Is There a Limit on Damages Recoverable in Tennessee Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases?

Tennesse law limits damages that may be recovered in personal injury and wrongful death cases.  The limits apply only to cases that arise from events that occur on or after October 1, 2011.

Medical expense and lost wages claims are not limited.  However, damages for pain, suffering, disfigurement, disability, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of consortium are limited to $750,000 unless one of the following apply to the case:

  • there injured person was rendered paraplegic or quadraplegic because of a spinal cord injury in the wreck;
  • the injured person had extensive three degree burns; 
  • the injured person had two hands, two feet or one of each amputed in the wreck; or
  • in wrongful death cases, the decedent is survived by a minor child and had custody of or visitation rights with the child.

If one of the exceptions apply, the damage limit is increased to $1,000,000.

Damage limits do not apply when the wrongdoer was drunk or in certain other limited circumstances.

For injuries and deaths in accidents before October 1, 2011 the jury is permitted to determine the damages and there are no artifical limits.  The Tennessee business community persuaded the Legislature to limit the power of juries during the 2011 legislative session.

The applicable statute is TCA Sec. 29-39-102.

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