If you decide to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver, or even if you’ve chosen to negotiate a settlement with an insurance provider, you should know how Tennessee designates fault.
Some states in the U.S. are considered “no-fault” states when it comes to car accidents. In these states, drivers do not have to prove that someone was negligent and caused an accident to recoup costs for things like medical bills and car repairs. Most states, however, are “fault” states. These states use a tort liability system of auto insurance. In other words, whoever causes an accident is the one responsible for paying for damages to other parties.
TENNESSEE’S FAULT RULE
Tennessee is a fault state, but we use a modified comparative fault rule. In Tennessee, as long as you are found to be less than 50 percent at fault for an accident, you are entitled to damages. However, those damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Say, for example, your total damages amount to $10,000, but the courts find you 20 percent at fault. That $10,000 will be reduced by 20 percent, or $2,000, leaving you with $8,000 in damages.
Remember – if you are planning on filing a lawsuit, you must do so quickly. In Tennessee, there are statutes of limitations limiting your potential for recovery if you wait too long. For accidents involving personal injury, you have one year to file your lawsuit. For accidents involving vehicle or property damage, you have three years.
These limits only apply to civil courts, not to claims you file with your or the other party’s insurance companies. Those companies set their own deadlines. For these reasons, it is best to act as quickly as you can to get your claims taken care of.
Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”