What Are the Caps for Personal Injury Damages in Tennessee? Get All the Answers Right Here
According to Tennessee personal injury laws, the victim is entitled to receive compensation for their injuries, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the personal injury claim.
However, this does not mean that defendants will be asked to pay whatever amount the victim wants. There are caps put on some of the damages awarded to victims to protect the defendant and make sure that the victim receives fair compensation.
What are the caps for personal injury damages in Tennessee? Do these caps apply to a wrongful death claim? How can a victim determine how much compensation their personal injury lawsuit is worth?
These are some of the questions we will answer in the following article. Tennessee victims seeking fair compensation in their personal injury and wrongful death cases can call Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys and ask for a free consultation. They answer questions like, "How long do most personal injury cases take?"
Three Types of Damages Related To Personal Injury Claims
Depending on whether the victim suffered minor or catastrophic injuries, Tennessee courts usually award the following types of damages in personal injury cases:
In most cases, the bulk of the settlement awarded to the plaintiff in a personal injury claim is meant to cover economic damages. These are payments that are calculated according to the monetary losses the plaintiff suffers.
The following are some of the most common types of economic damages awarded to victims:
Loss of earning potential
Future medical costs
Of all the types of damages awarded to the plaintiff, economic damages are the easiest to determine. This is because, in most Tennessee personal injury cases, the plaintiff's attorney only needs to provide receipts and income statements to show their client's losses.
Accident victims, however, usually suffer in other ways that are difficult to quantify. This is why Tennessee law makes room for compensatory damages awarded to victims for non-economic damages/losses.
These damages are usually left to the discretion of the courts regarding how much to award the victims in personal injury lawsuits.
Non-economic damages are meant to cover the following:
Pain and suffering
Loss of enjoyment of life
Loss of consortium
Emotional and mental anguish
In rare Tennessee injury cases, the courts may feel that even after awarding the victims maximum compensation, the defendant must be punished further due to the nature of their actions.
If it can be shown that the defendant acted fraudulently, recklessly, or maliciously, punitive damages may be awarded to the victims.
Important Tennessee Damage Caps
When victims try to recover compensation through a personal injury claim or wrongful death action, damage cap laws are used to determine how much a personal injury case is worth.
A statutory cap is imposed on the damages awarded to victims according to the following recommendations:
Cap on Economic Damages
In Tennessee personal injury claims, there is no cap imposed on economic damages. This is because it is easy to determine what constitutes fair compensatory damages just by looking at the expenses the victim had to shoulder as well as the income they lost while recovering from their injuries.
Cap on Non-economic Damages
On the other hand, non-economic damages are limited to a cap of $750,000. However, if the plaintiff suffered a catastrophic injury, or in the case of a wrongful death of a parent of a minor child, the cap on non-economic damages can be increased to 1 million dollars.
The following are the injuries or scenarios that can result in the cap on non-economic damages being increased:
Spinal cord injury lawsuit
Third-degree burns covering more than 40% of the body
Amputation of both hands, both feet or one of each
Wrongful death of a parent leaving behind a surviving minor child
Cap on Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are not usually awarded in most personal injury lawsuits unless the defendants acted in a particularly malicious manner. As such, not many people bother asking about or seeking punitive damages.
However, in those few cases where punitive damages are awarded, the cap is limited to twice the total damages awarded to the victim or $500,000, whichever is more.
Does Tennessee Have a Wrongful Death Cap?
Yes, a wrongful death claim falls under non-economic damages, and therefore, is subject to the $750,000 cap. However, as mentioned earlier, in special cases involving, for example, the death of a parent of a minor child, the cap will increase to $1 million.
Exceptions to the Cap on Non-Economic Damages
Other special cases may be regarded as exceptions to the cap imposed on non-economic damages, such as:
When a wrongful death claim regards minor children who the plaintiff had custody or visitation rights to.
Injury and pain and suffering caused by someone else's negligence and actions while they were intoxicated.
Serious injuries that result in the victim suffering paraplegia or quadriplegia.
Damages caused by the intentional actions of the defendant.
A case involving the destruction of important documents/records in an attempt to deceive the Tennessee Supreme Court and conceal any wrongdoing.
Limits When Suing the State Government
If the defendant in the personal injury lawsuit is the Tennessee government, the most victims can sue for is $300,000 per person. In special circumstances, this cap may be increased to $1 million.
However, suing the state government is a very complicated task. If victims wish to get fair compensatory damages in such cases, they will need to hire very experienced personal injury attorneys to fight for their rights.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help Victims Calculate the Damages They Can Receive
Even a minor injury can result in additional medical expenses and lost wages to the victim. It is not fair for victims to shoulder these expenses instead of those whose negligence caused the injuries.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys will go to war to make sure that the at-fault party does not evade liability and pays the injured person the full settlement that is due. They can also answer questions like, "Do I have to pay medical bills from my settlement?"
Victims who have suffered severe injuries or a catastrophic loss need to call Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys as soon as possible and schedule a free case evaluation.