Wrongful death recoveries in Tennessee are determined by what is called intestate succession. That is, wrongful death recoveries are distributed as if the person who died did so without a will. Even if the deceased died with a will, wrongful death proceeds are distributed in accord with Tennessee’s laws of intestate succession.
If the person who died was married without children, the surviving spouse is entitled to all the recovery. If the deceased has a spouse and children, recovery is divided between the spouse and the children, with the surviving spouse receiving a child’s share, or 1/3, whichever is greater. The surviving spouse usually has the priority right to bring the suit. If there is no surviving spouse, then a child has the right and any recovery would be divided equally among the children. If the deceased had no spouse or children, the parents of the deceased are entitled to the recovery.
Keep in mind that the person that brings the lawsuit does not control how the proceeds are distributed. There can be exceptions to the right to file and priority of distributions described above.
If your loved one died because of another individual’s negligence, contact our office online or call us at (423) 451-4999 for a free consultation to discuss your rights under the law.