Case Who Has the Right to bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit or Claim

Kacy Hagerty: Well, there's a new law on bringing a wrongful death lawsuit and who has the right to pursue a claim? Attorney Jim Higgins with The Higgins Firm recently stopped by to bring us up to date and tell us about a recent case they won.

All right, Jim, great to have you back in the studio with us.

Jim Higgins: Thank you.

Kacy Hagerty: All right. Your firm recently won a case. That was actually the first of its kind. So, this was about who has the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Tell us a little bit about what happened here?

Jim Higgins: Right. You know, this was a touch case and it was a case where a lady died an automobile accident. She was married at the time she died but really just on paper. They'd never gone through a divorce. The husband was living with another woman, had been for a long time, had an extensive criminal record.

And immediately after she died, he filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit. She had four children. He settled that lawsuit, took a really big chunk of the money. And so, what we did is we came in and representing those kids. We went to the Court of Appeals and under a new statute that had just come down, we argued that he had abandoned his wife. And because of that, he couldn't profit from her death and take from these kids who just really needed it.

And the Court of Appeals agree with us. They remanded it and it's been ordered to return all that – that money, we're getting that money back for the – for the children. So, it was a- it was a long – think about it a year and half and these are hard cases. But at the end, I think it was a good thing for the kids.

Kacy Hagerty: Yes. It's going to make you feel good for the outcome to be like that. So, are legal fights like this over who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit common? Do you see this often?

Jim Higgins: You know, our – obviously, our office handles a lot of what I would call kind of high damage tort cases, truck cases, nursing home neglect cases. Most of the time, when someone comes in our office, they come as a family. So there really is not that common to have a fight. But it happens. You know, it does. There's – it's a stressful time and there can be divisions and it can be tough to determine who has that right to direct a lawsuit and a lot of – it could be a hard fault. A lot of times, people feel they need that for closure and everything else.

Kacy Hagerty: Absolutely. Before we go today, tell them a little bit about the different divisions you have at The Higgins Firm. You're helping out a lot of people during some really tough times.

Jim Higgins: Sure. Well, I think the most common on cases like this is we have certain divisions so that all they do are handled cases where somebody's passed away a wrongful death case or a medical malpractice or nursing home neglect and those are cases that are really difficult to go through and we have divisions that focus on that because you’ve got to know who the experts are, their expensive cases and you need olawyers who understand us.

So I think we have a good group and have a pretty big success record that. And of course, we also have an employment law section and probate and estate planning. We try to kind of be an all-encompassing law firm. We help somebody. We want them to feel free to come back and help them anyway we can.

Kacy Hagerty: That's right. Helping out a lot of people, Jim. Thanks so much.

Jim Higgins: Thank you.

Kacy Hagerty: The Higgins Firm is serving Tennessee. Give them a call at (615) 924-8500 or go to higginsfirm.com.