Wrongful death claims: A brief background

In a wrongful death claim, the surviving family and dependents of a deceased person can seek financial compensation for their financial and emotional losses caused by their loved one's death. However, wrongful death actions didn't exist in the early American and English courts.

Although "tort" actions have existed for a long time. Traditionally, you could only seek financial compensation from a party that caused you injury as a result of its wrongful or negligent actions. You could not pursue damages relating to your loved one's death. As such, wrongdoers could bypass liability in cases where their victims died.

There exists another type of action that could arise after a loved one dies. It's referred to as a "survivor action." Unlike a wrongful death action, which compensates family members for the family member's damages, a survivor action pursues the damages suffered by the deceased victim -- like a normal personal injury claim. In survivor actions, the recovered moneys are paid into the deceased person's estate, not directly to family members.

The most common scenarios giving rise to wrongful death claims are car accidents caused by negligence, carelessness or unlawful activity. Medical malpractice, homicide and unsafe products are other common culprits.

At Chancey, Kanavos, Love & Painter, our lawyers have extensive experience representing Tennessee residents in both survivor actions and wrongful death claims. If your loved one died in an accident due to no fault of his or her own, you may be able to pursue such an action in civil court, which -- if successfully navigated -- could be of great financial assistance to your family.

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