Lafayette and Macon County are rural areas of Tennessee. They rely on agriculture, particularly burley tobacco and hardwood lumber. The second-largest city in Macon County is Red Boiling Springs, which was a mineral springs resort town earlier in history. The median income for a Lafayette household is $25,750. If you are seriously hurt by someone else’s carelessness in Macon County, a personal injury attorney can help you seek damages. Experienced lawyer Matt Hardin represents clients who have been hurt due to truck wrecks, car wrecks, motorcycle wrecks, medical malpractice, personal injury, and wrongful death.
A wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident. To recover for wrongful death, you will have to prove duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. The first issue is whether the defendant had a duty of care towards the person who died. A duty in the context of wrongful death is the obligation to take action or refrain from taking action in connection with avoiding foreseeable risks to someone else. Duty can be straightforward. For example, all drivers owe a duty to protect other drivers’ lives on the road. In contexts other than car accidents, it can be less simple.
The second issue is whether the defendant breached that duty. A drunk driver who runs a stop sign, for example, is likely to be found to have breached a duty. In a freak accident or in the case of an intervening force, however, it may be harder to prove breach. For example, if a child runs across the road and the defendant swerves to avoid hitting it and thereby caused your loved one’s accident, it may be difficult to prove breach of duty.
Causation is the next element that must be proved. The defendant’s negligence and breach of duty must result in the victim’s death. Proof of causation requires your lawyer to show that, but for the careless conduct, the death would not have occurred. This issue can be complex, even in a car accident case. For example, suppose that a commercial big rig driver is driving in a construction zone and the lane narrows. If your loved one tried to pass the rig and was crushed when the lane narrowed, the situation may require more examination. Responsibility, in that case, may be divided between different parties: the owner of the construction project, the truck driver, and your loved one. If your loved one was partly at fault for the crash, the amount of the recovery award will be reduced in proportion to their responsibility.
You must also show actual damages to you and other survivors of your loved one. These are likely to include loss of earning capacity, lost wages, medical expenses, funeral expenses, and contributions to a household, including any household work that your loved one performed. These are also likely to include loss of emotional distress and companionship, which are more subjective and harder to quantify. Depending on the facts, your attorney may need to retain an expert to testify on certain issues, such as loss of earning capacity.
The grieving process can be long, painful, and unpredictable. In the meantime, the loss of a loved one can affect your financial well-being in significant ways. From paying for the funeral to getting by on a reduced income, you may be affected by a loss in ways that are quite tangible. Diligent Lafayette wrongful death attorney Matt Hardin can explore the full range of your damages, including both concrete, economic damages and subjective, non-economic damages. Schedule a free consultation with him by calling (615) 200-1111 or by sending a message through our online form. We serve clients throughout Nashville, Red Boiling Springs, Lafayette, and Macon County.