Compensatory Damages In Tennessee Personal Injury Cases

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, you will likely be entitled to certain types of compensation.

However, personal injury claims can be complicated. Determining how much compensation a person should receive can present certain challenges. Here, we want to discuss compensatory damages. Specifically, we want to cover the various types of compensation a person can receive – special damages and general damages.

Understanding Special Damages in a Tennessee Personal Injury Case

Special damages are also referred to as “economic damages” in a personal injury case. These types of damages revolve around compensation that is not too difficult to calculate after an injury occurs. Some of the most common economic damages in a personal injury claim in Tennessee include the following:

  • Medical bills
  • The cost of physical therapy or rehabilitation
  • Lost income
  • General household out-of-pocket expenses
  • Property damage expenses

When working to calculate the total special damages that an injury victim should receive, a personal injury attorney will collect bills, receipts, pay stubs, tax returns, and more to gather hard evidence that is difficult to refute.

Understanding General Damages in a Tennessee Personal Injury Case

General damages are also referred to as “non-economic damages” in a personal injury case. These types of damages revolve around the types of compensation that are more immeasurable and harder to calculate. You may have heard these damages refer to as “pain and suffering damages.” Specifically, this can refer to an injury victim’s physical and emotional pain and suffering. Some of the most common types of general damages in a Tennessee personal injury case can include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship or consortium for a spouse

Properly calculating the total general damages in a Tennessee personal injury case and present challenges, as there are no direct bills or receipts that can be added up. In these cases, an attorney will usually use a “multiplier method” that involves adding up the total special damages and then multiplying them by a set number to reach the total general damages. It is important to point out that the state of Tennessee places a damage cap on non-economic damages of $750,000. This limitation is slightly higher for various catastrophic injuries.

What About Punitive Damages?

In rare instances, personal injury victims may be awarded punitive damages in Tennessee. However, the law in Tennessee specifically says that punitive damages can only be awarded if the plaintiff can prove that the defendant acted maliciously, intentionally, or recklessly when they caused the injury in question. Additionally, Tennessee places a punitive damage limitation of $500,000 or two times the amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater.

Why do you Need an Attorney for a Tennessee Personal Injury Case?

It can be difficult to properly understand how much compensation that person can receive after a Tennessee personal injury occurs. Victims should work with an attorney who can use their resources and legal expertise to properly investigate every aspect of the claim. An attorney can work with trusted medical and economic experts to evaluate the total compensatory damages that the victim should receive.