Who Has the Right to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
Tennessee law has a very specific statutory scheme for who has the right to bring a wrongful death case.
Let me give you several common scenarios and give you the answer to who has the right under those circumstances. First of all assume that the person who dies is an adult. If the decedent was married, his or her spouse would have the right to bring a wrongful death case.
If the decedent was unmarried, the right would go either to the decedent's parents or to the decedent's adult children.
If the person who dies as the result of the carelessness of another is a minor, the wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by the minor's parents. If the minor's parents are divorced, it is normally the custodial parent of the minor who has the principle right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Now we've identified a couple of different scenarios that commonly occurr concerning wrongful death lawsuits. But as you can imagine there are lots and lots of different scenarios that can arise too.
For example some adults who die have neither surviving spouses or adult parents or adult children. The law has ways of dealing with those circumstances as well.
Let me add one other thing about wrongful death lawsuits that is important for you to know.
Just because a person has the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit doesn't mean that they get to recover the proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Instead the person who brings the wrongful death lawsuit has the right to recover those proceeds and hold them for everyone else who may have a right to a portion of those proceeds. That subject is addressed in another video.
At The Law Offices of John Day, P.C. we've been representing victims of wrongful death for over 30 years and we'll be happy to talk to you about your potential