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What kinds of damages can an injured person receive?

Even the simplest of mistakes made by other people can have far-reaching consequences. A brief glance away from the roadway to check an incoming text message, for example, can result in catastrophic injuries for others who are struck by an inattentive driver.

Motorcycle accidents in particular can result in terrible injuries to the motorcycle rider because of the sheer disparity in size between the motorcycle and the other vehicle involved in the crash. As discussed last week in this blog, many individuals in motorcycle accidents suffer spinal cord injuries that leave them with years of treatment or permanent injuries.

Tennessee law gives injured persons a way to hold the other side accountable for the accident through a personal injury lawsuit. The lawsuit may result in a judgment against the other party for the amount of damages suffered by the injured person.

While some accidents involve questions of liability, others may center on a dispute over the damages suffered by the injured person. Damages can include a wide variety of elements, including damages for medical expenses, lost wages and disfigurement.

Even within these categories, there can exist disputes of fact and of law. For example, a few years ago, Tennessee lawmakers passed a bill into law that limited the amount of noneconomic damages a person could recover to $750,000. Noneconomic damages includes things like pain and suffering, which can constitute a major portion of a person's damages. However, in a lawsuit earlier this year, a Tennessee judge declared this cap to be unconstitutional.

While the validity of the damages cap thus remains in dispute, this illustrates how contentious the issue of damages can become because of the different factors involved. Accordingly, injured persons should understand how the law will apply to their particular case.

Source: State of Tennessee, "House Bill 2008," accessed on Aug. 2, 2015

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