New Tennessee law caps personal injury pain and suffering damages

There's No Substitute for Experience

When a party is injured and files a personal injury claim, he or she doesn't think that there will be a cap on how much he or she can recover for pain and suffering. Governor Bill Haslam, however, has recently signed into law a bill that caps noneconomic damages. He believes this will improve Tennessee's business environment, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The bill, which has been an “initiative” of Haslam's, capped pain and suffering damages to $750,000. In more serious personal injury cases, including those that result in amputation of a limb, a parent or child's death, extreme burns, or paralysis from spinal cord injuries, plaintiffs can collect up to $1 million in noneconomic damages.

Haslam is convinced that this law will be beneficial for Tennessee's economy by giving businesses a better idea of how much their actions might cost in a personal injury suit. Haslam has also said that this law respects and protects victims, although a representative of the Tennessee Citizen Action consumer advocacy group is skeptical. The representative believes there hasn't been a proper accounting of how this will negatively affect private citizens.

The personal injury cap arouse as part of Haslam's new budget. The legislature and Haslam approved a budget of $30.8 billion. The spending plan for the 2011-2012 fiscal year is 3.9 percent under the previous year's plan at $1.23 billion. Other budget updates include eliminating 1,320 government jobs, a fund from which cities and counties can draw after natural disasters, and $34.6 million for the expansion of a chemical plant in Bradley County.

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