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What damages are available in a wrongful death lawsuit?

Losing a loved one is difficult no matter the circumstances. For some people, filing a lawsuit against the negligent party that caused the death can help to ease the financial burden that the loss creates. If you have found yourself in such a position, you should be aware of the damages that are available to you.

Through filing a claim, you may be eligible for essentially two types of damages: the damages incurred prior to the death and the damages incurred after the death. For example, if your loved one was in a car accident and died in the hospital a week later, damages prior to death could include the medical expenses and any lost wages. The deceased's pain and suffering could also be taken into account.

Damages following the death might include the following:

  •        Funeral and burial costs
  •        Wage replacement
  •        Loss of consortium

There may be a circumstance in which a court finds the defendant especially negligent. In those cases, which are rare, the court could also order the defendant to pay punitive damages.

Generally, these damages may be awarded to the deceased's spouse, children or parents, depending on the circumstances. Tennessee permits a spouse, child, parent or the executor or administrator of an estate to file the suit.

In Tennessee, the law states that you have one year from the date of the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. As the Tennessee Bar Association points out, you must file the lawsuit in the court associated with where the action occurred or the court associated with where the defendant lives.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

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