What Is the Maximum Amount of Damages That Can Be Recovered In A Tennessee Wrongful Death Case?

A new law in Tennessee limits the amount of damages that can be awarded in a Tennessee wrongful death case.  

Under the new law, the family of a person who has died as a result of the negligent conduct of another person or company is limited to recovery of the following types of damages"

  1. Medical bills caused by the negligence.
  2. Funeral Bills.
  3. Lost earning capacity from the time of injury to death.
  4. Future lost earning capacity reduced by future personal maintenance expense.

There is no limit on the amount of money that can be awarded for these types of  losses.  The actual amount of money that can be recovered will depend on the evidence of the amount of loss for each one of these elements of loss.

In addition, the law permits the recovery of damages for pre-death pain and suffering caused by the negligence, as well as damages for the loss of a spouse and father.  If the decedent is an unmarried child, the parents may seek damages for the loss of a child.  If the decedent is an unmarried, childless  sibling, damages may be sought by the decedent’s siblings for the loss of a brother or sister.

The amount of these later losses ("intangible losses"  or "non-economic losses") is limited to $750,000, except under certain limited circumstances.  For instance, if the decedent left behind minor children, the damage cap increases to $1,000,000.  There are a few other exceptions as well.

The fact that intangible damages are limited to $750,000 (or,in some instances, $1,000,000) does not mean that your case is automatically worth at least that amount.  First, it is necessary to prove that someone negligently caused the death. Second, it is necessary to prove the amount of damages actually lost / suffered.  The damage cap on intangible losses sets a cap, not a floor, on the amount of damages.  

The Tennessee  law on wrongful death cases has changed dramatically in the past few years, and it is essential that you work with an experienced wrongful death lawyer who stays current with the law in this area.   Feel free to contact us for a free consultation about your case.  You may reach us via our toll-free number (866-812-8787 or our Contact Form.