Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. For any parent whose child dies in a car accident, due to a fall, due to a defective product, due to medical error, or for any reason – the loss of a child is virtually unbearable. Each day that goes by, a parent will miss the child more and more and will wonder how their child would have developed had she/he survived.
In Tennessee, provided the child was a dependent of his/her parents, the parents are entitled to wrongful death benefits. Generally, either parent can file the wrongful death claim.
What damages are permitted for parents of a minor child who was wrongfully killed?
It seems callous, we know, that the laws are designed to place a numeric value on what you know was priceless. But this is what the laws do when it comes to wrongful death claims: they allow for the assessment of damages, so that you don’t have to worry about the financial burdens of, say, medical bills, while dealing with the loss of your child.
Under TCA 20-5-113, parents can claim damages for:
- The mental and physical suffering of each parent. This part of the claim includes such factors as the value of the comfort, companionship, affection, love and society the child would have provided the parents. Parents can also demand damages for their personal grief and suffering due to the death of their child.
- The “loss of time and necessary expenses resulting to the deceased from the personal injuries.” This part includes the funeral bills and burial expenses. It also includes any future income the child would have earned and would have provided his/her parents during the child’s lifetime.
- “The damages resulting to the parties for whose use and benefit the right of action survives from the death consequent upon the injuries received.” This claim covers any medical bills the child incurred between the timing of the accident and the date of the child’s death. It also includes the pain and suffering of the child if the accident did not result in immediate death. In short, this part of the claim covers what damages the child would have been entitled had the child survived the accident.
Other financial loss factors include life expectancy, the child’s capacity to work in a trade or profession, and the personal habits of the child, depending on the child’s age. If the defendant’s conduct was intentional or reckless, the parents may also file a claim for punitive damages.
These types of claims are more complex than other types of wrongful death claims, so it is important that you seek legal counsel before you proceed.
At Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, our Sevierville wrongful death lawyers understand how crushing and devastating it is when a child dies before the parents pass on. We respect your need to mourn and grieve for you child. While we understand that no compensation can ever be enough, we fight to help you protect your family. For help when tragedy strikes and a young person is taken too soon – call our caring personal injury lawyers at call 865-280-3686 or complete our contact form to discuss your case. We represent families in Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the surrounding Tennessee areas.