The following section from Day on Torts Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law​​​ is out of date and should not be used. It remains a part of this site for historical purposes only. An updated version of the book is available by subscription at (Additional information below.)

§15.17 Effect of Injured Plaintiff’s Fault on Recoverability in Loss of Consortium Claimant’s Action

The Case : Tuggle v. Allright Parking Systems, Inc., 922 S.W.2d 105 (Tenn. 1996).

The Basic Facts: Plaintiff's husband asserted claim for loss of consortium in slip in fall case.

The Bottom Line:

  • "We deem it necessary to resolve a question of first impression - whether, under comparative fault principles, the recovery of a spouse claiming loss of consortium should be reduced or barred by the fault of the physically injured spouse." 922 S.W.2d at 108.
  • "We begin our analysis with a brief review of the law in this State as it relates to loss of consortium. In Tennessee, 'despite being a separate claim from that of an injured spouse for other damages, loss of consortium is also a derivative claim in that the physical injuries or incapacities of one's spouse give rise to and establish the claim.' Jackson v. Miller, 776 S.W.2d 115, 117 (Tenn. App. 1989); see also Swafford v. City of Chattanooga, 743 S.W.2d 174, 178 (Tenn. App. 1987)."Id.
  • "The clear majority of jurisdictions, however, hold that a loss of consortium award must be reduced, and may be barred, by the comparative fault of the physically injured spouse." Id. at 108-09 (footnote omitted).
  • "According to the majority of jurisdictions, reducing the recovery of a spouse claiming loss of consortium in proportion to the fault of the physically injured spouse is the simplest and easiest way to achieve a just result and insure that a loss resulting from an accident is distributed among those whose negligence caused it. Id." Id. at 109 (citation omitted).
  • "Because we are persuaded that the majority rule is the better reasoned rule and is consistent with prior Tennessee decisions describing a claim for loss of consortium as derivative, and consistent with our purpose in adopting comparative fault which was to achieve fairness, McIntyre v. Balentine, 833 S.W.2d at 58, we conclude that the majority view, which holds that the fault of the physically injured spouse either reduces or bars recovery on the other spouse's loss of consortium claim, should be adopted as the law in this State." Id.

Other Sources of Note : Hunter v. Ura, 163 S.W.3d 686 (Tenn. 2005) (holding that the trial court erred when it granted the widowed-plaintiff eight (8) peremptory challenges because of a loss of consortium claim brought on behalf of minor children; however, error determined to be harmless).

After an accident, many injury victims and their families want more information on the accident and their legal rights. Consequently, many of them have found their way to these pages. While we are happy you are here, please understand Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law was written to be a quick, invaluable reference for Tennessee tort lawyers. While the book provides the leading case for more than 300 tort law subjects and thousands of related case citations, it is not a substitute for personalized legal advice from a qualified lawyer.

Rather than researching these legal issues alone, we urge you to contact one of our award-winning lawyers who can sit down with you, review your case, answer your questions and clearly explain your rights and your options in a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced attorneys handle all personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we win. If for any reason you are unable to come to our office, we will gladly come to you.

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The foregoing is an excerpt from Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law, published by John A. Day, Civil Trial Specialist, Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, recipient of Best Lawyers in America recognition, Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ rated attorney, and Top 100 Tennessee Mid-South Super Lawyers designee. Read John’s full bio here.

The book is now available electronically by subscription at The new format allows us to keep the book current as new opinions are released. BirdDog Law also has John's Tennessee Law of Civil Trial and Compendium of Tennessee Tort Reform Statutes available by subscription, as well as multiple free resources to help Tennessee lawyers serve their clients

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