If someone you love has died unexpectedly, you may be considering a wrongful death claim to hold a negligent party responsible for your loss. While these types of claims can be invaluable in providing compensation for the lost income and comfort of a loved one, Tennessee law has rules about who may bring a claim.
Relatives Who Are Legally Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Tennessee
Under state law, the right to file an injury lawsuit survives a victim if he or she dies before bringing a claim. However, Tennessee law not only establishes which parties have the right to bring the claim, but it also dictates who will receive the damages in a wrongful death case.
Tennessee allows the following individuals to file a wrongful death claim, in descending order:
- The surviving spouse. The right to file a wrongful death claim will always begin with the person who was legally married to the deceased at the time of the accident. If there is no surviving spouse, the claim passes to the deceased’s children.
- The surviving children. If the deceased does not have children or a spouse, the right to sue passes to the deceased’s siblings.
- A surviving sibling. A deceased person’s sister, brother, or other eligible next of kin now has the right to file the suit. If there are none, the claim passes to the person in charge of the deceased's estate.
- The personal representative of the estate. This is the person who has been named as the personal representative of the estate in the deceased’s will. If there is no will or a personal representative has not been established, the claim passes to the deceased person’s parents.
- A surviving parent. A parent (or parents) may bring a claim if the deceased person was dependent on his or her parent(s) at the time of death.
If someone you love has been killed due to another person’s negligence, our wrongful death attorneys advise you on your next steps—and we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page to set up your free initial consultation, or download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.