Wrongful death is a kind of personal injury claim, but one in which the injured person can no longer file a claim, and others must do so. Wrongful death is one occurring as a result of “injuries received from another” or by “the wrongful act, omission, or killing by another” as defined by Tennessee law. Under this law, a wrongful death can be charged even if homicide has been charged or will be charged.
Who can claim wrongful death? Tennessee gives certain persons rights to bring a suit. First, a surviving spouse may make a claim. If there is not one, then surviving children, the estate’s personal representative, surviving parents, or the administrator of an estate may file, in that order.
Any charges must be brought within one year of the date of death.
The court may award damages in two categories, losses for emotional harm exerted on the survivors and losses the deceased person might have claimed had he or she lived.
In the first category, plaintiffs may receive awards relating to:
- No longer having the deceased person’s love and companionship.
- The physical and mental suffering of family
In the second category, family members may be entitled to:
- loss of earnings that could have been earned between the accident or injury and the death
- lost wages, including the value of wages and benefits the deceased would likely have earned if he or she had lived
- reasonable funeral and burial expenses
- the deceased person’s mental anguish as a result of the injury, accident, or illness
- the deceased’s loss of enjoyment of life