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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

How to File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in TN

When a person suffers injuries due to another's negligence, they can file a personal injury claim to seek damages and hold the liable party accountable. If they die, the Tennessee wrongful death laws provide legal recourse. While pursuing a lawsuit won't replace the void left behind by a family member's passing, it can help cover medical bills, lost income, and other losses. 

At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, we understand the emotional distress family members go through after losing their loved ones. With extensive experience, skills, and knowledge, our team remains committed to advocating for the surviving family members' rights and protecting their best interests. 

Those who have lost their loved ones in Nashville, Tennessee, due to another's negligence should call our reputable wrongful death attorneys today for a free consultation to discuss their case and learn more about their legal options. They can also provide details on how to file a lawsuit for a dog bite in TN.

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims and Lawsuits

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims and Lawsuits

Under section 20-5-106 of the Tennessee Annotated Code, wrongful death refers to the demise of an individual caused by another's negligence (action/inaction). It could happen due to a car accident, slip and fall incident, medical malpractice, or even defective products. 

In such situations, the law allows certain surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit on behalf of the decedent to recover the compensatory damages and hold the negligent party accountable. However, eligible claimants need to understand that there is a difference between the two.

A wrongful death claim refers to a formal written complaint sent to the at-fault party and their insurance company requesting payment following an accident. 

After receiving it, the insurer assigns a claims adjuster to the case. They can either negotiate a settlement or deny the legal demands for compensation, transferring the blame to the decedent.

On the other hand, a wrongful death lawsuit is a form of civil litigation pursued by eligible plaintiffs in court. During this legal process, both parties have the opportunity to settle the case or proceed to trial. 

Whether it's a surviving spouse or children, it's crucial for the affected parties to reach out to an experienced attorney to determine whether a wrongful death lawsuit is the best option for them. 

Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit or Claim in Tennessee?

The individual who can bring civil action on behalf of the deceased varies from one state to another. Under the personal injury law surrounding wrongful deaths, certain family members in Tennessee have the right to financial recovery, and these include the following: 

  • The deceased person's spouse

  • Surviving children if the decedent's spouse has passed away

  • Surviving next of kin if the decedent does not have a spouse or children

  • The deceased's personal representative of the estate

  • Surviving parents if the decedent was financially dependent on them prior to their death

How Long Do Surviving Family Members Have to File a Tennessee Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit?

Whether it's wrongful death claims or lawsuits, the eligible family members must adhere to the strict deadlines mentioned under the statute of limitations. These can vary from one state to another.  For more information, wrongful death attorneys in Nashville may be able to help.

Under the law, the affected parties have one year from the date of the decedent's death to file a wrongful death lawsuit or claim. Failure to do so can bar them from seeking financial compensation. 

What Are the Types of Damages Available in a Tennessee Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Tennessee's wrongful death laws allow the surviving spouse or any other eligible family member to pursue different types of damages through the following claims:

Standard Wrongful Death Claim

This refers to the typical wrongful death claim brought by the decedent's surviving spouse, eligible family members, or the personal representative of their estate. 

The main goal behind this type of legal action is to compensate the grieving individuals for the financial and emotional support they've lost due to another's negligence. 

Surviving family members can recover the following types of damages when pursuing wrongful death claims or lawsuits: 

  • Burial costs and funeral expenses

  • Outstanding medical bills after the decedent's death

  • The deceased's lost wages and other types of financial benefits they would've accrued if they were alive

  • Loss of emotional support and care 

Survival Claims

Besides pursuing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, the surviving spouse or eligible family members can also file a survival action (also referred to as a survival claim). This compensates the deceased person's estate for the losses incurred by the decedent while they were alive prior to their death. 

Survival claims are common in Tennessee wrongful death cases involving victims who have suffered an illness or injury prior to their death. It compensates the decedent's personal estate for the medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages incurred by the decedent before their demise. 

How to File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in TN in Three Simple Steps

How to File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in TN in Three Simple Steps

Here are the steps that eligible surviving family members must follow if they wish to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit in Tennessee: 

Step #1: Talk to an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

Whether it's a surviving spouse or the representative of the deceased person's estate, the laws and guidelines pertaining to a Tennessee wrongful death case can be challenging to interpret. 

It's essential to seek legal help from an experienced personal injury attorney to help navigate the perils of pursuing civil action and hold the responsible parties accountable for the losses incurred. They're also able to help with how to file a lawsuit for workers compensation in TN.

Step #2: Investigate the Wrongful Death Claim and Gather Evidence

The second step to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit involves investigating the facts surrounding the case. How did the decedent get hurt? Did they suffer prior to their death? Was there a breach of duty by the defendant? 

Under Tennessee law, the plaintiff and their attorney must establish liability and prove damages if they wish to seek monetary compensation. This involves interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, retrieving CCTV footage, and more. 

Step #3: File a Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit

After the Tennessee wrongful death attorney investigates the case and gathers enough evidence to build a strong claim, they will file it with the at-fault party and their insurer. In case of lawsuits, lawyers must determine the court with jurisdiction before initiating the legal process. 

Often, the at-fault party and their insurance company will deny the wrongful act or coerce the surviving family members into accepting a lower settlement offer. If that happens, the plaintiff's attorney may advise taking matters to court. 

File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Successfully with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys!

At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, we are ready to support grieving family members and go to war to protect their best interests.  

Whether it's a wrongful death lawsuit or survival action, those looking to pursue legal action in Nashville, Tennessee, for the death of their loved ones should call to schedule a free case review with our skilled legal team. 


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