On June 15, 2018, our client was driving home from work just like she did every other day. During her daily commute, she was traveling through the right of way on a well known road in the industrial area. The defendant driver of a commercial vehicle failed stop for the traffic control sign, entering the intersection at a high rate of speed and violently struck our client’s vehicle. The impact forced her vehicle off the road, violently striking a utility pole. Many involved in a car wreck undergo arduous treatment in the hopes of a full recovery. While the treatment is painful, expensive, and inconvenient, it is towards the goal of resuming life normally.
While Mrs. Jones was treated for her injuries, she developed a blood clot and passed. She was never able to reap the benefits of her treatment. Mrs. Jones sustained injuries including, but not limited to, five (5) fractured ribs, a fractured sternum, severely comminuted medial cuneiform fracture with extension into the TMT joint and intertarsal joint, displaced dorsal medial cuneiform fracture, headaches, numbness in extremities, anxiety and depression. She suffered significantly from the fractured ribs and sternum from the date of the accident, 15 June 2018, until her death on 11 July 2018. In addition, she underwent surgery and sustained immobility as well as loss of life and enjoyment with her family for those nearly four weeks.
Tennessee Code Ann. § 20-5-113 states, “Where a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act, fault or omission of another and suit is brought for damages, as provided for by §§ 20-5-106 and 20-5-107, the party suing shall, if entitled to damages, have the right to recover for the mental and physical suffering, loss of time and necessary expenses resulting to the deceased from the personal injuries, and also the damages resulting to the parties for whose use and benefit the right of action survives from the death consequent upon the injuries received.”
Tennessee Code Ann. § 20-5-113 gives rise to a single cause of action vested in the representative of the decedent, under which two types of damages may be recovered: 1) Actual damages to the deceased, which include pain and suffering, medical expenses and funeral costs; and 2) Pecuniary value of the life of the deceased, based on life expectancy, age, condition of health and strength, capacity for labor and for earning money, and personal habits as to sobriety and industry. Alexander v. Beale St. Blues Co., 108 F. Supp. 2d 934, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22251 (W.D. Tenn. 1999).
In Beard v. Brandson, 528 S.W.3d 487, 2017 Tenn. LEXIS 540, the Tennessee Supreme Court, while explaining Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-5-113 stated, “Thus, the statutory beneficiaries may recover both damages suffered by the decedent (like true survival statutes) and also damages suffered by the beneficiaries (like purely wrongful death statutes). “Hence, survivors of the deceased may recover damages for their losses suffered as a result of the death as well as damages sustained by the deceased from the time of injury to the time of death.” Jordan v. Baptist Three Rivers Hosp., 984 S.W.2d 593, 1999Tenn. LEXIS 43 (Tenn.1999) (emphasis in original) (citing Jones, 539 S.W.2d at 124); id. At 601 (holding that consortium-type damages suffered by the beneficiaries may be included as an element of the pecuniary value of the decedent in a wrongful death action).”
Loss of consortium may be considered when calculating the pecuniary value of a deceased’s life. Jordan, supra. Loss of consortium consists of several elements, encompassing not only tangible services provided by a family member, but also intangible benefits each family member receives from the continued existence of other family members, including attention, guidance, care, protection, training, companionship, cooperation, affection, love and in the case of a spouse, sexual relations.
G3 settled this claim for $750,000.00.
*We used the pseudonym, Danielle Jones, to protect our client.*