Types of Damages You Can Expect to Recover in a Negligence Case*
When you file a personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee, you are seeking compensation for the injuries and losses you have suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence. Several different types of damages may be available to you, depending on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Let’s briefly touch on some of the most common types of damages that are awarded in Tennessee personal injury cases. If you have questions about a case, contact Tennessee Accident Law and we’d be happy to have an attorney speak with you for free.
1. Medical Expenses*
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Tennessee, you may be wondering how much your medical expenses will cost. While many factors go into calculating damages in a personal injury case, medical expenses are one of the most important. Here’s why.
Medical expenses can be very expensive, and they can add up quickly. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may have to miss work due to your injuries. This can lead to lost wages, which can add even more financial stress to an already difficult situation. Additionally, if your injuries are serious, you may require long-term or even life-long care. All of this can add up to a significant amount of money.
To recover these medical expenses, you will need to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident. This is where negligence comes into play. If you can prove that the other party was negligent—that is, they failed to exercise reasonable care and this failure led to your injuries—you may be able to recover damages.
Damages in a personal injury case are meant to compensate the injured party for their losses. This includes both economic and non-economic losses. Medical expenses fall under the category of economic losses, as they are quantifiable costs that the injured party has incurred. Non-economic losses, on the other hand, are more difficult to quantify. These include things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress.
2. Pain and Suffering*
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Tennessee, you may be wondering how much your pain and suffering damages are worth. The answer, unfortunately, is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The number of damages you may be awarded will depend on several factors, including the severity of your injuries, the impact the injuries have had on your life, and the extent to which the negligent party is at fault.
That being said, some general guidelines can help you get an idea of what your pain and suffering damages might be worth. In general, pain and suffering damages are calculated using a “multiplier.” A multiplier is a number that is applied to your economic damages—that is, your actual monetary losses—to arrive at an amount for your pain and suffering.
For example, let’s say you were in a car accident that left you with $5,000 in medical bills and $2,500 in lost wages. If your lawyer applies a multiplier of 2 to your economic damages, you would be awarded $15,000 for your pain and suffering ($5,000 x 2 + $2,500).
If your lawyer applies a multiplier of 3 to your economic damages, you would be awarded $20,000 for your pain and suffering ($5,000 x 3 + $2,500).
As you can see from this example, the amount of money you receive for your pain and suffering can vary widely depending on the multiplier that is applied.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that there is no magic number when it comes to calculating pain and suffering damages. The goal of any personal injury lawsuit is to make the victim whole again—that is, to put them in the same position they would have been in if the accident had never happened. How much money this will take will depend on each case.
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Tennessee, don’t expect to get a settlement check for a specific amount of money for your “pain and suffering.” Instead, the amount of money you receive for your pain and suffering will be based on several factors unique to your case. To learn more about how much your particular case might be worth, contact a qualified personal injury attorney today.
3. Punitive Damages*
If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering if you can get punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter future wrongful conduct. In Tennessee, there are three circumstances in which punitive damages may be awarded:
1) When the defendant acted with reckless disregard for the rights of others;
2) When the defendant engaged in fraudulent or intentional misrepresentation; or
3) When the defendant engaged in wanton misconduct.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these options and give you some tips on how to get punitive damages in a negligence case in Tennessee.
Circumstance 1 – Acting With Reckless Disregard for the Rights of Others
If you want to get punitive damages in a negligence case in Tennessee, you’ll need to prove that the defendant acted with reckless disregard for the rights of others. To do this, you’ll need to show that the defendant knew or should have known that their actions put you at risk of harm and proceeded anyway.
For example, let’s say that you were walking down the street and a driver ran a red light, hitting you and causing serious injuries. If it can be shown that the driver knew that running the red light put pedestrians at risk of being hit but did so anyway, then you may be able to get punitive damages.
Circumstance 2 – Engaging in Fraudulent or Intentional Misrepresentation
Another way to get punitive damages in a negligence case in Tennessee is to prove that the defendant engaged in fraudulent or intentional misrepresentation. This means that they lied about something important in order to induce you to act (or refrain from acting), and as a result, you were harmed.
For example, let’s say that you went to a doctor for treatment of neck pain. The doctor told you that if you didn’t have surgery right away, your condition would continue to worsen and could eventually lead to paralysis. Based on this misrepresentation, you had surgery. However, it turns out that the doctor lied and your condition never would have gotten any worse—the surgery was completely unnecessary. In this case, because the doctor knowingly made a false statement to convince you to have surgery, you may be able to get punitive damages.
Circumstance 3- Engaging in Wanton Misconduct
The final way to get punitive damages in a negligence case in Tennessee is by proving that the defendant engaged in wanton misconduct—this is usually defined as willful or malicious behavior.
For example, let’s say that you were walking down the street and a driver purposely swerved into you, injuring you seriously. Because the driver’s actions were willful and malicious, you may be able to get punitive damages.
If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and whether punitive damages may also be available in your case.
*DISCLAIMER: All of the information above is posted to provide education, not legal advice. Every case is different and you should speak with an attorney to get more information about your case and potential damages.