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The types of damages you can claim following a car accident

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2023 | Car Accidents

Vehicular collisions aren’t just painful and potentially fatal. They’re also costly to experience and recover from. Depending on the accident’s severity, both medical treatment for acute injuries and repair work for the damaged car can easily reach thousands of dollars.

Fortunately, Tennessee law allows drivers to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. The awards from such lawsuits can help pay for critical medical and auto repair costs.

But how much compensation can you recover from a lawsuit? And what kind of damages can you pursue?

Types of damage claimable

By state law, you can file a lawsuit claiming one or both damage types:

  • Economic damages: These include medical bills, lost wages, loss of property, lost business opportunities, money lost from being terminated at work and funeral expenses.
  • Noneconomic damages: These include mental trauma, bodily disfigurement, emotional distress and any loss of benefits in a relationship between loved ones. You might also claim this damage if the collision robbed you of any enjoyment of life.

While Tennessee law doesn’t limit the amount of compensation you can receive for economic damages, the state has a $750,000 cap on noneconomic damages. However, the noneconomic damages cap increases to $1,000,000 if the accident led to catastrophic injuries.

Tennessee’s “49%” rule

Before you can file any personal injury lawsuit against another driver, you must keep in mind the state’s modified comparative negligence law. Also known as the “49% rule,” your lawsuit will only be allowed if you can prove that you were less at fault than the other driver. In other words, your level of fault can’t be over 49%. Fault in an accident usually depends on the police report and any statements you’ve made to the authorities and your insurer.

The modified comparative negligence system also affects the compensation you will receive based on your level of fault. For instance, if you were 30% at fault for an accident, the maximum amount you can recover from a $1,000,000 damage award reduces by 30%, so you only receive $700,000.

Filing a lawsuit to recover damages from a car accident can be incredibly complex. Still, it’s something you might have to go through if insurance alone won’t be able to cover your massive post-collision expenses. To ensure that you can recover the maximum compensation amount possible, consider hiring attorneys with personal injury experience. These legal representatives can help pursue the damages you’re owed and help negotiate settlements with the other driver.