If you are injured in an automobile crash caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you have the right to pursue monetary compensation. The amount you recover depends on the specific facts of the case, but generally there are two types of damages available: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are quantifiable financial losses. They include medical expenses, lost wages, future lost earnings, damage to your car and any other out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of the crash.

Non-economic damages are compensation for the intangible effects and traumas caused by your accident. They include physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional trauma and distress, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of consortium.

Pain and suffering damages tend to be the focus of many cases. They measure how the physical injuries you suffered negatively affect your day-to-day life. When calculating how much a person should receive for their pain and suffering, courts can analyze these factors:

  • The nature and extent of your injury
  • How long the injury is expected to affect your life
  • Current and future treatment needs
  • Permanent disability or complications
  • Your education, training and work qualifications prior to the accident
  • Leisure activities you can no longer enjoy
  • Whether you have a dependent spouse

It is important to know that Tennessee caps non-economic damages in personal injury cases. Generally, injured parties can recover no more than $750,000 for pain and suffering and other intangible injuries combined. There are two exceptions:

  • The cap does not apply if the injuries were inflicted intentionally, if the driver who caused the wreck was drunk or on drugs or if the at-fault driver concealed or falsified evidence.
  • The cap is raised to $1 million if you suffered a catastrophic injury.

Catastrophic injuries are defined by Tennessee law to include:

  • Paraplegia or quadriplegia
  • Loss of both hands, both feet or one of each
  • Third-degree burns over 40 percent or more of the body or face
  • Wrongful death of a parent of a minor child

Insurance companies and their defense counsel work hard to limit the amount of compensation they pay for pain and suffering and other damages. They try to convince juries that the trauma is not real or is exaggerated. It takes an experienced Tennessee auto accident lawyer to quantify your pain and suffering in objective ways that support the damages you’re entitled to under the law.

Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, PC in Bristol fights for the rights of victims of car, truck and motorcycle accidents occurring throughout the Northeast Tennessee region. Please call 423-797-6022 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation at our office or to have one of our lawyers come to you if you’ve been injured in a wreck that you didn’t cause.