I was hurt in a car wreck. The wreck was caused by a state employee driving at a very high rate of speed during work hours. The employee was working at the time of the wreck. The officer told me that the state employee’s conduct was reckless. Can I recover punitive damages in a claim against the State of Tennessee?
No. Tennessee law permits you to sue the State of Tennessee when one of its employees negligently causes a car wreck and resulting property damage and injuries, but claims for punitive damages are not permitted under any circumstances. This is true even if the conduct is reckless and you would have been able to collect punitive damages if the wreck had been asserted against a private individual.
Compensatory damages may be sought, but they are limited to $300,000 per person and no more than $1,000,000 per incident.
Claims against the State of Tennessee must be filed with the Claims Commission and not in Circuit Court. You are urged to consult an attorney experienced in bringing claims against the State of Tennessee as soon as possible.