In Tennessee, people who have been injured in an accident may be surprised to learn that the amount of damages they can recover has been capped by the Tennessee legislature. Tennessee lawmakers set limits on the number of damages that an injured person can recover in most cases by enacting the Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011.
An injured person can recover 100% of their lost economic damages (medical expenses, lost wages) in most cases. However, recovery of damages for noneconomic damages (pain and suffering, permanent impairment, emotional distress, disfigurement) in most cases cannot exceed $750,000. Punitive damages are also capped by Tennessee law at an amount equal to the greater of: (1) Two times the total amount of compensatory damages awarded; or (2) $500,000.
Some exceptions to the damages caps have been included within the law. For example, if a case involves a categorized "catastrophic" injury, an injured person may recover up to an additional $250,000 for noneconomic damages. Additionally, there are some exceptions to the damages caps for (1) cases involving intentional conduct that causes injuries, (2) cases where evidence has been falsified, destroyed, or concealed by the at-fault party, (3) cases involving some accidents caused by intoxication, and (4) cases in which the at-fault party was convicted of a criminal felony as a result of the conduct that caused the injuries.
The laws controlling what amount of damages you can recover for a personal injury claim in Tennessee can be confusing. If you are interested in pursuing a claim for damages as a result of a car wreck or other accidental injury, you should contact a lawyer to learn more about how the Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011 may affect your rights.