What Damages are Available in a Tennessee Wrongful Death Case?

Nobody should ever have to worry about how to handle the untimely death of a loved one. However, there are times when the careless or negligent actions of others lead to tragedy for families in Tennessee. Wrongful death laws allow families of those who lose their life due to the actions of others to file lawsuits to recover compensation. Here, we want to discuss the main types of damages available through Tennessee wrongful death claims.

Types of Compensation Available

Family members of those who have lost their life due to the actions of others in Tennessee should be able to receive various types of compensation if their wrongful death claim is successful. Even though there is no amount of money that can replace the individual who lost their life, surviving family members can use this money to deal with the financial burdens that come after fatal accidents occur.

Wrongful death compensation covers various types of damages, and it is crucial to work with a skilled Nashville wrongful death attorney who can enlist the assistance of trusted financial and economic experts in these situations.

  • Medical bills. This includes any medical expenses associated with the fatal accident, such as medications, surgery, in any treatment the individual received before their death.
  • Funeral and burial expenses. This includes the reasonable expenses for funeral and burial, including a viewing, basic service fees, transportation, casket, embalming, burial, and any other preparation costs.
  • Pain and suffering. The pain and suffering of the deceased will also be considered when calculating wrongful death damages and Tennessee. This is particularly important if the loss of life did occur immediately following the accident. The physical and emotional pain and suffering the deceased experienced before their death is compensable.
  • The pecuniary value of life. This refers to the lost future earning capacity of the deceased, minus the costs for daily living. Not only does this include wages, but it also includes the loss of the love, guidance, companionship, and affection of the deceased towards their family.

Who Can Recover Compensation?

Tennessee law is very specific about who can file wrongful death claims in civil court. The initial right to file a wrongful death claim falls to the spouse of the deceased. However, if there is no surviving spouse, the following individuals are allowed to file a wrongful death claim, in this order:

  • The children of the deceased
  • The surviving next of kin of the deceased
  • The personal representative of the deceased’s estate
  • The surviving parents of the deceased, if the deceased was dependent on them at the time of their death

Are There Limitations on How Much Compensation a Family Can Receive?

There are caps on some types of damages recoverable through wrongful death claims in Tennessee. First, there is no limitation on how much compensation a family can receive for economic expenses. This includes medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, property damage expenses, and other calculable expenses.

However, Tennessee does place a cap on personal injury and wrongful death non-economic damages. This cap is $750,000. This includes damages related to the pain and suffering of the deceased before their death as well as the pain and suffering of the surviving family members as a result of the death. However, the wrongful death of a parent or minor child sees a $1 million cap for pain and suffering damages.