Driving in Tennessee can be daunting, given its winding roads and mountain passes, but what happens when you are involved in a car accident that occurred because of someone’s extreme negligence? You may be able to cover medical costs by filing a personal injury lawsuit and including punitive damages, as Tennessee is one of several states that allows them, with a few limitations.
Encyclopedia Britannica notes that punitive damages are often awarded to punish the behavior of the defendant if it is found he or she acted with gross negligence or deliberate malice. For example, if the individual who struck your car was driving drunk or high, you may be able to ask for punitive damages so the defendant might understand the degree of his or her negligence. Another example could be if two young people were racing their cars on an urban street and caused an accident resulting in multiple injuries. You may want to consult with your attorney about what constitutes this type of negligence and how to pursue punitive damage according to the laws of the state.
The ability to collect punitive damages varies by state, and Tennessee is no different. The state caps the amount at $500,000 or several times the amount of any compensatory money awarded. The total amount may vary depending on the individual circumstances of your case, including if any wrongful deaths occurred and the extent of your injuries, such as whether you will need long-term care or will no longer be able to work.