Someone dying unexpectedly in Tennessee can cause significant hardship for those left behind. Immediate family members and friends will struggle with grief when someone dies with little warning. Sometimes, though, the civil courts can offer justice after a loss.
Tennessee state law includes provisions for filing wrongful death lawsuits. If another person or a business committed wrongful acts or engaged in negligent behavior that caused someone’s death, a wrongful death lawsuit could be an option for those left behind. However, family members will need to act quickly or lose the right to pursue the matter in civil court.
There is a strict statute of limitations
The more time passes after an incident, the less evidence there will be to verify someone’s claims. The memory of witnesses will fade, and time causes the degradation of physical evidence in many cases. Tennessee law therefore imposes specific restrictions on certain types of litigation. Someone pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit in Tennessee generally needs to initiate that lawsuit within one year of the date of someone’s death. With rare exceptions, waiting more than 12 months to take the matter to court could eliminate the option of doing so.
How long does a wrongful death lawsuit take?
Every civil case is different, which is another reason why families may want to act as quickly as possible. They can hire a lawyer who can facilitate an investigation and begin gathering evidence before the statute of limitations expires. That attorney can then file a complaint in civil court. Depending on the jurisdiction and volume of cases, it could be months or even longer than a year before the plaintiffs have an opportunity to present their case in front of the judge. The courts will seek to determine whether a preponderance of evidence supports the allegation that the defendant caused someone’s death.
The Tennessee civil courts may award damages that include lost wages and funeral expenses in a successful wrongful death lawsuit. Most people struggling with grief have a hard time thinking about their long-term needs. Those who have the support of an attorney can focus on their family matters instead of the need to gather evidence and develop a case for civil court.