Professional Chattanooga Wrongful Death Attorneys Advocating for Families
Helping families move forward after tragedy strikes
For many of us, family means everything. Not only do we count on our loved ones for mental and emotional comfort, but we may also rely on them for necessary financial support. When someone’s negligence or recklessness causes the untimely death of a family member, you are left to deal with incredible grief, along with the resulting financial responsibilities.
At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, our experienced Chattanooga wrongful death lawyers represent families who have lost those dearest to them due to another person’s negligence. We know that retaining our services cannot erase your pain and suffering, but it is our hope that a substantial financial compensation award will alleviate some of the stress experienced by you and your family.
Understanding the complexities of filing a wrongful death claim
Since 1945, our team has been assisting Chattanooga families through the process of investigating and pursuing wrongful death claims. We use this valuable experience to examine the events that led up to the death and identify all responsible parties.
Tennessee law specifies who is legally eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A surviving spouse typically has the right to file suit. If the deceased individual was not married at the time of death, a surviving child may pursue the claim. If there is no surviving spouse or child, the deceased individual’s parent or parents may have grounds to file suit against the responsible party. Under some circumstances, the executor or personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate may file suit on behalf of the estate and surviving heirs.
Once our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers assess the appropriateness of a wrongful death suit, we then determine what amount of compensation should be sought. Under some circumstances, the court may also award a punitive damage amount. These awards serve to punish the wrongdoer, while providing the victim with increased compensation.
Understanding damages in wrongful death suits
Damages in wrongful death cases are based on the following:
- What damages the deceased would have been able to claim if he or she had lived, including any lost wages or pain and suffering in cases where the death was not immediate.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- The lifetime earnings lost due to the premature death of the decedent.
- The loss of comfort, society, and love the decedent would have provided.
- The mental anguish of the family members.
If the death was due to criminal conduct, then normally the criminal case will proceed first. Often, a conviction can help force a settlement or be used to show fault in the civil case. A common example is when someone you love was killed due to a drunk driver. The DUI case will likely be tried first.
There is no requirement, however, that the death was intentional or reckless. If someone negligently but accidentally causes someone else to die, a wrongful death claim can still be brought. If someone was reckless or the death was intentional, the wrongful death claim can include a claim for punitive damages.
Proving liability in a wrongful death case
Wrongful death cases are complicated by the fact that the victim can’t testify as to what happened. Since many cases turn on the testimony of the witnesses, this can make proving fault more difficult. Experienced Chattanooga wrongful death lawyers work with investigators, the police, product safety experts, traffic reconstruction engineers, and other witnesses to help prove the death was someone else’s fault.
In Tennessee, you have one year from the date of the death to file a claim; in Georgia, it’s two. For this reason, it is crucial that the person filing the claim on behalf of their loved one, speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.
Typically, a financial professional who has experience analyzing the value of death cases will be consulted. This professional will review many factors to arrive at a value of the damagers.
Some of the factors this expert will review include:
- The life expectancy of the decedent.
- The type of work the decedent did.
- The income of the decedent prior to the accident.
- The projected income the decedent would have earned.
- The value of any benefits including retirement benefits, vacation pay, and other benefits.
- The cost to pay for outside services the decedent would have performed. (This can include the cost of caring for the children, home maintenance, and many other tasks).
- The ages of the spouse, children, and other entitled family members.
Experienced lawyers with extensive wrongful death experience
The basis for a wrongful death claim depends on the type of activity that resulted in your loved one’s fatality. While car accidents are among the most common types of wrongful death cases we handle, our skilled wrongful death attorneys also assist with wrongful death cases involving:
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Construction accidents
- Work-related injuries
- Nursing home abuse
- Defective products
- Premises liability
- Negligent security
You and your family have been left to deal with tragic circumstances, and we diligently work to secure the financial compensation you deserve.
Contact the Chattanooga law firm with a proven track record of skill and integrity
If you unexpectedly lost a loved one and feel you have grounds for a wrongful death case, contact the dependable wrongful death attorneys of Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law. We proudly serve clients in Cleveland and Chattanooga TN, in North Georgia, and in all surrounding counties. Choose a legal team dedicated to providing your family with quality legal advice you can trust. Call us today at 423-756-7923 or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.