Nashville Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death cases are terrible for everyone involved, especially the victim's family. Moreover, it causes terrible pain and suffering when the accident happens for reasons that could be avoided. That's why wrongful death lawyers have the task of helping families go through their grief process and bring justice to the situation.
It is heartbreaking to see how insurance companies try to lessen these cases to save some money, which is why an experienced Nashville wrongful death attorney must fight for their clients to be properly compensated.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death can be defined as the death that results from someone's negligent, reckless, or careless behavior. Anyone can get charged for wrongful death, no matter if it is a person or a business, as these are cases that tend to happen with no previous warning.
However, not all sudden deaths are wrongful deaths, as this is going to be determined by a series of factors that must be proven before filing a claim. Usually, most people need a Nashville wrongful death lawyer who can help them decide whether the case can be filed as wrongful death or not.
Elements of Wrongful Death Claims
In order to determine if a case is considered a wrongful death, the Nashville wrongful death attorney must be able to gather enough evidence that proves a list of factors. If this evidence isn't strong enough, the case might get dismissed.
There must be proof that directly links the person's death with the careless, reckless, or negligent behavior of the accused. However, these behaviors have different meanings that should be specified within the case.
Negligent actions are those that breach a duty of care by acting in a way that the defendant knew could cause damages
Recklessness happens when a person is completely aware of the potential damage and still decides to take action
Careless actions have no intention of breaking the law or causing damage, but they still do
Breach of Duty
This is the most critical part of the case, and the lack of it could dismiss the entire defense. The attorney must prove the breaching of duty between the defendant and the deceased. An example of this could be an establishment's obligation to follow sanitary norms. If breaking these norms caused the victim's death, it is considered a breach of duty.
Moreover, there must be direct proof of the duty and it's breaching.
In order to link the defendant with the crime, there should be clear evidence that proves that the negligent behavior and breach of duty were the direct or indirect causes of the victims' death.
Finally, the death or accident must have caused physical or quantifiable damages to the victim's relatives, such as medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of potential income, protection, and pain and suffering of the deceased or their relatives.
Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death cases tend to have quite a wide range of consequences for the victim's family. These consequences are called pecuniary damages, and they include all the financial expenses and losses that happen due to the victim's death.
However, these damages are regulated by something called "negligence statutes," which determine who can receive the damages and which circumstances are accepted by the court to be considered pecuniary damages. In most cases, wrongful death sentences are directed towards paying compensation for these financial losses.
This way, the family members don't have to lose all that money to take care of the consequences of the accident. Moreover, they can also opt to charge an interest rate from the moment of their loved one's death.
The Burden of Proof
Wrongful death cases are civil lawsuits and not criminal prosecutions, so the burden of proof is much lower. However, a case is won depending on the ability of the Nashville wrongful death lawyer to gather strong evidence against the other party, but without the usual high standards demanded in criminal law defenses.
Nonetheless, winning a wrongful death lawsuit is still a difficult job, as a professional wrongful death attorney must have enough experience in the field to create a solid strategy based on their investigation and evidence collected through experts and witnesses. All the parties involved must be ready to go through thorough research, demands, and trials to settle the claim.
How Can a Nashville Wrongful Death Lawyer Help?
The emotional pain after losing a loved one is usually overwhelming, and their family and friends deserve to enjoy some peace after an event like that. However, something that's not usually discussed is the financial consequences that the family may suffer, such as medical bills and funeral expenses. That's why it is essential to take legal action when these unfair situations happen.
A wrongful death attorney knows what to do to assist the family with their loss and help reduce part of those financial consequences by handling the entirety of the case, from starting the lawsuit to the final day in court.
Moreover, a Nashville wrongful death lawyer is a professional who has the tools and knowledge to create a solid case that brings justice to all those families going through hardships.
Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Several accidents can be considered wrongful death under certain circumstances. Some of the most common wrongful death claims are the following.
Car accidents are the most common causes of wrongful death. There are thousands of car accidents that happen every year within the United States, and sadly, a considerable number of them end up in fatalities.
The worst part is that these fatalities could have been avoided most of the time if the driver had followed transit rules. Nonetheless, we still see hundreds of reckless drivers not following the law every day, and they end up being liable for the deaths caused.
However, there are also situations where the city's unreliable roads cause the accident. In these cases where the drivers have no negligent actions, the victims can still sue the county for financial compensation.
Medical malpractices can happen when least expected. Although people are supposed to trust their doctors, they are human, and not all humans are as perfect as they may seem. Some of them could follow unethical procedures or make human mistakes that end up taking someone's life.
The most common causes of medical malpractice are diagnosis errors, mistakes during surgery, and while treating chronic conditions.
Accidents at Work
Some work environments are more vulnerable to accidents than others, but none are entirely safe. It is more likely that someone gets injured while doing manual labor at a factory, but some accidents could still happen at offices if the workers aren't careful. One example of this could be someone being forced to work for several hours without rest, resulting in an accident due to exhaustion.
These types of wrongful deaths happen because of failures during the manufacturing process of the products, which end up in mistakes that could be mortal to the consumer. It can also occur on new and mass-produced products that aren't properly tested before launching them to the market. Some of the most common products that end up killing consumers are foods, pharmaceutical products, cars, and baby toys. In these situations, the manufacturer or company is liable for the death.
Although vehicle accidents were already reviewed on this list, semi-truck accidents have a category on their own because they are much larger and can cause much more deadly situations. Moreover, not many people drive them, and those who do tend to have a specialized license that authorizes them to operate heavy-duty vehicles. Therefore, when these wrongful death cases happen, it isn't because of drunk, careless drivers but due to oversized loads and mechanical issues.
These are usually the most deadly due to the lack of protection against car crashes. Sometimes the city may be responsible if there aren't proper pedestrian walkways in the road, but the responsible party is the driver most of the time.
Aviation accidents are the rarer types of wrongful deaths, but they always take many lives when they happen. The liable party can either be the airplane manufacturer or the pilot. Still, to identify this, the designated police must do a proper investigation that determines all possible causes.
Requirements for Filing a Claim
Direct Family Members
Something important that needs to be kept in mind is that some requirements must be met to file a wrongful death claim. The first requirement is being a direct family member of the deceased, such as their surviving spouse, children, representative, and natural or adoptive parents.
However, if there aren't any living direct family members, others could file a wrongful death claim if the court approves it. Here's a list of the people that can file a lawsuit for a wrongful death case.
Surviving Spouse. This only applies if the deceased was married, as this person has the lawful right to file a wrongful death claim. However, if the spouse can't do it or is currently legally incompetent, they aren't going to be able to prosecute the defendant. Some cases where this may happen are if the spouse suffers dementia or is in the middle of divorcing the victim.
Children. The victim's children can only file a wrongful death claim if they are of legal age. If they're not, their legal guardian must do it instead.
Parents. This case only happens when the deceased is a minor, unmarried, or without children. However, if the parents are divorced, the one with primary custody must file a lawsuit.
Executor. In some cases, the deceased has a will that states who is going to be their executor. if this is the case, this person has the legal right to file a lawsuit on the victim's behalf
Administrator. However, in other cases, the deceased doesn't have an executor or any direct family member who can file a lawsuit. If that happens, any person can make a formal request at court to become an administrator. Nonetheless, sometimes more than one people apply. In that case, the court may choose the most suitable person for the case.
Another thing that must be done to file a wrongful death lawsuit is to determine the type of damages that the family suffers, as these financial burdens must be directly related to the victim's death. Some examples could be the loss of a principal income that allowed them to survive, and this is usually added to other expenses such as medical and funeral expenses.
Time Limit for Filing a Claim
A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed as soon as possible. A common term managed among lawyers is "statute of limitations," which states the time limit in which someone can take legal action regarding a particular event. Moreover, in a wrongful death lawsuit, this time ranges around one year, but this may change depending on the state.
Suppose this time passes without the family members filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In that case, they aren't going to be able to seek compensation by taking legal action anymore and may lose any possible retribution they could have gotten from the case.
However, with a good wrongful death attorney, no one should worry about missing this deadline.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
Once the wrongful death lawsuit gets settled, the defendant must pay by check, the entire amount of money, to their lawyer. Then, he is going to make sure the financial compensation covers all the fees and costs that took place during the trial and send the rest to the family of the victim.
The Keating Firm has the best Nashville wrongful death lawyers anyone could ask for. They have won a huge amount of cases and have helped several families honor their loved ones by seeking justice and fair compensation after they're gone.
This is why they're the best option for wrongful death litigation in Nashville for anyone who may have recently lost a loved one to wrongful death.