A woman feeling depressed after a car accident.

You Deserve Compensation for More Than Financial Losses

Knowing how pain and suffering damages are evaluated and compensated in Tennessee is essential for ensuring you receive a fair and comprehensive settlement. In this guide, we will delve into the various aspects of pain and suffering, from the different types to how these damages are calculated and proven in court.

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Personal injury cases in Tennessee often involve complex legal concepts, one of which is pain and suffering. This term refers to the physical and emotional distress a person endures following an injury. Understanding pain and suffering is crucial for those seeking fair compensation for their injuries. This guide provides an in-depth look at how pain and suffering are evaluated and compensated in Tennessee injury claims.

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Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

In personal injury cases, damages are typically classified into two categories: economic and non-economic.

  • Economic Damages: These are quantifiable financial losses incurred as a result of the injury. They include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Economic damages are relatively straightforward to calculate because they involve actual monetary expenditures and losses.
  • Non-Economic Damages: These damages are more subjective and include compensation for pain and suffering. Non-economic damages are intended to cover the emotional and physical distress caused by the injury. Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages do not have a clear monetary value and require careful assessment.

Types of Pain and Suffering

A Chattanooga man meeting with his doctor to discuss his mental health after a car accident.

Pain and suffering encompasses both physical and emotional distress. Understanding the different types of pain and suffering can help in accurately evaluating your claim.

Physical Pain and Suffering

Physical pain and suffering refers to the bodily injuries and the discomfort that comes from them. This includes chronic pain, temporary or permanent limitations on activity, and the general impact on one’s quality of life. For example, a person who suffers a severe back injury may experience ongoing pain that affects their ability to work or perform everyday activities.

Emotional or Mental Pain and Suffering

Emotional pain and suffering involves the psychological impact of an injury. This can include conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health issues that arise following the incident. Emotional distress can be just as debilitating as physical injuries, significantly affecting a person’s ability to function normally.

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages

A man feeling stressed looking at bills after a personal injury.

Calculating pain and suffering damages is a complex process that involves various methods. The two most common approaches are the multiplier method and the per diem method.

Multiplier Method

The multiplier method involves adding up all the economic damages (such as medical bills and lost wages) and then multiplying that sum by a number, typically between 1.5 and 5, based on the severity of the injury. For instance, if economic damages total $50,000 and the multiplier chosen is 3, the pain and suffering damages would be $150,000.

Per Diem Method

The per diem method assigns a specific dollar amount to each day the victim suffers from the injury. This amount is then multiplied by the number of days the victim is expected to endure the pain. For example, if the daily rate is set at $200 and the recovery period is 180 days, the pain and suffering damages would be $36,000.


There are exceptions and special considerations that can influence the calculation of pain and suffering damages. For instance, cases involving particularly severe or catastrophic injuries might justify a higher multiplier or a higher daily rate under the per diem method.

Proving Pain and Suffering

Proving pain and suffering requires substantial evidence. It’s not enough to simply state that you are in pain; you need to demonstrate the extent and impact of that pain through various forms of evidence.

Medical Records & Expert Testimony

Medical records are critical in proving pain and suffering. They provide documented evidence of the injury, the treatment received, and the prognosis for recovery. Expert testimony from medical professionals can also support your claim by explaining the nature and extent of your injuries.

Personal Testimonies & Evidence

Personal testimonies, including statements from family members, friends, and colleagues, can provide insight into how the injury has affected your daily life. Photographs, videos, and personal diaries documenting your recovery process can also serve as powerful evidence.

Tennessee Law on Pain and Suffering Damages

Tennessee law places certain limitations on the amount of non-economic damages a plaintiff can recover in personal injury cases.

Damages Cap

Under Tennessee law, there is a cap on non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. The standard cap is $750,000 for most personal injury cases. However, this cap can be increased to $1,000,000 for cases involving catastrophic injuries.

Exceptions for Catastrophic Injury

Catastrophic injuries, such as those resulting in severe brain damage or permanent disability, can warrant higher compensation. In these cases, the cap on non-economic damages can be raised to better reflect the long-term impact of the injury on the victim’s life.

Get the Legal Help You Deserve

Navigating the complexities of personal injury claims and understanding pain and suffering can be overwhelming. At The McMahan Law Firm, our experienced attorneys are here to help you every step of the way. We understand the nuances of Tennessee law and are committed to ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to discuss your case and take the first step toward getting the legal help you need.