Tennessee, like other states, allows surviving family members to bring a civil action against individuals or businesses responsible for the death of a person. Wrongful death lawsuits let spouses, children and parents of someone who dies unnecessarily seek financial compensation for their losses related to that untimely death.
Most of the time, wrongful death lawsuits involve family members seeking specific compensation for provable losses. Lost wages and medical costs incurred prior to death are common examples of compensation people may seek in a wrongful death lawsuit. Does Tennessee also allow surviving family members to request punitive damages from the responsible party?
What are punitive damages?
As the name implies, punitive damages are intended to punish the responsible party rather than to specifically offset losses incurred by the victim. Punitive damages are a way for the legal system to create financial consequences that drive home the seriousness of the situation and the impact it has had on the deceased and other members of the community. Tennessee does allow family members to seek punitive damages in specific cases.
When are punitive damages an option in a wrongful death case?
In order to bring a wrongful death claim, surviving family members typically have to show that either misconduct or negligence caused the death of their loved one. In order to request punitive damages as part of that lawsuit, they will need to demonstrate that the defendants either engaged in gross negligence or intentional, illegal behavior or misconduct.
Provided that you can show that the circumstances meet that standard, the courts may award you punitive damages as a means of punishing the responsible party. An experienced attorney can help you seek the damages to which you’re entitled.