20-5-106. Injury resulting in death Succession to cause of action Beneficiary who is minor or legally incompetent.
(a) The right of action that a person who dies from injuries received from another, or whose death is caused by the wrongful act, omission, or killing by another, would have had against the wrongdoer, in case death had not ensued, shall not abate or be extinguished by the person's death but shall pass to the person's surviving spouse and, in case there is no surviving spouse, to the person's children or next of kin; to the person's personal representative, for the benefit of the person's surviving spouse or next of kin; to the person's natural parents or parent or next of kin if at the time of death decedent was in the custody of the natural parents or parent and had not been legally surrendered or abandoned by them pursuant to any court order removing such person from the custody of such parents or parent; or otherwise to the person's legally adoptive parents or parent, or to the administrator for the use and benefit of the adoptive parents or parent; the funds recovered in either case to be free from the claims of creditors.
(b) In any case involving a beneficiary who is a minor or who is legally incompetent, if the court finds it is in the best interest of the beneficiary, the court in its discretion may authorize all or any portion of the funds recovered for the beneficiary to be added to any trust or trusts established for the benefit of the beneficiary, wherever situated, whether the trust was created by the person whose death was caused by the wrongful action or omission or by any other person. The funds recovered shall be for the benefit of the beneficiary and shall be free from the claims of creditors.
(c) As used in this section, ?person? includes a fetus that was viable at the time of injury. A fetus shall be considered viable if it had achieved a stage of development wherein it could reasonably be expected to be capable of living outside the uterus.
[Code 1858, § 2291 (deriv. Acts 1849-1850, ch. 58, § 1; 1851-1852, ch. 17); Acts 1871, ch. 78, § 1; Shan., § 4025; Code 1932, § 8236; Acts 1945, ch. 58, § 1; mod. C. Supp. 1950, § 8236; Acts 1953, ch. 210, § 1; 1959, ch. 240, § 1; 1975, ch. 284, § 1; 1978, ch. 742, § 1; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 20-607; Acts 1991, ch. 196, § 1; 1998, ch. 866, § 1.]
20-5-107. Prosecution of action by representative or surviving spouse or next of kin.
(a) The action may be instituted by the personal representative of the deceased or by the surviving spouse in the surviving spouse's own name, or, if there is no surviving spouse, by the children of the deceased or by the next of kin; also, without the consent of the personal representative, either may use the personal representative's name in bringing and prosecuting the suit, on giving bond and security for costs, or in the form prescribed for paupers. The personal representative shall not, in such case, be responsible for costs, unless the personal representative signs the prosecution bond in an individual capacity.
(b) In no event shall a parent be permitted to recover through an action commenced pursuant to subsection (a) until all child support arrearages, together with interest on the child support arrearages, at the legal rate of interest computed from the date each payment was due, have been paid in full to the parent ordered to receive the support or to the parent's estate if deceased.
(c) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a parent who has intentionally refused or neglected to pay any support for a child for a two-year period, or for the life of the child, whichever is less, when subject to a court order requiring the payment of child support and who has intentionally refused or neglected to contact the child or exercise visitation during such period, shall not be permitted to recover through an action commenced pursuant to subsection (a) and § 20-5-106.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the institution of an action by a child with respect to the death of a parent.
[Code 1858, § 2292 (deriv. Acts 1849-1850, ch. 58, §§ 1, 2; 1851-1852, ch. 17); Acts 1871, ch. 78, § 2; Shan., § 4026; mod. Code 1932, § 8237; Acts 1975, ch. 284, § 2; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 20-608; Acts 1994, ch. 939, § 1; 2003, ch. 25, § 1.]
20-5-112. Death of beneficiary during action.
No suit for personal injuries or death from a wrongful act, in any of the courts of this state, whether on appeal or otherwise, and whether in an inferior or appellate court, shall abate or be abated, because or on account of the death of the beneficiary or beneficiaries for whose use and benefit the suit was brought, and the suit shall be proceeded with to final judgment, as though the beneficiary or beneficiaries had not died, for the use and benefit of the next of kin of the deceased beneficiary.
[Acts 1903, ch. 317, § 1; Shan., § 4029a3; mod. Code 1932, § 8242; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 20-613.]
20-5-113. Damages recoverable in wrongful death.
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.
[Acts 1883, ch. 186, § 1; Shan., § 4029; Code 1932, § 8240; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), § 20-614.]