Recently, a 53-year-old man from Del Rio was killed on in a Tennessee car accident on East Highway 25/70. A trooper reported that she and other first responders had been sent to the intersection of the highway and another road shortly before 6:30 p.m. due to the 2-vehicle accident. When the trooper arrived, she learned that the man was traveling east when he tried to pass a 2013 Honda CRV that was being operated by a 59-year-old man and his 63-year-old wife, who was 63. Their vehicle was stopped in the roadway.
When the accident happened, the decedent’s front tire hit the couple’s CRV from behind causing both vehicles to move to the left of the road and roll over. The decedent hit a utility pole and came to a stop. The decedent wasn’t wearing his seat belt.
If your loved one was killed in a car accident, you may be able to recover damages by bringing a wrongful death claim. Under Tennessee Code section 20-5-106, a wrongful death is a death caused by the injuries suffered from another or by another’s killing, omission or wrongful act. Wrongful death claims are basically personal injury claims, in which the injured person has passed on and so a family member or personal representative of the decedent’s estate has the right to bring the claim.
A wrongful death claim can be filed in court in Tennessee even if a homicide charge has already been filed or is going to be filed in connection with the death. The standards of proof are different in the criminal and civil case. While criminal cases must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard is lower for the wrongful death claim. This means that you could win in your wrongful death claim even if the prosecutor lost the criminal case.
First in line to file a wrongful death lawsuit is the surviving spouse of the decedent. When there isn’t a surviving spouse to file suit, the next in line to sue are surviving kids, personal representative of the decedent’s estate, surviving parents, and the administrator of the decedent’s estate where the decedent was a dependent when he or she died.
In addition to establishing that you had the appropriate relationship to sue for wrongful death, you may need to show that the other driver involved in the accident was negligent. This means you’d need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) the other driver owed a duty of care, (2) the other driver breached a duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) actual damages.
Damages that may be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit include loss of earning capacity between the time the injury was caused and the death occurred, reasonable funeral and burial costs, loss of enjoyment during that time period, mental anguish suffered, lost wages, physical and mental suffering, necessary expenses, and lost love, society and companionship.
You have one year from the decedent’s death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. If you don’t file within this time period, your claim will be barred and it won’t be possible to recover compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. This limit can be affected by other factors, however, making it important to consult an attorney.
After a car accident that results in death, experienced Tennessee auto accident attorney Eric Beasley may be able to aggressively pursue damages in a wrongful death lawsuit For more information or to discuss the circumstances of your case, contact the Law Office of Eric Beasley today at 615-859-2223.
Related Blog Posts:
Tennessee Court Dismisses Truck Accident Case Where Plaintiff Failed to Preserve Evidence, Tennessee Personal Injury Blog, May 2, 2018.
Tennessee Court Reminds Plaintiffs To Be Wary of Statute of Limitations, Tennessee Personal Injury Blog, January 4, 2018.
Sixth Circuit Overturns Harsh Pleading Standards in Auto Accident Case, Tennessee Personal Injury Blog, December 6, 2016.