Car crashes take only seconds to occur and can leave someone with catastrophic injuries or even lead to deaths. If someone you loved recently died in a car crash, you may want justice — especially when the party responsible doesn’t seem to face any criminal consequences for their actions.
Civil court claims can be a way to hold someone accountable for your loss and also recover some of the financial losses your family has suffered. Does Tennessee law permit you to file a wrongful death claim after a collision?
Do you have a close relationship with the deceased party?
Tennessee law does allow wrongful death claims by those with close ties to the deceased individual. The intensity of your relationship with the person who died matters less than the nature of the relationship.
The first filing right goes to the spouse of the deceased. Children, sometimes parents or even a personal representative may also be able to file a wrongful death claim after a fatal collision.
Do the circumstances of the crash give you grounds to file?
Someone dying isn’t an adequate justification for a wrongful death claim. Deaths can be accidental, meaning that no one is actually at fault for the situation. You have to believe someone else caused the death either through negligence or wrongful actions and have some evidence to support those claims.
A driver who was texting at the wheel, driving while drunk or negligent about their vehicle maintenance could all give surviving family members or personal representatives grounds for a wrongful death claim. Evidence could come from police reports, traffic cameras or even mobile phone records.
A criminal conviction related to the crash may make a civil claim easier, but it is not necessary for a successful wrongful death lawsuit. Understanding how Tennessee handles wrongful death claims can help you decide if you have the right to pursue one.