- posted: Nov. 30, 2022
- Auto Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are an unfortunate reality on the nation’s highways and often lead to serious injuries or even fatalities. If you've lost a relative in a traffic accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim for money damages.
In almost half of fatal traffic accidents in 2020, the driver was engaged in speeding, alcohol-impaired driving and/or failure to wear a seatbelt, according to these statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- Speeding was a contributing factor in 11,258 fatal crashes, one third of the total fatal crashes in 2020.
- Drunk driving was a factor in accidents that killed 11,654 people, amounting to about 30 percent of total fatal crashes.
- There were 10,674 unbelted passengers killed in traffic accidents.
The sudden loss of a loved one is always tragic, and especially so if the death resulted from someone else's negligence. Recovering compensation from the negligent driver provides a measure of justice. However, it’s important to understand who has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and what damages they could be entitled to.
In Tennessee, a wrongful death claim can be filed by the decedent’s personal representative (such as an estate executor or administrator) or by certain family members. These include the decedent's surviving spouse, children, and next of kin, including parents. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to provide compensation for the financial and emotional support family members have lost on account of their loved one’s death.
In a wrongful death case, you may be able to recover damages for both economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses are quantifiable costs like medical bills, lost wages and funeral and burial expenses. Non-economic losses may include physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional suffering and loss of spousal and parental consortium. In some cases, you may also be able to recover punitive damages, which are designed to punish a defendant for reckless, malicious or intentional conduct.
In Tennessee, you generally (with a few exceptions) have one year from the date of the accident causing your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This may seem like a long time, but there are several steps to be taken prior to filing the action, such as gathering evidence, speaking with witnesses and consulting with medical experts. All of this requires hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney.
While money won’t bring back your loved one, it will help relieve the financial problems you may face as a result of such death. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at 423-797-6022 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation today.