A car accident can quickly turn your life—and your finances—upside down. In the weeks during your injury recovery, you will likely accrue hundreds or even thousands in medical bills, all at a time when you are unable to earn money to pay for them. The good news is that Tennessee injury laws allow accident victims to recover many of their monetary losses by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Types of Damages Available to Tennessee Car Accident Victims
In an injury case, any costs you have incurred or paid out of pocket as a result of your injury are called economic damages. Since the law allows a victim to be restored to a pre-injury state, there is no cap on economic damages in a Tennessee car accident case.
Common forms of damages you may be able to collect after a Tennessee car accident include:
- Medical damages. Medical treatments for car accident victims begin with emergency room treatment and may not end until years after the crash. Injured parties may collect payment for all healthcare costs related to the accident, including hospitalization, surgery, medication, physical therapy, assistive devices, nursing care, and ongoing medical appointments.
- Property damage. An accident that causes significant damage to the victim may also result in damage to his or her vehicle. Victims may sue an at-fault driver (or the driver’s insurance company) for the costs of repairing a vehicle and for the loss of any valuable personal items inside the vehicle at the time of the crash. If the vehicle was totaled in the accident, victims can sue for the fair market value of the vehicle estimated by the Kelley Blue Book or a reputable auto dealer.
- Lost income. Victims who spend time out of work during their recoveries miss out on career opportunities as well as earned income. Your attorney must carefully consider how much your injury has affected your work life in order to determine an appropriate amount for your lost income. Compensation should include all time missed due to your injuries, lost bonuses, lost promotion or advancement, and other opportunities (such as eligibility for work-related travel or annual career events).
- Pain and suffering. Unlike economic damages, there are limits to how much a victim can collect in non-economic damages, also known as pain and suffering. This amount is awarded over and above tangible losses to compensate the victim for lost quality of life, mental anguish, depression or anxiety, permanent paralysis, inconvenience, and other suffering caused by the accident. Tennessee laws place a cap on non-economic damages at $750,000 under most circumstances, but this cap can be removed if the at-fault driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or is convicted of a felony in connection with the crash.
- Wrongful death. Tennessee injury law allows family members to collect special damages if a car accident causes the wrongful death of a loved one. Damages can include medical bills, funeral and burial costs, and compensation for the conscious pain and suffering the loved one suffered between the time of injury and the time of death. Spouses may also seek damages for loss of consortium, lost companionship, and loss of marital assistance and benefits. Tennessee family members are also allowed to collect damages for the “pecuniary value” of the loved one’s life, an amount approximating what the victim would have earned over his or her lifetime.
Since the time limit for filing an accident claim in Tennessee is just one year from the date of the accident, it is vital that you speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash. If you have been injured in a car accident, we can get you the compensation you need to recover. Fill out the quick contact form on this page to have the attorneys at GriffithLaw explain your rights in your free case evaluation, or order a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.