Can I Sue a Murderer?

My brother killed our mother.  My brother and I are her only children.  Can I sue him? 

Under Tennessee law someone has the right to sue your brother and it might be you.  The act of murder under the criminal law is known as "battery" in the civil law.  One who commits an act of battery must pay damages for the harm he or she causes.

Your father would have the right to file suit assuming he is still alive and was married to your mother at the time of her death.

If your father predeceased your mother or was not married to her at the time of her death, you would have the right to file suit against your brother unless your mother had re-married at the time of her death.  If she had remarried, her husband would have the primary right to file suit.  

The fact that your father or your mother’s husband may have the principle right to file suit doesn’t mean that you do not share in the recovery.  In this situation under Tennessee law, you would be entitled to 50% of any recovery they are able to recover.

If your mother was not survived by a husband, you would have the right to file suit and would be able to keep 100% of any recovery.