Can I Be Sued for Car Accident (Tennessee)? Let's Find Out
Car accidents are among the most devastating events that can happen to any person in Tennessee. Regardless of who was at fault, motor vehicle accidents tend to leave significant injuries to everyone involved, hefty medical bills, and even property damage.
Unfortunately, not all accidents in Tennessee are straightforward to manage, as many factors can influence who is the at-fault driver. In some cases, all the drivers involved are at fault for the accident, which makes the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit much more complicated.
Drivers can get sued for a car accident in Tennessee, even if they weren't entirely at fault. However, Tennessee law has certain laws in place that can help everyone involved determine who can truly benefit from a car accident claim and get money from an insurance company.
Evaluating Tennessee Fault Laws in Car Accidents
Tennessee is an at-fault state, but what does that mean for drivers?
State law mentions that the driver responsible for the auto accident will also be responsible for covering any resulting injuries, both legally and financially.
Sometimes, the at-fault driver can get a portion of the money they owe thanks to their insurance policy, but there are some cases where the car accident was too severe and the money offered by the insurance company isn't enough.
In those cases, the at-fault driver will have to pay out of pocket for these expenses.
Can Car Accident Victims Sue the Another Driver?
Yes, car accident victims can file a personal injury case against the other driver if they believe they were the cause of the accident.
As mentioned in the previous section, the at-fault driver can use their own insurance policy to cover all the expenses, but if that isn't enough (or they don't have insurance at all), they risk getting sued by the victims.
If the accident was too severe, it's recommended for victims seek legal help from reputable Nashville auto accident attorneys instead of representing themselves. Most insurance companies will try to offer low settlement amounts to victims after an accident, which isn't fair for most.
People who try to recover damages without legal representation may not be able to get the money they need to cover medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repair costs, etc.
How Can Victims Prove Fault in a Tennessee Car Accident?
This is when things get a bit complicated for everyone involved in a Tennessee car accident. As mentioned, the fact that Tennessee is an at-fault state suggests that if the victim can prove the other driver caused the accident, they're automatically liable for all damages.
Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. In Tennessee, victims must prove they were less than 50% at fault for what happened. Otherwise, they may not be able to recover damages, even with legal help.
The best thing to do in these scenarios is to prepare for the case properly. This includes gathering enough evidence like a police report, medical report, video footage, and any other item that could help the case. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys are able to explain how to calculate pain and suffering car accident in Tennessee.
However, auto accident victims must keep in mind that the at-fault driver may also get legal representation to at least prove they weren't 100% at fault, which could get them off the hook. This is another reason why victims shouldn't try to represent themselves in such delicate scenarios.
Is It Possible to Sue If the Victim Was Partially at Fault?
Yes. Tennessee is considered a "modified comparative negligence" state. If the victim is less than 50% at fault for the accident, they will be able to recover damages according to their "share" of negligence.
If the victim, for example, sues the at-fault driver, and the judge determines the victim was at least 15% at fault for the accident, then their compensation will get reduced by 15%.
What happens if the case doesn't go to court, though? Many cases get settled before going to trial because most people don't want to go through the hassle of these legal proceedings.
In that case, the victim may settle with a car insurance claims adjuster. That person will also use the "modified comparative negligence" method to determine how much money the victim can get for the accident. If they find the victim was partially at fault for what happened, they may get their compensation reduced.
Depending on the circumstances, the victim may be able to negotiate and get more money.
There are a few steps people can take to prove who was at fault for the accident, including:
Calling the police and emergency responders.
Getting the contact information of the other party and any witnesses.
Taking pictures and videos of the scene of the accident and the injuries suffered.
Calling an attorney.
Moreover, it's important for the person to never admit fault, as any argument, no matter how innocent it was, can be used against them later.
What's the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in Tennessee?
The Tennessee car accident statute will depend on the circumstances of the incident. Most of the time, accidents involving injuries to any of the parties will get a one-year statute of limitations. This means they have one year from the date of the accident to file a claim.
Now, if the Tennessee car accident caused another person's death, the surviving family members can file a claim within a year after the person passed away. The main difference between this case and the previous one is that the victim may not die right away after the accident, meaning that surviving members can have more time to build their case.
Finally, cases involving property damage will get a three-year statute of limitations.
Does Tennessee Have Minimum Car Insurance Requirements?
"Technically," drivers don't need to carry car insurance. However, the Tennessee Financial Responsibility Law requires everyone to be able to pay for any damages/losses that came from a car accident caused by them, so they purchase any kind of car accident coverage to comply with that rule.
Getting Compensation with the Help of an Experienced Lawyer
Navigating a car accident, regardless of who was at fault, can be tricky. In these cases, the best thing people can do is seek legal help to evaluate how high their chances are of getting properly compensated, especially if they were partially at fault for what happened.
Thankfully, the lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah are willing to go to war for its clients, so anyone interested in getting justice for what happened should seek a free case evaluation today.