No east Tennessee wrongful death lawsuit will be successful unless the plaintiff can prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant breached at least one duty of care that was owed to him or her and that this breach of duty was the proximate cause of the damages for which the plaintiff seeks compensation. However, proving the essential elements of negligence is just one step in the process of asserting one’s legal rights following a loved one’s death caused by another individual, a business, or a governmental entity.
The reality is that, regardless of how strong the plaintiff’s case might be, recovering fair compensation in a personal injury or wrongful death case depends heavily on whether or not the negligent party was insured. Technically, the plaintiff can pursue collection on a judgment by attaching the defendant’s assets, garnishing his or her wages, and the like, but this is usually a very slow process and one that, at best, typically yields only a fraction of the amount of money to which the plaintiff was entitled.
Because of the power of the insurance company lobbyists, jurors rarely hear a word about insurance. The insurance company would much rather jurors believe that every penny of a judgment was coming out of the defendant’s pocket – the idea being that a lower judgment will result when a person, not a big insurance company, is paying the plaintiff what he or she is due. Sometimes, however, there are cases in which the insurance company is front and center in a lawsuit.