Medical malpractice in Tennessee, sometimes referred to as medical negligence, occurs when a health care provider violates the governing standard of care when providing treatment to a patient, causing the patient to suffer an injury. Medical malpractice can result from an action taken by the medical practitioner, or by the failure to take a medically appropriate action. Examples of medical malpractice in Tennessee include:
- Misdiagnosis of, or failure to diagnose, a disease or medical condition;
- Failure to provide appropriate treatment for a medical condition;
- Unreasonable delay in treating a diagnosed medical condition;
Medical malpractice actions can be brought by the injured patient against any responsible licensed health care provider, including doctors, counselors, psychologists and psychotherapists. Read more about Bair Hugger (manufacturer).
Statute Of Limitations For Tennessee Medical Malpractice Claims
All states establish their own statute of limitations regarding medical malpractice cases. A statute of limitations sets parameters on how long an injured patient has to file a lawsuit against a medical provider for causing injury during treatment. Once this window of opportunity closes, the patient may no longer bring a claim in most circumstances.
Tennessee malpractice law, also referred to as “health care liability” by the Tennessee Code Annotated § 28-3-104, § 29-26-116, establishes that medical malpractice claim must be brought within (1) year after the patient discovers the injury. However, the patient only has up to (3) years from the date that the doctor breached the standard of care to bring suit. This means that if an injury is discovered (4) years after treatment was administered, the patient may not file a lawsuit. This, limit, however, does not apply to cases involving foreign objects left inside a patient.
These strict deadlines underscore the importance of contacting an experienced medical malpractice lawyer such as attorney Michael Pence as soon as possible after you notice an injury resulting from medical malpractice or negligence.
Caps On Medical Malpractice Damages In Tennessee
Most states set limits on how much a patient may seek in court from a medical professional for committing medical malpractice. These awards are known as damages, and the limits placed on them by law are known as caps.
The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in favor of new legislation in 2011 limiting awards on medical malpractice claims. This new legislation puts a cap of $750,000 on damage claims that are non-economical, such as emotional suffering or pain, and the cap for punitive damages in medical malpractice and personal injury cases tops out now at $500,000. The cap for catastrophic damages, such as death or becoming paralyzed, burned, blinded, and suffering an amputation, was limited to $1 million as well.
Several types of damages are available to patients in Tennessee medical malpractice cases including:
- Compensatory Damages: These damages compensate injured patients for certain out-of-pocket expenses. These expenses can include such things as medical costs and lost wages due to days of work missed.
- Non-Economic Damages: These damages compensate injured patients for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering. The amount awarded to a patient is typically decided upon by a jury.
- Punitive Damages: These damages are awarded as a way to punish a medical provider for extraordinarily reckless behavior. To receive punitive damages, you must prove that the healthcare professional’s actions involved such things as malicious intent or fraud.
If you have suffered from an injury resulting from negligence of care form a healthcare professional contact attorney Michael Pence today to set up a consultation whereby you can discover your rights under Tennessee law.