Wrongful Death Lawyers Helping Families in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia

Winning compensation for fatal Bristol accidents

The loss of a family member often leads to unimaginable grief. Other emotions, such as anger and confusion, can arise when the death was caused by negligence or other wrongdoing. At Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C., our wrongful death attorneys help you find answers and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. Our Bristol, Tennessee personal injury firm has proudly served the Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia region since 1909, and our current team of lawyers possesses more than 70 years of combined legal experience.

What Is a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit allows family members to seek monetary damages when a person dies due to the negligence or other misconduct of another person or entity.

Wrongful death can happen as a result of:

  • Automobile, truck and motorcycle accidents
  • Taxi and ride-share accidents
  • Bicycles and pedestrian accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Products liability accidents
  • Construction accidents

A wrongful death lawsuit is intended to provide compensation to relatives who relied on the victim for financial or emotional support. An experienced personal injury lawyer can explain your rights and prepare a strong wrongful death case.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Tennessee?

Only certain people may bring a wrongful death claim. The victim’s surviving spouse, children and parents are generally first in line. If more than one family member files suit, Tennessee courts will combine the actions into a single wrongful death case on behalf of all potential beneficiaries. If the deceased had a will, the executor may be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the heirs at law. If there is no will, the estate administrator may do the same.

What actions should you take following your loved one's wrongful death in Bristol, TN?

Despite the emotional turmoil you feel after the sudden death of a loved one, you must take prompt and decisive steps if you wish to hold the responsible parties accountable. Consult a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Avoid making any public comments, including social media posts, about the accident. Do not, under any circumstances, discuss a settlement with an insurance company or sign any document the company presents to you. 

Who is liable for a wrongful death in Tennessee?

Recovering compensation for wrongful death requires establishing liability, or legal responsibility. This means that some person or entity, by act or omission, directly caused the death. Depending on the type of injury event, the liable party could be:

  • A commercial trucking company that employed a negligent driver or used unsafe equipment
  • A negligent or reckless motor vehicle driver who made an unsafe maneuver, causing a collision
  • A careless store or restaurant which caused an accident on its premises

One of the important duties of a wrongful death attorney is to investigate the events leading up to the death in order to determine who might be held liable.

What compensation can I get in a wrongful death lawsuit?

Wrongful death claims can recover much-needed funds, which provide stability for families in the wake of a tragic death. Potential damages include:

  • Economic damages — Surviving family members can recover medical costs related to the victim’s injuries, funeral expenses and loss of the deceased’s expected future earnings and benefits.
  • Non-economic damages — Also known as general damages, these include mental anguish, pain and suffering and loss of society, companionship, relationship, comfort, protection, marital care, parental care, attention, advice, counsel, training, guidance or education.
  • Punitive damages — These damages may be available when death is caused by reckless or intentional misconduct. They are intended to punish the responsible party and deter others from committing similar acts.

At Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C., we understand the complexity of a wrongful death lawsuit. Proving liability and calculating damages can be extremely complicated. These cases generally require the testimony of several expert witnesses. To ensure that you and your family are fairly compensated, you should consult with an experienced and knowledgeable wrongful death attorney.

How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Tennessee?

Tennessee law establishes a strict deadline (called a statute of limitations) for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In most cases, family members have one year from the date of the accident causing death to initiate a claim. Therefore, it is imperative to contact a reputable personal injury law firm as soon as possible.

Contact a Tri-Cities wrongful death lawyer for compassionate legal advice

Wrongful death claims can put stress on family members when they are least equipped to deal with it. The attorneys of Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. in Bristol, Tennessee are sensitive to your needs and will work tirelessly to ease the burden on you and your family. For a free initial consultation, call us today at 423-797-6022 or contact us online.