Did you know that medical errors are the third most common cause of death for adults in the United States? Researchers at Johns Hopkins found that health care provider mistakes result in an average of about 250,000 deaths per year.
If you or a family member have experienced poor outcomes because of a medical error, explore the process of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Tennessee.
Types of damages
Tennessee does not cap economic damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. This category includes the real costs associated with the injury, including health care, transportation to medical appointments and lost wages.
The state also allows plaintiffs to recover noneconomic damages for pain and suffering. The law limits this type of legal award to $750,000, or $1 million for catastrophic injuries such as wrongful death of a parent, third-degree burns covering more than 40% of the body, amputation of two extremities and spinal cord injuries. No limit exists when the defendant made a medical error under the influence of drugs or alcohol, intentionally injured the plaintiff, or concealed or destroyed evidence of liability.
Expert witness requirements
To file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Tennessee, you must obtain an affidavit of merit. This document indicates that you or your attorney consulted one or more medical experts about the case, and those experts attest that you are filing the lawsuit in good faith. If you do not provide this affidavit within 90 days of filing your lawsuit, the court will dismiss your claim. You must also arrange for medical expert testimony from a doctor in an appropriate specialty with a license in Tennessee or an adjacent state.
Medical malpractice cases in Tennessee are subject to a one-year statute of limitations. You must file a case within a year of the complications in question and no more than three years since the treatment itself. For underage individuals, the time to file a suit begins when they turn 18.