Motor vehicle drivers have an obligation to exercise reasonable care to ensure that other drivers and pedestrians who are using the road are generally safe. Changing lanes unsafely can amount to negligent behavior, which can cause fatal accidents. If your loved one died because of another driver's negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
Read on to learn more about lane-changing liability, proving a wrongful death, and filing a claim in Tennessee.
Understand Tennessee Lane Changing Laws
Several laws govern the behavior of drivers on the road. The law requires drivers to practice reasonable safety when changing lanes and to use the appropriate signals when doing so.
Drivers should remain in a single lane and only move from that lane if the driver has made sure that a lane change is safe.
Generally, to change lanes safely, a driver should look out for blind spots, check for drivers on the other lanes, and keep a sufficient distance when changing lanes. The neglect of these traffic safety requirements can result in a serious accident.
In Tennessee, a wrongful death occurs when a person dies from injuries caused by another. Additionally, a wrongful death occurs when the omission or wrongful actions of a person cause another to die.
To prove that the actions of the driver who unsafely changed lanes resulted in the death of your loved one, you would have to show three things to the court. These include duty of care, breach of duty of care, and causation.
Duty of Care
You must show that the driver owed the deceased a duty of care. In this case, the law requires drivers to exercise reasonable safety when changing lanes.
Breach of Duty of Care
You must show the court that by making an illegal lane change, the driver breached his or her duty by failing to obey the traffic laws regarding lane changing.
In addition to showing the court that the driver broke the law, you must also prove that his or her actions specifically resulted in the death of your loved.
Proving these elements of a wrongful death is not always straightforward. The process requires solid evidence and expert witness. An attorney with experience in wrongful death cases can help you develop a strong case.
File a Claim
Tennessee is among the states that allow close relatives to file both a wrongful death claim and a survival action claim.
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that family members can file against the driver. The goal of a wrongful death claim is to recover damages that you and your family suffered as a result of the death of your loved one.
Examples of damages in a wrongful death claim include hospital bills, funeral expenses, physical and mental suffering, and loss of companionship.
You can also file a survival action claim. This lawsuit allows the surviving family members to recover damages on behalf of your loved one had he or she lived. Examples of damages from a survival action claim include lost wages and other earnings the deceased would have received if he or she had lived.
Other survival action damages you can claim include the mental and physical suffering the deceased suffered due to injuries and the loss of enjoyment of life after the accident and building up to his or her death.
Anchor Assigning liability in a wrongful death case is not always easy. However, you have a right to bring a lawsuit against a driver whose negligent actions may have robbed you of your loved one.
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Garrety, P.C. we understand the stress of losing your family member. We offer caring legal support to help you obtain justice for your loved one and to recover the damages you deserve. Give us a call today to speak to one of our knowledgeable attorneys.