The loss of life in a fatal auto accident can be devastating for loved ones left behind. A person who dies may be a spouse or a parent. With that person deceased, the survivors have lost someone who provided love and support. This is why Tennessee law provides a way for people to file a wrongful death suit.
While holding someone liable in court can never replace the life lost, it can still hold the negligent party accountable and yield some compensation for the loss. Not anybody can file a wrongful death suit, however. It depends on the relationship you have with the person who died.
Qualifications to file suit
According to FindLaw, the survivors who can file a suit generally are people who are close relatives of the deceased. If your spouse dies in an auto collision, you may file suit. If you are a child of the person who died and there is no spouse, you are eligible for sue for damages. You may also file a wrongful death suit if you are the personal representative of the deceased.
In some circumstances, you may file suit if you are another relative like a parent. You might also litigate for damages if you are a next of kin and your deceased relative had no surviving spouse or children. And if you are an adopted child of a decedent, you may file a wrongful death suit since adopted children have the same rights as biological children.
Compensation for wrongful death
It is not clear if you can sue for damages if you are a nephew or niece or an aunt or uncle of someone who dies due to negligence. However, if your relative had no other close family members, it may be possible. If your suit is successful, you might gain compensation for losses including loss of financial support and companionship, plus you may receive damages for your mental anguish and distress.