If you lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of another party, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. Tennessee has a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim. The time limit for filing a claim is one year from the date of your loved one’s death. This does not leave you much time to take action and bring forth a claim to recover damages. This is why it is essential to contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to stay within the time limits of bringing forth a claim and to ensure that your claim is filed correctly. An experienced Tennessee wrongful death attorney can explain the timeline for filing a claim, so you better understand the legal process and your rights.
Timeline of a Wrongful Death Case
Since there is not much time to file a wrongful death claim in Tennessee, you will want to ensure you understand the timeline for a wrongful death case. The first step in a wrongful death case is ensuring you have the legal right to file a claim. In Tennessee, the surviving spouse has the right to file a claim, and then the next of kin, the surviving children, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, or the surviving parents. Once it is determined that you have the right to file a claim, you can proceed with the process of a wrongful death case.
Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney
If you want to pursue a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a loved one, you need an experienced attorney on your side. A wrongful death attorney can determine if you have the right to file a claim and can help with your case by doing the following:
- Handle all legal aspects of the case so you can grieve the loss of your loved one without the added stress of the lawsuit
- File paperwork and adhere to deadlines as required by the state
- Protect your interests and rights in the case
- Determine the value of the case and fight to get you a fair settlement
Possible damages in Tennessee wrongful death case include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship and guidance
A wrongful death claim is filed against the party who caused the injury that resulted in your loved one’s death. A wrongful death can happen due to various causes, such as automobile accidents, workplace accidents, slip and fall accidents, nursing home negligence, defective product, or a criminal act.
Determining fault requires proving that your loved one’s death could have been prevented if the responsible party took the necessary action to do so. Fault can be placed on an individual, company, organization, employer, hospital, or government agency.
Filing the Complaint
When you hire a wrongful death attorney, they will handle the complexity of filing a formal complaint. This is the start of a lawsuit. The complaint will name all parties involved in the case and the legal grounds for the lawsuit. Once the complaint is filed, the liable party typically has 30 days to respond to the allegations.
A wrongful death case requires evidence to use to support the claim. An attorney will gather the necessary evidence for the claim, such as:
- Eye witness testimony of the accident
- Expert witness testimony from expert witnesses
- Interrogatories and depositions
- Photo or videos of the accident
- Medical records
- Death certificate of your loved one
Negotiations and Final Settlement
The insurance company will often want to settle your claim for less than it is worth. A wrongful death attorney will handle all negotiations. This may take several months to reach an agreement. If you cannot come to an agreement with the insurance company, the case may go to court. An attorney will represent you in court and ensure you get the settlement you deserve. It can take several days for a case to settle and a final determination to be made.
Contact a Tennessee Wrongful Death Attorney
If you lost a loved one to a wrongful death in Tennessee, we may be able to help. To schedule a no-obligation consultation with GriffithLaw, contact us online or call us at 615-807-7900. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you are not required to pay any upfront costs in order to pursue a claim. We charge no fee if there is no recovery.