Losing loved ones is never easy, but knowing their death was unnecessary makes it even harder. Tennessee law allows family members to hold the at-fault party liable by filing a wrongful death claim for compensation.
If you lost a close family member due to another driver’s negligent behavior and are curious about your legal rights under Tennessee law, a Knoxville, TN wrongful death lawyer at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC can help. We know how difficult this time can be. Give us a call today to see how we can get justice for your loved one: 865-546-1111.
What does Tennessee law say about wrongful death in Knoxville?
Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-5-113 defines wrongful death as any time a death occurs due to the “wrongful act, fault, or omission of another.”
Tennessee law also outlines the rules and sets limits for how long you have to file a wrongful death claim in Tennessee. Like other claims stemming from a Knoxville personal injury, you have only one year from the date of the injury to claim compensation. There are also some circumstances, such as when the responsible party is a government agency, when you have even less time to decide you want to make a claim.
To ensure you file within the time limits, we encourage you to give us a call and schedule your initial consultation as soon as possible. During this consultation, we can analyze your case and determine how soon we need to act to protect your legal right to compensation.
Who can file a wrongful death claim after a Knoxville accident?
Tennessee limits who may file a claim after a wrongful death in Knoxville. If you do not fit into any of these categories, we can advise you how to proceed.
In general, you can file a wrongful death claim in Tennessee if you are:
- The spouse of the deceased
- Adult children of an unmarried person
- Parents of an unmarried person with no children
- Next of kin
- The executor of the will
- An administrator named to oversee an estate
If your loved one had a personal injury claim pending at the time of death, that claim will continue after death and benefit the estate, if successful.
What do we need to prove to win a Knoxville wrongful death case?
There are three parts to a wrongful death claim:
- The other party acted negligently;
- The death occurred because of the action of the other party; and
- The surviving loved ones suffered, financially, or emotionally
Unless all three of these parts are in place, you will not win compensation for your losses through a wrongful death claim. We must collect evidence to prove each of these parts and demonstrate the range of losses you suffered. We have the skills and resources to build as strong a case as possible in your favor and give you the best chance to recover your maximum payout.
What types of damages are available in a Knoxville wrongful death claim?
Tennessee law allows you to recover several types of damages in a wrongful death case. Perhaps the first to come to mind are medical bills and funeral expenses. Without insurance or compensation to cover these costs, a family can quickly find themselves in financial trouble. You can collect compensation to cover these and other related economic losses.
You can also collect for noneconomic losses, including compensation for the pain and suffering your family member suffered between the injury and death. For families whose loved one fought to survive for several weeks or even months, this total can easily eclipse their economic losses.
Finally, there are pecuniary losses. Sometimes called the “pecuniary value of life,” this may include damages such as:
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Loss of consortium for the surviving spouse
- Loss of love, affection, society, guidance, and other losses for surviving children
- Loss of love, society, and affection for surviving parents
As we gather all the evidence to support your case, we will get a better picture of the full value of your claim. Based on this, we can estimate a value of your case and give you a better idea of how much you may receive in a settlement or awarded in court. Then, we can use this estimate to request a payout from the liable party’s insurance company or file a wrongful death lawsuit against them.
Note: In some cases, adult children will not be able to recover compensation for loss of consortium. If you are seeking damages for the wrongful death of a parent, we will work to establish the strength of your bond and your entitlement to these damages.
What is my next step in filing a Knoxville wrongful death claim?
If your loved one died a wrongful death in Knox County, you need to contact a Knoxville, TN wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. The statute of limitations on these cases is short, and we need to collect as much evidence as possible to support your claim.
We know nothing could ever replace your lost loved one, but we would love to help you seek justice for your loved one in any way we can. Call 865-546-1111 today to schedule your free case review with a Knoxville wrongful death lawyer at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC.