proving pain and suffering in tennessee

If you've been injured in an accident caused by someone else's negligence, a personal injury lawsuit can help you recover compensation for your losses. This includes not only medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses and loss of enjoyment of life but also the pain and suffering you've endured.

Pain and suffering encompass the physical and emotional distress caused by your injury. It includes the anguish, fear, embarrassment, and worry you've experienced. Determining the value of these intangible losses is essential but difficult since their assessment is highly subjective.

Evidence used to establish pain and suffering in a personal injury case can include the following:

  • The severity of your injuries — Medical records document the type and extent of your injuries, treatments received, and any surgeries are key evidence. The more severe the injury, the stronger the argument for significant pain and suffering.

  • Medical testimony — Doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors who treated you can testify about your injuries and/or the expected pain they can cause.

  • Expert testimony — Medical experts can provide their professional opinion on the level of pain and suffering typically associated with your specific injuries.

  • Your personal testimony — You are the one who truly knows the extent of your pain. Your account of how the pain and discomfort from injuries have impacted your daily life can hold significant weight.

  • Testimony of loved ones — Friends and family who interact with you regularly can testify about specific pain, discomfort and shame they observe you experiencing due to your injury.

Once pain and suffering are established, damages must be calculated. Here are two common methods used by some attorneys and insurance companies:

  • Multiplier method — Economic damages (medical bills, lost wages) are totaled and multiplied by a factor between 1.25 and 5, depending on the severity of your suffering as evidenced by the factors listed above.

  • Per diem method — A daily rate is assigned for each day you endured pain, multiplied by the total number of days from injury to maximum medical recovery.

In court, however, these methods are not generally used or even legally permissible by juries or judges in Tennessee.  Instead, the law allows juries and judges extreme flexibility in choosing how to calculate reasonable damages, at least in theory.  

It's important to note that Tennessee law caps non-economic damages, which include pain and suffering, at $750,000 for most cases. Exceptions exist for catastrophic injuries like brain or spinal cord damage, intentional misconduct by the defendant or cases where evidence was concealed or led to a felony conviction.

Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. represents accident victims in Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City and throughout Upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Call [PHONE] or contact us online today for a free consultation.