DeKalb County, with a population of 18,723, is a Tennessee county named for American Revolution hero Johann de Kalb. The county seat of DeKalb is Smithville. Despite its scenic surroundings and proud history, the county is also the scene of many fatal accidents. If you have lost a loved one in Smithville or elsewhere in DeKalb County, you may be feeling not only grief but also stress and anxiety about paying costs related to your loss. Knowledgeable DeKalb County wrongful death attorney Matt Hardin may be able to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Whether your loved one was killed in a car wreck, truck wreck, motorcycle wreck, or due to medical malpractice, we can guide you through the process of holding accountable those responsible for the accident.
In general, to succeed on a personal injury claim requires proving three elements of negligence: (1) the existence of a duty of care, which is typically the duty to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances, (2) breach of that duty, and (3) that the breach of duty was the legal cause of compensable injuries. If the victim died, then certain family members may be able to bring a wrongful death action against the responsible party or parties.
If you are a child, spouse, or parent of an accident victim, the law may allow you to bring a wrongful death claim. You must be able to prove compensable damages in a wrongful death case. If you are able to prove negligence by the person or entity that caused your loved one’s death, you may be able to recover damages.
Typically, pain and suffering of the deceased from the time of the accident until his or her death is compensable. For example, your relative might have been in a serious car crash and survived for a few weeks in the Emergency Room of a local hospital while suffering in serious pain from injuries. If your relative eventually died, you may be able to recover on their behalf. Similarly, you can recoup medical expenses needed to treat your deceased loved one. This includes the cost of the ambulance, ER bills, hospital charges, physician charges, surgery charges, anesthesiology charges, and any other treatment that was necessary to treat the decedent for accident injuries before death. You also can recover reasonable funeral expenses.
Income that your loved one would have earned if he or she had not died may be recovered. This includes social security benefits or disability benefits. In Tennessee, the amount of the decedent’s likely expenses, had he or she lived, will be deducted from the estimated future income. Your personal injury attorney in DeKalb County may need to retain an expert economist to establish the accurate amounts for both the lost income and the living expenses.
A survivor may also be able to recover for loss of consortium. This is a subjective award to compensate for the loss of companionship, services, guidance, and protection related to a premature death. It can be difficult to determine and depends largely on the jury’s perception of the less tangible things you lost. For example, if your father and you were estranged and barely spent any time together at the time of his death, this is likely to reduce the damages to which you are entitled. By contrast, your loss of consortium may be considerable if you and your spouse spent time together every day jogging or raising your children.
The damages you recover from a wrongful death claim are not subject to creditors’ claims. This is true even if the decedent left behind substantial debts.
No matter how your loved one died, you should enlist the assistance of experienced DeKalb County personal injuries lawyer Matt Hardin, who has grown very familiar with wrongful death suits. Contact him by calling 615-200-1111 or sending a message through our online form. We represent Tennessee victims and their relatives in connection with vehicle collisions, wrongful death, and medical malpractice in Smithville, Nashville, and DeKalb County, as well as elsewhere in Tennessee.