Did you lose a loved one or family member due to someone else’s negligence? Was another party’s misconduct or other wrongful act the cause of your family member’s death? You can take action to hold the culpable party accountable for their recklessness when you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in West Memphis.
If we agree to take on your case, you can focus on mourning your loss while we work tirelessly to hold the at-fault party accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Contact us for a free consultation today and learn more about what you can expect next from the wrongful death claims process in West Memphis.
What Is a Wrongful Death Action?
Under Tenn. Code §20-5-106, a wrongful death action can be filed when a decedent passes away due to the intentional, negligent, or wrongful act of another.
Generally, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed in any situation where the decedent would have had the authority to file a personal injury lawsuit if they had not succumbed to their injuries.
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How Are Wrongful Death Lawsuits Different from Criminal Cases?
Many people are quick to assume that wrongful death cases are similar to criminal cases. However, this is not true. There are many differences between criminal cases and wrongful death lawsuits.
Some of the most notable differences include:
- The burden of proof in a criminal case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas wrongful death claims rely on liability being proven based on a preponderance of the evidence
- The defendant in a criminal case will be facing criminal penalties include jail time, prison time, fines, probation, community service, and other consequences as opposed to the compensation they will be ordered to pay the decedent’s surviving family members in a wrongful death action
It should be noted that a defendant can face criminal charges and be the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit based on the specific details of your case. Generally, surviving families will wait for a criminal case to be prosecuted before moving forward with a wrongful death lawsuit, as the evidence obtained in a criminal case could prove valuable in your wrongful death case.
However, if the defendant does not face criminal charges, that will not have an impact on your ability to move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit.
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Common Events that Warrant a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death claims in Tennessee are considered a type of personal injury case. This means someone else must be responsible for the decedent’s passing for a wrongful death claim to be appropriate. Some examples of accidents, incidents, and events that might warrant a wrongful death lawsuit include:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Any type of motor vehicle accident that results in a fatal injury could be grounds for a wrongful death claim. This might include collisions involving commercial trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, buses, taxis, cars, motorcycles, bicyclists, boats, and other motor vehicles.
When a product of any kind is defective or malfunctions when used as intended, anyone involved in the distribution of this item could be partially at fault for your loved one’s death.
Work injuries can occur in nearly any type of work environment. Some of the more common types of accidents that are known for fatal injuries include construction accidents, factory accidents, repetitive stress injuries, exposure to toxic substances, and more.
When the defendant intentionally causes physical bodily injury to the defendant, they can face both criminal charges and be the subject of a civil lawsuit brought forward by the decedent’s surviving family.
Premises liability cases occur on other individuals’ property. Some examples of accidents that can cause fatalities include slip and fall accidents, swimming pool accidents, trampoline accidents, hotel accidents, parking lot accidents, dog bites, and more.
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Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in West Memphis
Under Tenn. Code §28-3-104, the statute of limitations for West Memphis wrongful death claims is one year. If your claim is not filed within one year of the decedent’s death, you will lose your opportunity to pursue your wrongful death action.
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Filing a West Memphis Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you are hoping to move forward with your wrongful death lawsuit in West Memphis, you must first find out whether you have the right to do so. Under Tennessee law, only specific parties have the right to file a wrongful death action. This begins with the decedent’s surviving spouse.
However, if the decedent did not have a surviving spouse, the following parties may have the opportunity to pursue the wrongful death claim in this order:
- The decedent’s surviving children
- The decedent’s surviving next of kin
- The decedent’s executor of the estate
- The decedent’s surviving parents if the decedent was a dependent at the time of their death
It should be noted that in the event a personal representative of the decedent’s estate pursues the wrongful death claim, any damages that may be awarded will be provided to the decedent’s surviving family members as opposed to the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
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Recoverable Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury lawsuits. This means your family could recover compensation for all of the ways your life and the decedent’s life were affected by the defendant’s wrongful acts.
Some examples of damages you could be awarded in your west of Memphis wrongful death claim include:
- The loss of the decedent’s time, love, guidance, companionship, support, protection, and advice
- The decedent’s burial and funeral expenses
- The decedent’s medical expenses and equipment fees
- Survivors loss of the decedent’s wages and benefits, including an inheritance
- The decedent’s physical and emotional trauma prior to their passing
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in West Memphis
Wrongful death claims in West Memphis are known for being particularly complex. If you hope to hold the culpable party accountable and recover maximum compensation for your damages, it is imperative that you have an experienced West Memphis wrongful death lawyer on your side.
Call a West Memphis wrongful death attorney at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC for a no-cost, risk-free consultation. Our firm proudly offers complimentary case reviews to families dealing with wrongful deaths across West Memphis and the state of Tennessee. Claim yours by calling our office or filling out our quick contact form today.