TN Supreme Court Upholds Non-Economic Damage Caps

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Tennessee Supreme Court has set aside a previous ruling by a Hamilton County judge who said that laws capping certain damages in personal injury lawsuits are unconstitutional. Photo of courthouse

We discussed the case that led to the Supreme Court decision in March. Currently, due to state tort reform efforts, there is a $750,000 cap per victim on noneconomic damages, which can include physical and emotional pain, humiliation, physical impairment, disfigurement and injury to reputation.

In March, Judge W. Neil Thomas ruled that the cap was unconstitutional in a case involving a $25 million negligence lawsuit filed by the family of a man who was injured in an auto accident. The family filed the lawsuit against several divisions of AT&T and one of its employees.

In the lawsuit, the family sought the court to rule on the constitutionality laws that cap noneconomic damages. Thomas ruled that the cap was unconstitutional, even though the family had not yet been awarded damages by a jury.

The case then went to the Supreme Court, which unfortunately upheld the cap, saying that the case was not “ripe” enough for state laws to be overruled. “Ripeness requires a court to answer the question of whether the dispute has matured to the point that it warrants a judicial decision,” the justices wrote, according to the Times Free Press.

Does Tort Reform Prevent Victims From Receiving Damages?

We hope that this ruling sheds a spotlight on Tennessee’s trouble with tort reform. Frankly, $750,000 is not enough money for victims who have been severely injured or who have had loved ones killed due to recklessness.

Imagine your loved one dying or being catastrophically injured, and the challenges it would provide your family? In many cases, no amount of money will help a family recover from the pain and suffering it has had to endure, although it can be a tremendous help.

Although Tennessee has unfavorable tort reform laws, this should not prevent you from seeking litigation if you have been harmed or your loved one has been injured.

For more information about how our attorney has helped Nashville injury victims, visit our verdicts and settlements page.

“For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.” – Psalms 18:28



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