Car Accidents

The blame game: measuring fault in a Tennessee accident

One of the first priorities that car accident victims and their families have in the aftermath of a crash is to figure out who was at fault for the accident. Not only is it completely natural to want to know what happened, but it can also be crucial to establish fault if a person wishes to take legal action.

However, it is not enough to say that a car accident was someone else’s fault and demand compensation. In Tennessee, there are rules regarding modified comparative negligence that will dictate if and how much compensation a victim may collect after a crash. Knowing what this means and how it will impact your claim can be important.

Basically speaking, comparative negligence means that a person can be held financially responsible for damages if he or she is found to be at least 50 percent responsible for an accident when compared to the victim.

Let’s consider a hypothetical situation. Imagine you are driving on the highway when a driver next to you loses control and hits the side of your vehicle. Initially, you may think that it is all the other driver’s fault and he or she should pay for damages. However, should you file a lawsuit, a judge or jury will take into account all the factors that contributed to the accident. If, at the time of the accident, the other driver was speeding but you were texting, you will likely be assigned some of the blame for the crash.

The amount of compensation awarded will depend on how much blame is assigned to each party. For example, if it is determined that you were 20 percent to blame for a crash and the other driver was 80 percent to blame, he or she will be ordered to pay 80 percent of the damages you have suffered. If you as the victim were more than 50 percent to blame, however, the other party will typically not have to pay for any damages you suffered.

With all this in mind, it should be clear that calculating and establishing fault after an accident can be vital for anyone who wants to pursue compensation. Trying to figure all this out — and support your claim in a courtroom — can prove to be quite overwhelming so it can be a wise decision to speak with an a personal injury attorney.