How To File a Wrongful Death Claim in Tennessee

Wrongful death claims arise in various ways throughout Tennessee, and family members of those who lost their life due to the negligence of others need to know how to file a wrongful death case.

Tennessee wrongful death claims can be challenging, and we want to review some of the basic aspects that you need to know when moving forward. We strongly encourage you to contact a wrongful death attorney who can walk you through every aspect of this process, use their resources to investigate the incident, and represent you in court. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Tennessee?

When we examine the wrongful death law in Tennessee, we can see that only certain family members are allowed to file these claims in civil court (Tenn. Code § 20-5-106 (2021). 

The first individual allowed to file a wrongful death claim in civil court is the deceased person’s surviving spouse. In the event there is no surviving spouse, or if the person was unmarried, the following parties can file the wrongful death claim in civil court, in this order:

  • Any surviving children
  • Any surviving next of kin
  • A personal representative (executor) of the deceased’s estate
  • A surviving parent if the deceased was dependent on them at the time of their death

If a personal representative or executor files the row for death claim, any compensation recovered will be awarded to the surviving family members of the deceased.

How Do You File the Claim?

It can be confusing to understand whether or not you can file a claim or even how to file a claim in civil court. This is not something that people have to do every day, and individuals with little to no legal experience should not be expected to understand the entire process.

We strongly encourage any person who has lost a loved one due to the negligence of another to reach out to a skilled wrongful death lawyer in Nashville who can walk them through this process. A lawyer will take over every aspect of the case. Not only will this include the investigation of the incident, but an attorney will also be the one to file the claim in civil court. Wrongful death lawyers understand the laws and the language, and they know how to file the claim properly and within the required time frames.

A lawyer will be responsible for keeping track of the case and handling any motions related to the overall claim. They will represent you and your family in court and any other necessary proceedings.

Time Limit for Filing a Tennessee Wrongful Death Claim

Every state is allowed to set a timeframe for how long individuals have to file claims in court. In Tennessee, the wrongful death statute of limitations is one year from the date of death. This means that surviving family members or the personal representative of the deceased has one year from the time the deceased lost their life to file the claim against the alleged negligent party. If the case is not filed on time, it is unlikely that the surviving family members will cover any compensation.