Complaint for a Car Wreck against an Individual Defendant

This is a basic complaint for personal injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident with an individual defendant. Download file. It contains allegations of common law negligence and negligence per se, but does not provide for vicarious liability of any parent or employer.
Note that the prayer for relief does not include a specific monetary amount in the ad damnum. Tenn. R. Civ. P. 8.01 does not require a specific dollar amount when initiating suit, and using an open-ended ad damnum like the one in this complaint can help you avoid prematurely valuing a case. However, a long history of Tennessee case law says that a plaintiff cannot recover a penny more than the amount specified in her complaint. See generally, Gaylor v. Miller, 166 Tenn. 45, 59 S.W.2d 502, 504 (Tenn.1933). You must amend the complaint to state a specific ad damnum amount before trial or moving for default judgment. Also, be wary of waiting until the last minute to declare an ad damnum – a trial court does not abuse its discretion by denying a motion to amend to substantially increase the ad damnum amount on the eve of trial. See Benson v. Tennessee Valley Electric Co-op., 868 S.W.2d 630 (Tenn. App. 1993).

One final note on the ad damnum amount: the Tennessee Product Liability Act contains a statutory exception requiring the complaint “state an amount … sought to be recovered from any defendant.” Tenn. Code Ann. ㋔ 29-28-107. If you are filing a product liability case, you should state an ad damnum at the outset.