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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed by Police Officer’s Family

The parents of a Nashville Metro police officer have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a driver that struck and killed their son. Michael Petrina, 25, had been on the force for less than one year when the fatal accident occurred on the Old Hickory Boulevard exit on the interstate in May 2014.

According to the complaint filed by his family, Officer Petrina was assisting the Tennessee Department of Transportation with an accident that had taken place on the interstate exit. He was struck and killed by a motorhome carrying a trailer that was driven by Dean Diver, 72, of Ohio. At the time of the accident, Mr. Diver told the police that he could not change lanes because of the traffic. He said that he was attempting to drive between the Department of Transportation vehicles and Officer Petrina’s police cruiser.

Mr. Diver is also facing criminal charges stemming from the accident of reckless homicide and failure to yield. He was scheduled to appear in court for those charges at the end of May. He has yet to respond to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Officer Petrina’s family.

Tennessee Wrongful Death Act

Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-5-106 defines what the state considers to be a wrongful death lawsuit, who can bring the claims, and who can collect from the parties responsible. The statute states that wrongful death occurs when “a person . . . dies from injuries received by another, or whose death is caused by a wrongful act, omission, or by killing another.” Because the person who died cannot file a claim on their own behalf, the right to the lawsuit passes on to the person’s spouse, children, or next of kin such as their parents.

The same section of law also provides that if the next person to collect from the wrongful death lawsuit is a child that the damages collected can be placed in trust for their benefit. In addition, Tennessee includes an unborn fetus as a possible person to file a wrongful death case for, provided that it had developed to the point of being viable outside of the womb.

Compensation for Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-5-113 describes what damages can be collected by a person’s loved ones in a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute states that a claimant can collect “for the mental and physical suffering, loss of time and necessary expenses resulting to the deceased from the personal injuries, and also the damages resulting to the parties for whose use and benefit the right of action survives from the death consequent upon the injuries received.” This includes:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Lost wages (present and future);
  • Funeral costs;
  • Loss of inheritance;
  • Loss of companionship;
  • Loss of consortium;
  • Emotional distress;

…and other damages that are considered to be for the benefit of the survivors in the wrongful death case.

Our Attorneys Can Help

If your loved one has died because of the negligent or reckless acts of another in the Nashville area, the experienced wrongful death attorneys at Calhoun Law, PLC can help. Call the office or contact us today.

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