Generally speaking, these are the rules for who may file a wrongful death lawsuit inTennessee:
- A lawsuit for the death of a husband can be filed by his wife, his executor or the administrator of his estate.
- A lawsuit for the death of a wife can be filed by her husband, her executor, or the administrator of her estate.
- If a person is single at the time of his or her death, the lawsuit can be maintained by his or her adult children or, if there are no adult children, by his or her parents. The lawsuit can also be filed by an executor or administrator.
- If a person is a single minor at the time of death, the lawsuit can be maintained by his or her parents. If the parents are divorced, special rules apply. The lawsuit can also be filed by an administrator.
- If the decedent did not leave a spouse or child and was predeceased by his or her parents, the law permits a sibling to file suit. The lawsuit can also be filed by an executor or administrator.
- There are exceptions to these general rules. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can explain whether an exception is applicable if he or she is advised of the nature of the family situation.
It is rarely necessary to open an estate in Tennessee for the sole purpose of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Thus, we rarely recommend that an estate be opened for the sole purpose of filing a lawsuit.