Does TN have Caps on Medical Liability Damages?

Medical mistakes happen more often than most people realize. When someone is harmed due to the careless or negligent actions of a healthcare provider or agency, they should be able to file a lawsuit to recover what they have lost. However, these cases can become incredibly complex, and there are caps on how much a person can recover in a medical malpractice case under Tennessee law. If you have been injured due to a medical mistake, consider seeking help from a knowledgeable and experienced Nashville medical malpractice lawyer.

What kind of damages can a person receive in these cases?

When a person is harmed due to a medical mistake, there are various damages they can seek to recover in a lawsuit. These can include:

  • Coverage of doctor’s bills and hospital stays
  • Costs associated with medication at the hospital and at home
  • Expenses for visits to physical and occupational therapists
  • Fees for care from psychiatrists, psychologists, or mental health counselors
  • Costs for medical devices, including wheelchairs, walkers, implants, or prosthetics
  • Costs of modifying a person’s home or vehicle to ease mobility
  • Lost income if a person cannot work due to their injury
  • The costs of a person’s daily physical and emotional suffering that resulted from the mistake

The caps on medical malpractice damages in Tennessee

When a person can only claim a certain amount of money for the damages listed above, it is called a “cap” on the damages. Tennessee does have medical liability caps in place. They include:

  • $750,000 cap for non-economic damages. This includes anything that is not quantifiable and generally means pain and suffering damages. This cap applies when if the injuries were due to a single act of malpractice or through a series of errors.
  • $1,000,000 cap for cases involving catastrophic injuries. This includes:
    • Cases in which there was spinal cord damages that resulted in paralysis.
    • Two hands, two feet, or one of each were amputated.
    • A person suffers 3rd degree burns over the face or 40% of their body.
    • There was “wrongful death” of a parent with minor children.

These caps do not apply when the act that caused the injury was willful, meaning that it was done to intentionally cause a person harm. They also do not apply if the person responsible, or the agency they work for, took steps to evade liability in the case by destroying, concealing, or altering evidence.

How common is medical malpractice?

Researchers from Johns Hopkins say that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Some reports say that around 250,000 people a year are killed due to medical mistakes. Many millions more are injured and left dealing with the consequences of these mistakes. Some of the most common types of medical malpractice include:

  • Surgical mistakes
  • Missed diagnosis
  • Failure to treat
  • Medication errors
  • Birth injuries (to the baby and mother)
  • Early discharge from the hospital
  • Healthcare-acquired infections

There are various types of medical professionals who can be held liable for medical malpractice, including:

  • Primary care physician
  • ER doctors
  • Nurses
  • Optometrists
  • Dentists
  • Surgeons
  • EMTs and paramedics
  • And more

Additionally, the agencies or companies that these providers work for can also be held liable for malpractice for negligent hiring practice or if there is a systemic problem that raised the possibility that a mistake could be made. Speak with our Nashville, TN injury lawyers today.