Day on Torts

The Tortfeasor Dies Before Suit Was Filed. Now What?

Your new client thought she could avoid hiring a lawyer and instead work out on her own a settlement with the insurance claims representative for the other driver. The dance lasted 10 months. “Wait until the end of medical treatment.” “Sign these forms.” “Send me your medical bills.” “I need your EOB forms.” “Your employer needs to confirm in writing your lost wages.” And so on.

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Forum Not Agreeing

Tort lawyers come upon the issue of “forum not agreeing”[1] a couple times a year. A typical scenario: Innocence Jones, a resident of Bucksnort, Tennessee, is horrifically hurt while vacationing in Panama City, Florida. The harm was caused by a truck driven by an employee (Darren Ulysses Inkama) of CareLess LLC, a Delaware entity with significant operations in Orange Seed, Florida. CareLess is a large entity that does business in many states, including owning and operating a manufacturing plant with more than 100 employees in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Surviving Spouses and Wrongful Death Claims

Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 20-5-106(a) and 20-5-110(a) tell us that the surviving spouse has the superior right to bring a wrongful death case.[1] Absent the surviving spouse’s affirmative waiver of that right or the circumstances discussed below, the spouse’s right trumps any right of the decedent’s executor, administrator or children to file a wrongful death action and control the litigation. But under what circumstances does a surviving spouse lose the right to bring and maintain the action?

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