Tennessee Damages Caps

If you are in need of personal injury representation, fill out our intake form. Questions? Contact us.

For economic damages, which include things like medical bills and loss of future income potential, there are no caps in Tennessee. Essentially, these are things you can point to a concrete dollar amount.

Non-economic damages are your “pain and suffering” damages, which cover things like loss of enjoyment of life or embarrassment and humiliation. In Tennessee, non-economic damages are capped at $750,000, or $1 million in cases that deal with “catastrophic loss.” Catastrophic loss can be defined as quadriplegia, if someone receives burns on over 40% of their body, or when a minor loses a parent.

Punitive damages are only applied when it can be shown the defendant acted intentionally, maliciously, or extremely recklessly. If that standard is met, punitive damages are capped at either $500,000 or twice the total non-economic damages, whichever is greater. This means that theoretically, the highest total non-economic and punitive damages you could have for a personal injury case in Tennessee would be $2.25 million for a case that does not deal with catastrophic loss (750,000 non economic damages plus 1.5 million in punitive damages), and 3 million for a case that deals with catastrophic loss (1,000,000 in non-economic damages plus 2 million in punitive damages). Such massive damages totals rarely almost happen, but they are helpful for understanding the caps that are in place.

The jury is not made aware of these damages caps. The jury awards what they believe is right based on their verdict for the case. If that number is higher than the caps, the judge reduces the award to remain within the bounds of Tennessee law.