Determining the Value of a Catastrophic Injury Claim

injured person in wheelchairPeople who suffer catastrophic injuries often face large medical bills, the loss of income and a future of uncertainty. Unfortunately, Tennessee puts limits on the amount of compensation that may be available to catastrophic injury victims in a personal injury claim.

The personal injury lawyers at Greg Coleman Law are well-versed in Tennessee personal injury laws. When you contact our office for a free consultation, we are prepared to review the details of your injuries, explain what may qualify as a catastrophic injury in Tennessee and answer any questions you may have about the legal process.

What Is a Catastrophic Injury?

Catastrophic injuries are life-changing injuries that result in significant impairment or death. Under Tennessee code § 29-39-102(d), the following injuries are considered catastrophic:

  • Spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia
  • Amputation of two feet, two hands or one of each
  • Third degree burns that cover 40 percent or more of the body or third degree burns that cover 40 percent or more of the face
  • Wrongful death of a parent with a surviving minor child

Tennessee’s Cap on Catastrophic Injury Damages

Tennessee has no cap for economic damages, which have a specific value that can be proven with things like pay stubs or medical bills. Common economic damages include, but are not limited to, medical expenses, mental health treatment, loss of earnings, loss of future earning capacity, burial costs, and loss of employment or future business opportunities.

Injury victims may also be eligible to pursue non-economic damages. These may include:

  • Physical and emotional pain
  • Loss of companionship and consortium
  • Loss of mental and/or physical health
  • Damaged bodily functions
  • Loss of enjoyment

In Tennessee, there is a cap of $750,000 on these kinds of damages. That means the most your attorney may be able to recover for non-economic damages is $750,000. However, if your injury is catastrophic, the cap increases to $1 million.

Proving a Catastrophic Injury Claim

Proving a catastrophic injury is challenging and you could benefit from the assistance of a qualified attorney with a track record of recovering fair compensation for injury victims. The attorneys at Greg Coleman Law have helped many injury victims recover fair compensation and we can review your situation in a free consultation.  

Your attorney must prove four things to show you were injured as a result of negligence:

Duty of Care

First, the injured party must establish that there was a duty of care owed to him or her by the at-fault party. This duty may depend on the relationship between the parties. For instance, a doctor owes his or her patients a duty to provide care that meets appropriate medical standards.

Breach of Duty

After establishing a duty of care existed at the time of the incident that resulted in your injury, the next step is to prove the defendant breached his or her duty in some way. Common examples of breaching the duty of care include disobeying traffic laws or failing to keep premises safe.


The other party’s breach of the duty of care must be the cause of your injuries. There needs to be a direct link between these two things that can be proven with evidence.  


The victim must be able to prove that he or she suffered physical, emotional and financial damages as a result of the injuries caused by the accident. In the case of a catastrophic injury, the victim can present evidence to establish the full extent of his or her damages, such as:

  • Testimony from medical experts or the victim’s treating physicians
  • Employment records

Contact Greg Coleman Law for Help with Your Claim

If you or a loved one sustained a catastrophic injury due to the negligence of another, you may benefit from talking to an experienced attorney. Our Knoxville personal injury attorneys are ready to review your claim to determine whether you have a valid case. There are no upfront legal fees if you have a case and we represent you.

FREE Case Review. Ph: (865) 247-0080