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Tennessee General Law Blog

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What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?

Losing someone you love is devastating, but it can be even more tragic when your loved one dies due to someone else’s negligence. This is a death that could have been prevented. Tennessee law allows the family of the deceased to bring what is known as a wrongful death claim in order to pursue damages.

It is not uncommon for family members to have internal struggles about litigation during a time like this. How will people perceive them for filing a lawsuit? It is important to know that these claims are common, and it is perfectly normal to speak with a Manchester wrongful death attorney to understand what your legal options are. At Burch, Morrison, & Stewart, we understand what a difficult time this is for your family.

Examples of Wrongful Death Cases in Tennessee

Wrongful death is essentially the death of someone due to the negligent or intentional acts of someone else. To hold someone accountable for a wrongful death, you have to prove several elements — the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased, the defendant breached the duty due to their actions or inaction, and the breach of duty is the direct cause of the deceased’s injuries and death.

Some of the more common wrongful death cases include:

Who can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Tennessee?

Just because you lost someone special, it does not mean you automatically have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on this person’s behalf. Imagine you are the spouse of someone who died, and you cannot file a lawsuit to recover funeral and burial expenses because some distant cousin already did. This is one of the reasons why there are laws in place to help protect the rights of immediate family.

The deceased’s surviving spouse is the one who has the first right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. There are several scenarios in which the spouse loses that right, however. The most obvious one is if the spouse is the one who intentionally killed the decedent. The other situation is if the spouse had withdrawn within the last two years or abandoned the decedent.

If there is no spouse, other people who can file a claim (in the proper order) are:

There may be other select situations that can alter who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim, but these are situations in which your Tennessee wrongful death attorney will advise you. They are usually only applicable when there is some type of bad faith or fraud involved.

Contact a Tennessee Wrongful Death Attorney

You only have one year to bring a wrongful death claim in Tennessee, so it is important that you reach out to a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.Contact Burch, Morrison, & Stewart today at (931) 954-1066 to schedule an initial consultation.

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