Personal Injury Law in Tennessee

Were you hurt due to another’s negligence in Tennessee? If so, it may have far-reaching consequences such as a loss of wages or extensive medical treatment. Personal injury law allows an injured person to get damages if the responsible person acted recklessly. A personal injury attorney in Tennessee can help navigate the lawsuit to make sure you receive all of the compensation you deserve.

What Is Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law in Tennessee relates to the legal process of getting compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s negligent behavior. These cases involve one party, the plaintiff, trying to seek financial compensation for expenses incurred and money lost as a result of the defendant’s reckless behavior. These cases involve both parties’ insurance companies and may even settle before proceeding to litigation.

Examples of Personal Injury Claims in Tennessee

Some personal injury claims are more common than others. However, almost any incident that ends with a physical or mental injury could qualify, depending on the circumstances.

A few of the most common personal injury claims are:

  • Car Accidents
  • Slip and Fall
  • Dog Bites
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Burn Injuries

Most Common Injuries in Tennessee 

The leading causes of injury in Tennessee are falls, motor vehicle traffic crashes, and poisonings based on a recent Tennessee Department of Health Injury Prevention Strategic Plan. Tennessee hospitals saw 37,568 individuals admitted in 2012, 17,230 with severe injuries. While state and national safety efforts have led to a slight decrease in the amount of injury hospitalizations, the injury death rate has slightly increased. Tragically, injury is the leading cause of death and disability for Tennesseans 1-44 years of age across all demographics. For every injury death, there are approximately 3 trauma admissions, 7 hospitalizations, and 146 emergency department visits according to Tennessee Health Statistics.

Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Tennessee

Once you determine that you wish to proceed forward with a personal injury action in Tennessee

A lawsuit begins when a complaint is filed with the court and served on the defendant. The complaint alleges your assertion as the plaintiff that the defendant’s negligent behavior resulted in damage to your body or mental state. As the process proceeds forward, you may have to go through depositions, independent medical evaluations and document production. This discovery process is lengthy and ends in either settlement or a court appearance.

A trial court from one of Tennessee’s 31 judicial districts will likely handle your case. In each district, there is both a circuit court and a chancery court. Usually, you can file your personal injury lawsuit in either court, though your legal team may have a reason for choosing one over the other. If your suit has a value of $25,000 or less, it can be handled in a Tennessee small claims court.

Tennessee Personal Injury Settlement

With most personal injury cases, insurance companies and injured parties prefer settlement negotiations rather than going to court for a trial. You may wonder how much you should seek in your settlement and factors that impact the final amount.

One of the biggest determining factors in the Volunteer State is the cost of medical treatment, including emergency room services and time spent in the hospital. An analysis of Tennessee hospital service billing information yields an average cost of $49,000 per hospital admission for injuries. When considering additional expenses such as cost of rehabilitation and time taken off work, the total damages could be increased by a factor of 2 or more. In settlement negotiations outside of court, navigating the law to make a case for yourself can be incredibly daunting alone. Consult a legal team who can analyze your situation to help you receive the compensation that you deserve.

If the other party has insurance, the insurance company likely wants to settle out of court. In order to avoid leaving the final settlement decision to a jury. Settlements benefit injured parties as much as they do insurance companies. This is because accepting a settlement means you receive compensation sooner rather than later. Also, by going to court in Tennessee, that means you risk not receiving any compensation at all.

Damage Awards in Tennessee

If your Tennessee personal injury lawsuit goes before a judge or jury, your legal team will be ready with a request for damages. In personal injury cases, there are three types of damage awards a court may order the defendant to pay to compensate you for the damage he or she inflicted.

Special compensatory damages reimburse you for things such as lost income, medical bills and insurance deductibles. You submit receipts proving these losses.

General compensatory damages are subjective. If you receive special compensatory damages, you may also collect general damages. If your injury was particularly painful, you might request that the judge order the defendant compensate you for the pain and anguish.

Punitive damages are the most rarely awarded and are up to the court. The judge or jury may determine that the defendant’s negligence was particularly heinous and the resulting injury to you was equally horrific. 

In February, 2020, the Tennessee Supreme court upheld the state’s cap on non-economic damages at $750,000. Pursuant to Tennessee Code (Title 29, Chapter 39, Section 102), damage limits in cases of “catastrophic injury” are set at $1 million. Types of these injuries include severe spinal cord injuries, amputation, and third-degree burns.

Statute of Limitations in Tennessee Personal Injury Law?

The injured party may have a set amount of time to file suit for a personal injury case. State law establishes statutes of limitation. Commonly, the plaintiff’s injury or discovery of the injury begins the statute of limitations. However, the latter factor is trickier, as the plaintiff will have to prove when the injury was first realized.

One year is all the time you have to file a personal injury claim in the state of Tennessee. Failure to do so will likely forfeit your right to action.

We recommend you speak with a personal injury lawyer for this matter. Don’t wait too long and miss out on receiving the compensation you deserve for your injury. 

Work With an Experienced Tennessee Lawyer

Pursue a personal injury claim in Tennessee against the responsible person if you are dealing with an injury caused by someone else. One of our experienced lawyers can help you navigate your personal injury claim.  We can even help you connect with an attorney across Tennessee state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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