Nashville, TN Wrongful Death Lawyer
A loved one dying unexpectedly is enough of a shock without discovering that negligent behavior from a third party may have been the cause. Every loss is devastating but to feel that others’ negligent actions ripped a life away from you is hard to accept. Families and spouses of wrongful death victims often can’t find closure until the responsible party faces justice and a court of law acknowledges the loss as wrongful death.
The wrongful death attorneys at Larry R. Williams, PLLC, serve the people of Nashville to ensure the courts hold responsible parties accountable for compensations. Often, the offending party is legally required to cover damages such as lost companionship, spouse and family emotional trauma, lost comfort and support (of minor children left behind), and lost relationships.
If the courts find the defendant guilty of engaging in reckless or egregious conduct that resulted in the victim’s death, they may also award punitive damages to the victim’s survivors.
Nashville Wrongful Death Resources
- What is Wrongful Death?
- Types of Wrongful Death
- Cases Our Nashville Wrongful Death Lawyers Handle
- What Type of Compensation Can Be Awarded in a Nashville Wrongful Death Case?
- Total Compensation Available for a Successful Nashville Wrongful Death Claim
- Who Can File a Nashville Wrongful Death Case?
- How Is Liability Proven For a Wrongful Death Case?
- Will You Have To Go To Court For Your Wrongful Death Case?
- Who Receives The Recovered Money In A Wrongful Death Case?
- Contact Our Experienced Nashville Wrongful Death Attorneys For a Free Consultation
Why Choose Larry R. Williams, PLLC for a Wrongful Death Claim?
- At Larry R. Williams, PLLC, we have received the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell law firm rating service, which signifies our professionalism and excellence.
- We firmly believe that every client deserves dignity and respect, and we will fully represent your wrongful death claim all the way to trial if necessary.
- Our team has a track record of successful recovery of significant settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of clients and families throughout Tennessee.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death can describe any situation in which a person’s death is the result of someone else’s negligence or abuse. The most common wrongful death lawsuits in Nashville involve medical malpractice, workplace safety negligence, automobile accidents, and defective products. Because this is a complex area of law, Nashville wrongful death lawsuits require an attorney who understands wrongful death litigation.
Why Do I Need a Nashville Wrongful Death Attorney?
Wrongful death claims can be incredibly challenging, particularly for those without much legal experience. Families and the estates of the deceased need to focus on grieving the loss of a loved one and putting affairs in order. A skilled wrongful death lawyer in Nashville will have the resources necessary to fully investigate the incident and gather the evidence needed to prove liability.
Additionally, an attorney will handle filing all of the paperwork with the court and fully represent families and the estate in negotiations with other parties. If necessary, a Nashville accident lawyer will prepare the case to be heard in front of a jury.
Types of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death cases can be arduous, with several factors to consider before a judge ascertains responsibility and awards compensation. The plaintiff must prove fault, along with some form of negligence or abuse. In many cases, this is difficult – especially if it concerns a patient who switched health care facilities and professionals many times before his or her death. There are dozens of different types of wrongful death cases and each deserves due care.
The four principles that make up a wrongful death lawsuit are:
- A defendant’s action or inaction caused someone’s death.
- A defendant is guilty of negligence or misconduct in the victim’s death.
- A surviving party is interested in suing for damages.
- The victim’s death resulted in financial loss.
Tennessee’s original wrongful death laws limit the amount of compensation the surviving family receives to only what the victim would have won had he or she lived through the injury. This law ignored all the pain, suffering, and losses the spouses and families of the deceased had to endure because of the defendant’s negligence. Lawmakers amended the law to encompass all the victims’ and their families’ damages.
According to Tennessee’s statute of limitations, the plaintiff has one year after the date of a loved ones’ death to bring a wrongful death case to court. If surviving family members wish to seek compensation for their losses, they must file a claim within the year – otherwise the courts won’t allow the case to come to trial.
Cases We Handle in Nashville
Our Nashville wrongful death attorneys handle a variety of wrongful death lawsuits including:
- Car accidents: Car accidents are a leading cause of injuries and wrongful deaths throughout Tennessee each year. Unfortunately, these incidents often occur as a result of the careless or negligent actions of other drivers, including impaired driving, distracted driving, drivers operating too fast for conditions, and more.
- Truck accidents: Accidents involving larger commercial trucks tend to cause much more catastrophic injuries than regular vehicle accidents. These vehicles can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and accidents often occur due to the careless or negligent actions of truck drivers and trucking companies.
- Motorcycle accidents: Motorcyclists are incredibly vulnerable on the roadways, and one wrong action by another driver can lead to a catastrophic impact for a motorcyclist.
- Medical malpractice: Leading research indicates that medical errors are the third leading cause of death across this country. Medical errors that can result in a fatality include failing to diagnose, misdiagnosis, surgical mistakes, prescription medication errors, and more.
- Defective products: Defective devices can make it into our homes and workplaces and include things we use on a regular basis. Some of the most commonly defective products purchased include medications, foods and beverages, toys, appliances, tools, electronics, and more.
- Construction accidents: Individuals in the construction industry have incredibly dangerous jobs. In fact, approximately one out of every five worker deaths during the latest reporting year across this country occurred in the construction industry.
- Workplace accidents: The workplace can be dangerous, regardless of whether or not a person has an office job, a factory job, works in construction, works in a hospital, etc. Anytime a person loses their life as a result of an on-the-job injury, their family deserves compensation.
- Bike accidents: Bicyclists, like pedestrians, are incredibly vulnerable in the event they are impacted by a heavier vehicle. Unfortunately, many bicycle accidents occur due to the careless or negligent actions of other drivers on the roadway.
- Nursing home abuse: Anytime a nursing home or the staff in a nursing home systemically neglects their duties towards an individual or towards the entire facility, this increases the likelihood that residents will lose their lives. This can include failing to provide medical care, failing to provide basic necessities, abuse, etc.
- Pedestrian accidents: Pedestrians are also vulnerable on the roadway, particularly when they have to cross at marked crosswalks or intersections.
- Premises liability: Property owners owe a duty of care to any person who has a right to be on their premises, and a failure to uphold the studio of care can result in significant injuries or fatalities.
What Type of Compensation Can Be Awarded in a Nashville Wrongful Death Case?
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is not only to give the survivors (friends, family, loved ones) monetary compensation so that they are in the same financial position they would have been in had the accident not occurred, but also to bring a sense of closure and justice. A Nashville wrongful death lawyer knows that no amount of money can bring someone back after a deadly accident, but a successful case can make things easier.
Our team works diligently to recover various types of compensation that individuals need after a painful loss. This includes both economic and non-economic damages, both of which have specific purposes in a wrongful death claim.
- Economic damages. This refers to calculable losses that families and the estate will likely incur as a result of the untimely death. These losses can be calculated by gathering bills, receipts, and invoices in the aftermath. Some of the most common economic damages related to wrongful death claims and Tennessee include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills associated with the incident
- Lost wages the deceased would likely have earned throughout their lifetime if they had lived
- Coverage of services the deceased would have provided (household assistance, yard work, etc.)
- Non-economic damages. This refers to a separate type of compensable loss that families and the estate will likely incur due to the untimely death. This is different from the calculable expenses. Non-economic damages are more immeasurable because they try to quantify the losses that do not come with receipts or bills. This can include:
- Physical, mental, and emotional suffering experienced by the deceased after the incident but before death
- The survivors’ loss of the deceased’s guidance, care, society, companionship, and love
- Loss of consortium damages for a spouse
Total Compensation Available for a Successful Nashville Wrongful Death Claim
There is no set amount of compensation paid as a result of a successful Nashville wrongful death claim. Rather, there are various factors that insurance carriers or a wrongful death jury will examine when deciding how much compensation to pay. Some of these factors include:
- The age of the deceased when they passed
- The life expectancy of the deceased had they lived
- The education level of the deceased
- Occupation and promotion likelihood of the deceased
- The value of services the deceased provided family members
- The level of pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before death
- Whether or not there was any shared fault for the untimely death
A Nashville wrongful death lawyer will fully examine every aspect of these claims. They may work with trusted economic and financial experts who can analyze every factor necessary in order to adequately calculate total expected losses.
Common Wrongful Death Lawsuit Questions
When a loved one dies unexpectedly, it can be a scary and uncertain time. Here are some common questions:
What is the deadline for filing a wrongful death case in Tennessee?
You must file suit within one year from the original injury that caused the death. For example; if your family member was injured in a car crash on July 4, 2016 but did not pass away until August 4, 2016, the deadline to file is July 4, 2017.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case?
In some states around the country, the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate is responsible for filing the claim. However, Tennessee law specifies that certain family members are allowed to file the claim, though this right initially belongs to the deceased’s surviving spouse. In the event there is no surviving spouse, the following parties can file a wrongful death lawsuit in this order:
• Surviving children
• Surviving next of kin
• Personal representative, or the executive, of the state
• Parent(s) of the deceased if the deceased was dependent on their parent(s) at the time of death
In the event the personal representative files the wrongful death claim, any damages recovered by them will be awarded to the surviving family members of the deceased.
How is Liability Proven for a Wrongful Death Case?
Proving liability for a wrongful death claim can be challenging, which is why we always stress the need to work with an attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can get involved early and take over every aspect of the case. Proving liability will first involve conducting a complete investigation into the incident and gathering various types of evidence and materials. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Police or accident reports related to the incident
- 911 and dispatch recordings
- Statements from any eyewitnesses to the incident
- Photographs and video surveillance taken at the scene by witnesses or professionals
- Background checks related to individuals involved
- Video footage from surveillance cameras nearby
The evidence needed to prove liability for a wrongful death claim will look different depending on the type of situation. For example, the types of evidence needed to prove wrongful death after a vehicle accident will look different than the evidence needed to prove wrongful death after an assault in a grocery store parking lot. An experienced lawyer will understand the need for a nuanced approach to each particular situation and work to uncover the evidence necessary to help you and your family recover compensation.
Will You Have to go to Court for Your Wrongful Death Case?
Not every wrongful death claim in Nashville will end up going to the courtroom. In fact, most of these cases are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. There is often an insurance carrier involved, depending on the situation. This could include auto insurance carriers, homeowners’ insurance carriers, or insurance policies purchased by businesses or entities.
However, in the event the insurance carrier or the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement, it may be necessary to file a civil wrongful death claim in court. Even when the case is filed, this does not necessarily mean that you will have to go to an actual courtroom for the case to be resolved. Your attorney and the attorney for the at-fault party will go through the discovery process, which means they will exchange evidence with one another. The attorneys may also take depositions of potential witnesses. During this process, it is not uncommon for negotiations to continue, particularly if new evidence comes to light.
Only if the two parties cannot reach an agreement will the case need to go to a jury trial, which means you will eventually have to go to a courtroom. However, this process may not happen for a few years after the case is initially filed.
Who Receives the Recovered Money in a Wrongful Death Case?
Monetary compensation is distributed according to Tennessee law, not the decedent’s will, and is divided according to the family dynamic and relationship. If the deceased was married and survived by his/her partner, the spouse gets all the proceeds. If the deceased was married with children, the proceeds are divided equally, with the spouse guaranteed at least one-third of the money. If the deceased was not married and had no children, his/her parents are entitled to all the compensation. These rules are not set in stone. Our Nashville wrongful death lawyers are happy to answer questions about more complex situations.
How Can You Afford a Wrongful Death Attorney?
We understand that it can be stressful to think about how to afford an attorney after losing a loved one. However, the team at Larry R. Williams, PLLC handles wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. Our team will manage all of the upfront costs related to your case, and you will not have to pay any legal fees until after we successfully recover the compensation your family needs. Total legal fees will come out of an agreed-upon percentage of the final settlement or jury verdict received. If we do not win the case, your family will not have to worry about paying us any legal fees at all.
Contact Our Experienced Nashville Wrongful Death Attorneys For a Free Consultation
At Larry R. Williams, PLLC, we’re here to provide you peace of mind during an otherwise stressful experience. Our compassionate Nashville wrongful death attorneys will handle your case with professional ease and courtesy. We’ll gather the appropriate evidence and resources to support your wrongful death claim and argue for you in a court of law. If you or your family is thinking about filing a wrongful death suit after the death of a loved one, speak to a Nashville personal injury attorney right away.
Wrongful death cases in Nashville are complex and often take longer than other negligence cases to settle. Additionally, they can be emotionally harrowing for victims’ families. Trust the capable hands of Nashville’s finest personal injury attorneys – the firm of Larry R. Williams, Attorneys at Law. Call us at (615) 256-8880, or contact us online today.