Tennessee Wrongful Death Lawyer

When one person’s actions – intentional or unintentional – cause another person’s death, the decedent’s survivors may be entitled to compensation.

Tennessee law permits families to seek compensation for funeral expenses and associated expenses, lost wages that the decedent would have earned in his or her lifetime, mental anguish and loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life. In cases where the behavior that caused someone’s death was egregious, malicious, or criminal, the court may also allow families to pursue punitive damages against the defendant.

When a loved one dies, families need time to recover. They may feel they’re emotionally unprepared to pursue legal action against another party or to appear in court. But an experienced Tennessee wrongful death attorney knows how to effectively pursue wrongful death cases – both outside and inside the courtroom, in order to alleviate a family’s stress and worry.

If your loved one died because of another party’s actions, we may be able to help you. We’ve pursued justice for many Tennessee Valley families, working tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome for their case. To schedule a no-obligation consultation with a wrongful death attorney, call us today at (931) 962-1044.

Requirements For Filing A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Civil lawsuits must have a legally-backed reason for the claim, called grounds. The grounds behind a wrongful death suit can include that the deceased party not only lost their life due to a deliberate act or someone else’s negligence but also that the family members were directly affected — financially and emotionally — by the death.

The surviving family members should successfully prove two things in such a claim, including:

  •  Their loved one’s death was actually a result of recklessness, negligence, or intentional act, and that the deceased person’s action or inaction did not cause their death.
  •  The individual’s wrongful death resulted in measurable damages that directly affect family members.

A wrongful death suit’s common grounds may include death resulting from medical malpractice, a work-related accident, car accident, slip and fall, unlawful criminal activity, and many other factors.

 Types Of Damages Can the Beneficiaries Receive

Beneficiaries in a wrongful death claim may include the spouse, parents, child, and in some cases, the grandchildren, grandparents, brothers, and sisters. These beneficiaries can receive several damages after they successfully prove that a wrongful act caused their loved one’s death, which can include:

  • Burial expenses and any medical bills.
  • Compensatory damages for the pain and suffering born by the beneficiaries because of their loved one’s absence.
  • Compensatory damages for the lost wages their loved one could have earned if they lived until their standard life expectancy.
  • Punitive damages, which are intended to punish the individual who caused the wrongful death and discourage such behavior in the future. Tennessee is among the states that allow for punitive damages.

Wrongful Death At a TN Workplace

People who work in construction and manufacturing occupations have a high risk of injury on the job. Employers are legally required to provide protective equipment for workers and to ensure machines, premises, and processes are as safe as they can be. But when they’re not serious about safety, tragedy can occur.

In 2015, several on-the-job accidents fatally injured Tennessee workers. Some workers fell to their death – despite the fact that employers are required to provide harnesses and other devices that protect workers from falls. Other deaths were caused by entrapment in machinery, accidents with vehicles such as forklifts and loaders, and electrocution.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigates fatal workplace accidents, and, often, OSHA cites safety law violations as a factor in someone’s death. It’s not uncommon to find a company has been fined on multiple occasions for safety violations in the months or years before a worker’s death.

Corporate defense lawyers may try to make a settlement offer to a deceased worker’s family in order to avoid litigation, but those offers may be inadequate. Families may accept such an offer, not knowing they could potentially receive better compensation with the help of an attorney.

If your loved one was killed in a workplace accident, don’t agree to any offers from the employer or the insurance company’s lawyers.

Call us, so we can ensure any settlement received is appropriate and fair: 1-844-684-5313.

Recreational Accidents

In 2005, a jury found a Tennessee amusement park manager guilty of reckless homicide in the death of a woman who fell from a ride because her safety harness wasn’t engaged. Prosecutors had alleged the park manager had tampered with the ride’s safety system, which, if functioning normally, would allow the ride to launch only if all safety harnesses were engaged.

While amusement park deaths are statistically rare, deaths that occur during other recreational activities are not.

In Tennessee, statistics show:

  • 104 people died in all-terrain vehicle accidents between 2010 and 2013.
  • 96 people died in recreational boating accidents between 2010 and 2014.
  • 17 bicyclists died in collisions with motor vehicles between 2010 and 2012.

There could be a number of reasons behind fatal recreational vehicle accidents – improper use, excessive speed, excessive load, or mechanical failure. However, in many fatal accidents involving any type of vehicle, alcohol consumption is a contributing factor.

Intoxication and Deadly Accidents

Consumption of alcohol can reduce reaction time and impair judgment, motor skills, balance, and coordination. Someone who is legally intoxicated is, therefore, ill-equipped to operate heavy machinery or motorized vehicles.

In Tennessee, a driver who has a blood alcohol content greater than .08 percent who causes a fatal crash can be charged with vehicular homicide, a Class B felony. The family of a person killed in such a crash may bring a wrongful death claim against the other driver and may have the option of pursuing punitive damages.

Laws regarding the operation of other types of vehicles while under the influence of alcohol may not be as strict as those that apply to roadway motorists. For example, in Tennessee, boating under the influence of alcohol can result in a jail sentence of 11 months and 29 days, a fine of $2,500 for the first two offenses, and a fine of $5,000 for a third offense. Regardless of the lesser criminal penalties, families can still pursue wrongful death claims against an intoxicated boater who caused their loved one’s death.

Providing Relief and Legal Help

When a loved one dies, it causes huge emotional distress to family members, not forgetting financial constraints. The law offers a way for victims to ease this financial burden if another party is legally accountable for causing the death. It is vital to understand the different types of damages you can receive if your wrongful death claim is successful.

In Tennessee, most wrongful death claims for damages should be filed within a year following the date of death. Contact an experienced Tennessee Personal Injury Lawyer to help you file your claim. Contact the Law Offices of John R. Colvin at 931-962-1044 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal rights.

Licensed to Practice in Tennessee & Alabama