Nashville Wrongful Death Lawyer

Your loved one deserves justice after suffering a wrongful death

Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when it is sudden or unexpected. Losing someone because of the carelessness or fault of another person can be devastating, and under Tennessee law, you may be entitled to compensation. No amount of money can ever replace the one you’ve lost. However, it’s important to seek compensation to hold those who are responsible accountable for the damages they’ve caused you and your family.

For over 35 years, the Nashville wrongful death lawyers at Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers have represented Nashville and Middle Tennessee surviving family members who have lost loved ones due to the negligent actions of others. When you hire our Nashville personal injury lawyers, you’re hiring a team that is dedicated, compassionate, and has the experience and resources to fight for you and those that you’ve lost.

Let us help you recover the compensation you and your family deserve during this difficult time.

Call us today at 800-800-4600

A free consultation with our legal team can help you understand the next best steps to take.

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Helping you understand wrongful death claims in Nashville

After losing a family member or loved one, it’s natural to have a number of questions. Speaking with our team directly will provide you with information and legal options that are specific to your situation, though here you can find commonly asked questions and answers regarding Nashville wrongful death cases so that you are well informed about a wrongful death claim in Tennessee and can gather an understanding of what a Nashville wrongful death attorney can do for you.

We understand that this is an incredibly challenging time for you, and we want to offer our heartfelt support and guidance as you navigate through this difficult period of loss. Losing a loved one is never easy, and the legal complexities surrounding wrongful death claims can add additional stress and uncertainty during an already overwhelming time.

However, please know that you are not alone in this journey. Our team is here to provide compassionate assistance and to help you understand your rights and options under Tennessee law. We recognize the importance of ensuring that justice is served and that your loved one’s memory is honored with dignity and respect.

What is a wrongful death claim?

According to Tennessee Code Ann. § 20-5-106, a wrongful death occurs when another person’s actions, whether through injury, a wrongful act, omission, or killing, lead to someone’s death. This includes an unborn child at any stage.

The first step in understanding what a wrongful death claim is to understand that in Tennessee, a wrongful death lawsuit is considered a civil case, meaning that a party that has suffered damages is seeking financial compensation from the at-fault party. Although there may be a criminal case associated with the incident, when you pursue a wrongful death claim, it is independent of the criminal case. It should be handled by wrongful death attorneys who have a deep understanding of managing these types of cases, such as a personal injury law firm.

It’s also helpful to know that even if the party is found not guilty of a criminal charge, the person may still be found liable for the wrongful death in a civil case. Civil actions have a lower burden of proof, and a Nashville wrongful death lawyer can help prove liability so that you can recover the compensation you deserve.

Who can bring a wrongful death claim in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, wrongful death claims are different from other personal injury cases. They arise when the injured party is unable to pursue legal action due to their death. Instead, certain family members or a personal representative of the deceased’s estate can assert this right on their behalf.

If the death in Nashville was caused by negligence, a wrongful death claim can be made against the negligent party. In Tennessee, who has the right to file a wrongful death claim depends on the deceased individual’s situation. According to Tennessee law (TN Code § 20-5-106 (2021)), a specific order dictates who is authorized to bring forth a wrongful death claim.

In Tennessee, only one wrongful death lawsuit is permitted by law, which is why there is a specific order of priority established. If multiple individuals decide to file lawsuits, the court will combine them and determine who will lead the legal proceedings. Typically, the court honors the order of prioritization outlined in the statute. Additionally, factors such as the relationship between the applicant and the deceased, the capabilities of the applicants, and the timing of the filings are taken into consideration. This process ensures a clear and fair resolution of the legal proceedings. Nashville wrongful death lawyers can help all parties through this process.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Nashville

  • If the deceased had a surviving spouse, the right goes to them.
  • If there’s no surviving spouse, the right passes to the deceased person’s children or next of kin.
  • In cases where the deceased person’s right to pursue legal action for wrongful death is passed on to their personal representative, it is the responsibility of that personal representative to use this right in a way that benefits the surviving spouse or next of kin. Essentially, the personal representative acts on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and their beneficiaries, ensuring that any legal actions taken in connection with the wrongful death claim are conducted in the best interests of those who are entitled to compensation or damages.
  • If the deceased was in the custody of their natural parents at the time of death and hadn’t been legally surrendered or abandoned by them, the right goes to the natural parents or parent or next of kin.
  • If the deceased was legally adopted, the right passes to the adoptive parents or parent.

How long do you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Tennessee?

The statute of limitations, or time limit to file for wrongful death cases in Tennessee is one year from the date of the injury that caused the death. It’s important to note that the date of injury may differ from the date of death, which carries legal significance. Failing to file your case within this timeframe could result in losing the opportunity to pursue compensation for your losses.

Exceptions to the statute of limitations in Tennessee for wrongful deaths

Exceptions are not guaranteed in a wrongful death claim, and if an extension is denied, you may lose your right to file a claim. It’s important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Nashville wrongful death attorneys will ensure that all legal deadlines are met and begin your claim on the best legal footing possible.

If criminal charges are involved this may be extended to two years

In Tennessee, if criminal charges are brought against the person responsible for an injury, the statute of limitations for a claim can be extended to two years. This extension applies if law enforcement, a district attorney general, or a grand jury commences prosecution within one year.

This serves to accommodate the legal process. It acknowledges that the initiation of criminal proceedings can impact the timing and progression of civil lawsuits, allowing sufficient time for both criminal and civil matters to be addressed within the legal framework.

If the claim involves medical malpractice this may be extended by 120 days

Statute Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121 can apply when a wrongful death occurs as a result of medical malpractice. However, the requirements of this statute are extremely complex and should be handled by experienced Nashville wrongful death lawyers who can navigate its intricacies and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Wrongful death damages that can be pursued in a claim

When seeking compensation for wrongful deaths, damages that wrongful death victims can seek typically fall into several categories, including:

Economic Damages

These are quantifiable financial losses incurred as a result of the wrongful death and may include:

  • Medical expenses related to the deceased person’s injury and treatment before death.
  • Funeral and burial expenses.
  • Loss of the deceased person’s expected earnings, including wages, benefits, and future income.
  • Loss of the deceased person’s services, such as household chores, childcare, or other contributions.
  • Grief counseling 

Non-Economic Damages

These are intangible losses that are more challenging to quantify monetarily and may include:

  • Family members can sue for emotional pain and suffering caused by the wrongful death of their loved one
  • Loss of companionship, guidance, and consortium suffered by the surviving family members, such as a spouse, children, or parents.
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish experienced by the surviving family members due to the loss of their loved one.

Punitive Damages

In certain cases, involving egregious misconduct or gross negligence by the at-fault party, punitive damages may be awarded. These damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future rather than compensate the survivors directly.

Typical wrongful death settlement amounts

It’s important to note that the specific types and amounts of damages available in a wrongful death claim can vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the evidence presented. It’s also important to understand that the Tennessee comparative negligence laws may impact the amount the plaintiff is entitled to recover in a suit.

Consulting with an experienced lawyer for wrongful death in Nashville can help survivors understand their rights and pursue maximum compensation for their losses.

Types of lawsuits that a wrongful death attorney can help with

A wrongful death case can result from someone else’s negligence in a number of different ways. Some of these scenarios may include:

Motor Vehicle Deaths

Auto Accidents: Cases in which the death resulted from a car accident, truck accident, or other vehicular accident caused by another driver’s negligence or wrongdoing, such as motorcycle accidents.

Loss Of Life Due To Medical Errors

Medical Malpractice: Instances where medical professionals, hospitals, or healthcare facilities’ negligence or errors lead to a patient’s death, such as surgical mistakes, misdiagnosis, or medication errors.

Work Accident Fatalities

Workplace Accidents: Deaths occurring on the job due to unsafe working conditions, lack of proper safety protocols, or employer negligence, which may lead to a wrongful death claim against the employer or other responsible parties.

Death From Defective Products

Product Liability: Deaths caused by defective or dangerous products, including faulty machinery, defective drugs, poorly designed consumer goods, and defective medical devices, may lead to liability claims against manufacturers, distributors, or sellers.

Death On Property

Premises Liability: Fatal accidents or injuries that occur on another person’s property due to hazardous conditions, inadequate maintenance, or negligent security, leading to a wrongful death claim against the property owner or manager. These can include slip and fall claims.

Brain Injury Deaths

Brain Injuries: Brain injuries can also be a significant aspect of wrongful death cases and can span a variety of other claims that may have led to a TBI or other related injury.

Fatalities From Criminal Acts

Criminal Acts: Deaths caused by criminal actions such as assault, battery, homicide, or manslaughter, where the perpetrator can be held liable through both criminal prosecution and a civil wrongful death lawsuit.

Death On Construction Sites

Construction Accidents: Fatalities occurring at construction sites due to unsafe working conditions, equipment failures, or violations of safety regulations, which may lead to wrongful death claims against contractors, subcontractors, or property owners.

Deaths From Assault

Intentional Acts: Deaths resulting from intentional harm, violence, or misconduct, such as assault, domestic violence, or wrongful death caused by deliberate actions, which may lead to civil liability and wrongful death lawsuits.

Nursing Home Fatalities

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect: Deaths resulting from abuse, neglect, or substandard care in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, which may give rise to wrongful death claims against

There are a number of examples of what can lead to a wrongful death case, and if you believe your family member died as a result of someone else’s negligence, Nashville wrongful death attorneys can help you establish if you have a civil case and work to negotiate a settlement or prove your claim in court.

How a wrongful death lawyer can help you

A Nashville wrongful death lawyer from our firm can help you in a number of ways. Our team will work to:

  • Thoroughly investigate the circumstances that caused the fatal accident in order to prove and establish negligence and fault in your claim.
  • Gather appropriate evidence such as the police report, eye witness statements, and surveillance video.
  • Handle all negotiations with the insurance company.
  • If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we will take your case to court.
  • If necessary, we will source expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.


Along the way, you can expect compassionate and highly experienced attorneys working to ensure that all liable parties are held accountable for the death of your loved one.

Client reviews and testimonials

"Hughes & Coleman represented our two young minor children after a tragic loss. One of the first things I stated to them was "please stand up for them as if they were your own". They did whole heartedly, and their focus were these two beautiful children from beginning to end, with no hesitation and no additional questions asked! The process was smooth. Hughes & Coleman knew what needed to be done, and they kept me informed monthly on the status. Hughes & Coleman helped us in a very hard time, removed the stress, and our children received a very fair award from the insurance companies! I would highly recommend Hughes & Coleman if you find yourself in a similar situation!"

Jennifer D. - Nashville, TN

Nashville wrongful death lawyers near you

If another party’s negligent actions caused your loved one’s death, an experienced Nashville wrongful death attorney from our firm can help.

If you lost a loved one, Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers is here to represent your best interests and to fight tirelessly for the justice and compensation your family deserves.

Call us today at 800-800-4600 for a free consultation.

446 James Robertson Pkwy #100, Nashville, TN 37219

(615) 255-9100

Get In Touch Today!

We offer free consultations 24/7 and there will always be someone here to take your call. Call our personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation or fill out this form and we will contact you.

We serve clients across Tennessee and Kentucky and we have several offices throughout both states. See all of our locations and contact us today.

Kentucky Locations


1256 Campbell Ln #201

Bowling Green, KY 42104

Phone: (270) 782-6000



2110 N Dixie Hwy #102

Elizabethtown, KY 42701

Phone: (270) 737-0640



5004 Poplar Level Rd

Louisville, KY 40219

Phone: (502) 585-4025



3618 Dixie Hwy

Louisville, KY 40216

Phone: (502) 585-4693



211 E New Circle Rd

Lexington, KY 40505

Phone: (859) 260-1722


Tennessee Locations


446 James Robertson Pkwy #100

Nashville, TN 37219

Phone: (615) 255-9100



1501 Memorial Blvd

Murfreesboro, TN 37129

Phone: (615) 907-0687



323 N Riverside Dr #100

Clarksville, TN 37040

Phone: (931) 546-7200



622 W 7th St

Columbia, TN 38401

Phone: (931) 505-7040



126 W Eastland Ave

Gallatin, TN 37066

Phone: (615) 451-4288