Accident victims can suffer immeasurable harm due to someone else’s negligence. Unfortunately, there are limits on how much victims or their families can recover in a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Tennessee is among a growing number of states where the law places strict limits on the amount of money a person can recover for injuries, without regard to the unique facts or circumstances of each case. It is crucial that you have a knowledgeable Tennessee personal injury attorney on your side who understands these caps on damages and can fight to maximize your recovery after a catastrophic accident.
Contact the Law Office of David E. Gordon today to discuss your case and get answers to your legal questions. An initial consultation is free, and there is no charge for us to begin work on your claim. In fact, we only charge a fee if and when we recover money for you.
The limits on damages in personal injury claims in Tennessee can be a bit complex. In general, the law places limits on both non-economic and punitive damages. However, in cases involving catastrophic injury, the damage caps are higher. The law does not limit the amount of economic damages a victim can recover.
The limits on damages in Tennessee are:
To better understand what this means, it is helpful to understand the types of damages available in a personal injury case.
The following are two basic types of damages awarded in personal injury claims with the purpose of compensating victims:
Economic Damages. Economic damages can be clearly quantified, such as:
Non-Economic Damages. Something is considered non-economic if it is not readily quantifiable in terms of numbers. This could include:
In addition, there is a third type of damages that is awarded in extreme cases:
Punitive Damages. These rare but highly effective damages are awarded as a means to punish wrongdoers and deter future conduct. For large, billion-dollar corporations, for example, the financial punishment levied by awarding punitive damages to a victim is meant to show that reckless and dangerous actions will seriously affect their bottom lines. Punitive damages send a message and create heavy incentives to stop extremely negligent or reckless conduct.
The law defines the following specific injury types as “catastrophic,” thus elevating potential non-economic damages to $1 million:
Wrongful death is considered a catastrophic injury, meaning the limit on non-economic damages is $1 million per person, if the decedent left minor children. Otherwise, the typical damage caps apply.
Yes. There are several exceptions that apply to these damage caps.
For punitive damages, the following exceptions apply:
Again, since there is no cap on economic damages, costs related to the following are still unlimited, so long as they can be substantiated:
Yes. In most cases, damages are limited to just $300,000 per person with a max of $1 million per event when suing the State of Tennessee. There are some exceptions, though, and any case involving the state will be complicated. So it is important that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Whether intended or not, one sad consequence of these damage caps is that some accident victims may never be truly compensated for the harm they have suffered, and juries do not get the final say in what a victim deserves. No matter how horrific or painful the injury and no matter how serious or long-term the damages, justice may be limited by the caps.
With more than 32 years of legal experience, David E. Gordon is a board-certified trial lawyer in Tennessee. Less than 2 percent of all attorneys in Tennessee share the distinction of being board certified.
So if you are facing the reality of a life-changing and devastating injury or loss due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve to have aggressive and skilled representation. At the Law Office of David E. Gordon, we never charge a fee for an initial consultation, and we only get paid if we are able to recover monetary compensation for our clients. So contact us today to schedule your own consultation and find out if we can help you, too.