Is There A Limit on Damages in Leg Amputation Cases in Tennessee?

My wife lost her leg is a bus accident last month.  Does Tennessee law impose any limit on the damages she can recover from the negligent party?

There is no limit on the damages can recover for medical expenses or  loss of earning capacity that arise as a result of the loss of the leg.  However, if the wreck occurred on or after October 1, 2011, there is a limit on the damages she can recover for pain, suffering, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life – referred to by the Legislature as "non-economic damages."  That limit is $750,000.

The Legislature has determined that no person can recover non-economic damages in excess of $750,000 unless the injury is "catastrophic" or the falls within a narrow class of exclusions (for example, the defendant was under the influence of alcohol).  The amputation of a single limb is not considered a catastrophic loss by the Tennessee General Assembly.  You have to have at least two amputated limbs for the injury to be determined "catastrophic" and even then  non-economic damages are limited to $1,000,000.

If the accident had occurred before October 1, 2011, there would have been no arbitrary cap on non-economic damages.  The new law applies only to injuries occurring on or after October 1, 2011.


John Day represents personal injury victims and families of wrongful death victims.  He is board-certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and, in fact, served as President of the organization. He is an elected member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.  His book, "Day on Torts:   Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law," is used by judges and lawyers across Tennessee to further their understanding of personal injury and wrongful death law in Tennessee.  In 2009, Best Lawyers named John "Best Personal Injury Lawyer" for Nashville; he was the first recipient of that award. Best Lawyers also  named John as "Best Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Nashville" for 2010.   John does not charge for an initial consultation and accepts personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingent  fee basis.  You can reach him by telephone at 615.742.4880 or by email by clicking here

Contact Information