Fatal Car Accidents
If your loved one tragically died in a wreck that was caused by a careless driver, the Memphis car accident attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz are ready to help you pursue a wrongful death claim. While nothing can bring back a loved one, there may be significant financial burdens that arise after a death. Family members may be left struggling to pay for a mortgage, groceries, health care, and other needs with their reduced income. A successful wrongful death lawsuit can address these losses. As the largest personal injury firm based in Tennessee, NST has the resources to vigorously advocate for you. Our 33 attorneys and over 100 staff members assist the families of victims in Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, and Kentucky.Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Car Accident
Each state has its own wrongful death laws which govern eligibility to bring a claim, the statute of limitations, and other aspects of a wrongful death lawsuit. In Tennessee, the first person with priority to file a wrongful death claim is the surviving spouse of the decedent. If there is no surviving spouse, the next in line is the surviving children or next of kin. After that, if there are no children or next of kin, the decedent's estate's personal representative may file a claim, and after that the decedent's surviving parents may file a claim if the decedent was a dependent. Finally, an administrator of the estate may file suit.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, liability is expressed in monetary damages. There may also be a criminal case pending against the defendant in a fatal car accident case. However, the standard of proof in a criminal case ("beyond a reasonable doubt") is significantly higher than it is in a civil personal injury lawsuit ("preponderance of the evidence"). Even if the defendant is acquitted, or the charges are dismissed in a criminal case, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Although these proceedings are separate, events in a criminal case may sometimes affect a personal injury lawsuit, so it is important to retain a car accident attorney to protect your interests as soon as possible.
To succeed in a wrongful death claim after a fatal car accident, you will likely need to establish negligence. This means that you will need to show that the defendant failed to drive safely and that this failure was the legal cause of your loved one's death. For example, a driver who was texting and ran a red light, thereby T-boning your loved one's car, is likely to be found negligent by a jury.
However, defendants in car accident cases often raise the defense of comparative fault. Tennessee follows the rule of modified comparative negligence, which means if the decedent was 49% or less at fault, your damages may be reduced by their percentage of fault. An experienced attorney may be able to retain qualified accident reconstruction experts to lock in the defendant’s liability and protect against allegations of comparative fault of the decedent.
Damages that may be available in a wrongful death lawsuit include lost wages (past and future), medical costs, funeral costs, and the loss of love, companionship, and society.Discuss Your Car Accident Case with a Memphis Attorney
If a loved one was killed in a fatal motor vehicle collision, the Memphis car accident lawyers at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz are here to offer our assistance. We are experienced trial attorneys who represent bereaved families in communities throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Missouri, including Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Jackson, Meridian, Tupelo, Columbus, Grenada, Starkville, Oxford, Hayti, and Caruthersville. Call our office at 800-529-4004 or submit our online form to schedule your free consultation. For people who need a car or truck crash attorney after a fatal accident, NST is the way to go.