Is There A Cap On Personal Injury Damages In Tennessee?

Anytime you or a loved one sustain an injury that was caused by the careless and negligent actions of someone else, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury claim. There are various types of compensation available to victims in these cases, and one of the main questions people have is how much they will receive in total damages. The total amount a person receives will depend on various factors related to their particular case. Here, we examine what types of damages are available in personal injury claims in Tennessee, as well as whether or not there are any caps on these damages. If you believe you have a personal injury claim in Tennessee, contact our Nashville personal injury attorneys.

Are there limits on personal injury damages in Tennessee?

On October 1, 2011, Tennessee tort laws were changed. These laws were modified to include a cap on how much compensation a person can recover through a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Under state law, there is a limit of $750,000 for personal injury lawsuits, but this limit only applies to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and permanent injury damages.

There is currently no cap in Tennessee on how much a victim can recover for damages related to economic damages such as medical expenses or lost wages.

The Tennessee Supreme Court recently heard a case challenging the statutory cap on non-economic damages in civil cases. However, the state Supreme Court upheld these limitations.

Are there any exceptions to the cap on Tennessee personal injury damages?

There are exceptions to the personal injury cap put in place by Tennessee laws on non-economic damages. Certain exceptions have been allowed, and the $750,000 limit will not apply in the following situations:

  • When a person’s injuries render them paraplegic or quadriplegic due to a spinal cord injury.
  • When both hands and feet of a victim have been amputated in an accident (the cap would still apply if it was a hand and a foot that were amputated).
  • When the injured person suffers from extensive third degree burns.
  • When the person that caused the injury was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
  • When the case is for wrongful death, and the victim is a minor child to whom a plaintiff had visitation rights or custody.

If any of these situations apply, the limitation on damages is increased to $1 million as opposed to $750,000.

What kinds of compensation are available for personal injury cases in Tennessee?

There are various types of compensation available to the victims who sustain an injury caused by the negligence of another person, company, or entity. Generally, the following economic and non-economic damages are attainable:

  • The total cost of medical bills that resulted from the incident
  • All lost wages and benefits a victim incurs due to their injuries
  • Any out-of-pocket expenses a victim occurs due to their injury
  • Pain and suffering damages (limitations apply)
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages (limitations apply)

In some instances, punitive damages may be awarded if the plaintiff can prove clear and convincing evidence that the defendant in the case acted maliciously, fraudulently, recklessly, or intentionally. Tennessee law also places a cap on these damages. In this state, punitive damages are limited to two times the total amount of compensatory damages awarded, or $500,000 (TN Code § 29-39-104 (2014)).