In an injury case, getting damages for pain and suffering is important. While compensating you for medical bills, lost wages, and other economic damages is vital, a major part of your damages might stem from non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
To get pain and suffering damages, you often have to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit. While insurance claims can pay pain and suffering damages in Tennessee, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay these damages in full. Instead, going to court might be the best way to get pain and suffering damages paid.
For a free review of your case, call the Tennessee personal injury lawyers at Howe Law today. Our phone number is (844) 876-4357.
How to Claim Damages for an Injury in Tennessee
In order to get your damages paid, you – as the victim – have to take certain steps. Our lawyers can help you with each step of the process, so don’t worry too much about how to progress with each step. It is nonetheless important to understand how these claims work and what steps you will have to go through:
File an Insurance Claim
Most injury cases typically start with an insurance claim, as this can be the quickest way to get damages paid and is often simpler than filing in court. You can file an insurance claim without the help of an attorney, but it is better to work with a lawyer who can advise you on how much your damages are worth.
If you were injured in a car accident, you might have questions about whether an insurance claim can pay all of your damages. In no-fault states, non-economic damages for pain and suffering are often blocked and cannot be claimed unless you meet certain thresholds of “serious injury” or certain dollar amounts for your injury case. In Tennessee, we use a “tort” or “fault” insurance system where insurance claims can include damages for pain and suffering.
Regardless of what type of injury case you were involved in, the at-fault party’s insurance should be the one to cover in most cases. This means you would file a third-party claim with that insurance company to get all of your damages paid: medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
However, you should not accept low offers that fail to cover your damages in full. Our Knoxville personal injury lawyers can advise you as to whether the insurance settlement offer is too low and take additional steps.
Negotiate with Insurance
If the insurance companies produce a low offer, you might not be forced to turn to a lawsuit yet. Often, settlement negotiations and appeals can result in a higher settlement offer. Our attorneys can help you negotiate with the insurance companies to attempt to raise the offer.
As part of this negotiation, we might want to file a lawsuit at this time. The threat of a looming lawsuit can often show the insurance company that you are serious about getting your case paid at its full value and push them to negotiate rather than facing the additional expenses and time commitments that a trial requires.
Even so, negotiations might not go well if the insurance company is reluctant to agree that you have pain and suffering damages or they are reluctant to agree with the value you are claiming for these damages.
Going to Trial
If your case cannot be settled, our attorneys can fight your case before a judge and jury. In a lawsuit, these neutral parties decide your case rather than the insurance company.
We can present proof of all of your damages and produce evidence to prove the cost of your pain and suffering. At this stage, we can still settle the case if the insurance company eventually agrees to avoid trial, but you should still have one of our attorneys advise you on that decision.
Calculating Pain and Suffering for an Injury Claim in Tennessee
When claiming damages for pain and suffering, you will want to make sure that you are claiming the full value that you are entitled to. As mentioned above, these damages are often a substantial part of your case, and undervaluing pain and suffering could mean missing out on significant compensation.
Generally speaking, courts tie your pain and suffering to the severity of your injuries. This means that more severe injuries are often seen as causing higher pain and suffering, whereas mild injuries will have lower pain and suffering damages. Sometimes the specific facts of your case might prove otherwise, such as when an injury involves mostly mental or emotional trauma rather than physical trauma.
When calculating pain and suffering, you can often arrive at a value by treating pain and suffering damages as a multiple of your other damages, based on how severe your suffering is. Alternatively, a per-day value can be assigned to your pain and suffering. Our Nashville personal injury lawyers can help you calculate pain and suffering in your specific case.
Caps on Tennessee Pain and Suffering Damages in Personal Injury Cases
When claiming damages for pain and suffering, it is important to note that Tennessee places a cap on how much you can claim. While you can receive however much is required to compensate you for bills and other expenses, compensation for pain and suffering is capped at $750,000 max under T.C.A. § 29-39-102. However, that cap can be raised to $1 million if your injury was “catastrophic,” which is defined as an injury resulting in paralysis, certain amputation injuries, or extensive third-degree burns. Minor children can also claim up to $1 million in pain and suffering for the death of a parent.
Call Our Tennessee Personal Injury Attorneys Today
If you faced serious injuries in an accident in Tennessee, call Howe Law’s Murfreesboro personal injury attorneys for a free case review at (844) 876-4357.