Learning that your family member has passed away in an accident or incident can be devastating. However, when you are struggling to deal with the loss of your loved one, discovering that their death was preventable could quickly turn your grief into rage.
When you are ready to demand justice, contact an aggressive Collierville personal injury lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC for help. Schedule your free consultation today to learn more about who could be liable for your relative’s passing.
When Is a Death Considered Wrongful?
According to Tenn. Code §20-5-106, a wrongful death claim can occur anytime someone else is responsible for causing the death of another. It does not matter whether the viable party intentionally killed or negligently caused the injuries of another party. If it wasn’t for the defendant’s actions, the deceased may still be alive.
Under Tennessee law, a wrongful death lawsuit is similar to a personal injury claim in that the decedent’s surviving family members or other parties may pursue a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the deceased.
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Common Types of Accidents and Events Causing Wrongful Deaths in Collierville
Wrongful death can occur in a multitude of ways. However, in Collierville, there are some types of incidents and events that are known for causing fatal injuries more often than others. Some of these accidents include:
- Medical malpractice
- Assault or sexual abuse
- Manslaughter or homicide
- On-the-job accidents
- Car accidents and truck accidents
- Bicycle and motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Dog attacks
No matter how your family member passed away, if another party is at fault for their injuries, you can demand justice by contacting a Collierville wrongful death attorney for help pursuing a civil or insurance claim.
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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Collierville?
According to Tennessee law, there are only specific family members who have the right to file a Collierville wrongful death claim. To start, the decedent’s surviving spouse will have the authority to file a lawsuit. However, if the decedent was not married at the time of their desk, the decedent’s adult children may have the right to file the claim.
Should know surviving children exist, the decedent’s next of kin will be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. If next of kin does not exist or cannot be identified, the decedent’s personal representative will have the authority to move forward with the Collierville wrongful death lawsuit.
In the event the decedent was a dependent at the time of their death, the deceased’s parents may be able to file a wrongful death claim. If you are unsure whether you have the opportunity or authority to file a wrongful death action, do not hesitate to contact your wrongful death attorney in Collierville to discuss your specific questions and concerns.
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Types of Damages Recoverable in Collierville Fatal Accident Claims
If your Collierville fatal accident lawsuit is successful, your family could recover a wide variety of damages. There are damages the decedent endured and losses your family suffered as a result of the wrongful death in question. Some of the various damages awarded in wrongful death claims include:
- The decedent’s out-of-pocket medical expenses and healthcare bills
- The cost of the decedent’s funeral and burial
- The surviving family members’ loss of the decedent’s financial contributions to the family
- The decedent’s emotional trauma and physical suffering
- The surviving family member’s loss of their loved one’s companionship, support, love, protection, care, guidance, society, and advice
In some instances, punitive damages may be available in Collierville wrongful death claims. However, this is a rare occurrence, as punitive damages are only awarded when the court needs to punish the defendant beyond the surviving family members’ compensable damages.
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Will the Defendant Face Criminal Charges?
In many wrongful death cases, the decedent’s family wonders whether the defendant will face criminal charges for their actions. It is important to keep in mind that civil wrongful death claims and criminal cases are two entirely different areas of the law. Some of the primary differences between wrongful death lawsuits and criminal charges include:
- In criminal cases, the prosecuting attorney files charges
- In civil cases, the wrongful death lawsuit is brought forward by representatives of the decedent
- In criminal cases, the prosecuting attorney seeks criminal penalties such as fines, incarceration, probation, registration as a sex offender, and other penalties
- In civil cases, the surviving family members are seeking compensation from the liable party
- In criminal cases, the prosecutor can only obtain a guilty verdict if they prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt
- In civil cases, your attorney will need to prove liability based on a preponderance of the evidence for your wrongful death lawsuit to be successful
Whether the decedent is facing criminal charges or criminal charges do not apply, your family may still have the opportunity to move forward with your wrongful death lawsuit. Although a conviction in criminal court could provide valuable evidence to support your case, technically, any criminal case will have no bearing on the outcome or your ability to move forward with your wrongful death lawsuit in Collierville.
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How Long Do You Have to Pursue Your Case?
Tennessee law, under Tenn. Code §28-3-104 states that fatal accident and wrongful death claims must be filed before the one-year statute of limitations expires.
The statute of limitations will begin from the date of the decedent’s death. This deadline is critical. If your lawsuit is not filed before time runs out, your family will no longer have the chance to demand justice in Collierville civil courts.
Reach Out to a Collierville Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Whether intentional or negligence-based, if another party is to blame for your family member’s passing, they should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Do not hesitate to contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Collierville for help with your case today. You can reach us by phone or through our quick contact form when you are ready to schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation.