Wrongful Death Lawyer For Legal Guidance and Representation
The compassionate lawyers at Labrum Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers know death is often not expected. Knowing that your loved one’s death was preventable can make it even more difficult to grasp.
Our Nashville wrongful death lawyers can guide you through the claim process, gently walking you through it and providing legal advice targeted to your particular situation. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you during this pivotal time. We offer a free consultation.