When a loved one passes away, there are often a variety of legal repercussions. The family may have to deal with distributing property, probating a will and closing all types of accounts. In tragic situations where a relative is killed due to negligence, the family can also seek compensation and justice through a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death claim is the law’s way of allowing a family to recover for the loss of their relative. Historically, a family could only recover the damages that the deceased person would have been entitled to had they survived the injury. This meant that pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages incurred due to injury before the deceased person passed away could be recovered from the person or company responsible for the accident.
Today, the law also usually allows the family to recover for their own mental suffering as well as the losses they experience by not having their family member in their life. Funeral costs and other damages are also awarded in most cases.
While a variety of family members can recover damages in a Tennessee wrongful death case, the family must determine who the proper person to file the case is. Only one wrongful death claim can be filed for any deceased person.
The proper party to bring the claim is the deceased person’s surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, or the spouse does not bring the claim, the deceased person’s surviving children or next of kin can bring the claim.
If these people do not exist or do not wish to bring a claim, the right passes to the personal representative of the estate. This person is appointed by a court. The right then passes to the deceased person’s surviving parents, but only if the deceased person was dependent on his or her parents due to age or disability. If the deceased person was a dependent but did not have surviving parents, the administrator of the deceased person’s estate could bring the claim.
Determining the proper party to bring a Tennessee wrongful death claim is best accomplished with the help of a Bristol personal injury attorney. Your attorney will be able to advise you about the applicable time limits, rules and possible economic recoveries.
The Bristol wrongful death attorneys at the firm of Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. help grieving families get justice and compensation for their loss and their suffering. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 423-797-6022.