Does Life Insurance Impact Damages Awarded in Tennessee Wrongful Death Cases?

As Tennessee wrongful death lawyers who represent the families of wrongful death victims, we are occasionally asked whether the fact that victim’s family received life insurance as a result of the death impacts the amount of money that is awarded by a jury in a wrongful death case.  That answer is no – the person or corporation who caused the death does not pay less money in damages because the decedent had life insurance.

There is only one group of people and corporations who argue to the contrary, and that is health care providers.  They argue that a special law passed by the Tennessee General Assembly gives them the right to a "credit" for any life insurance paid as a result of the death.  This argument is made when the life insurance is not paid for out of the decedent’s personal money and instead is provided by an employer or some other person or entity.  We believe this argument is not supported by Tennessee law and, in fact, there is no decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court that has addressed this specific issue.

For more information about Tennessee wrongful death litigation, click on any of the following links:

  1. How did the accident happen and who is to blame?
  2. Who has the right to file a wrongful death suit?
  3. What types of damages are recoverable in a wrongful death suit?
  4. If money is recovered, who gets it?
  5. What is the deadline for bringing a wrongful death suit in Tennessee?