Comparative Fault in Tennessee
Like most states today, Tennessee uses a rule called “comparative fault” or “comparative negligence” when awarding partial compensation to injury victims who were partly at fault for the accident that harmed them.
Comparative fault replaced the old rule called “contributory negligence.” Under contributory negligence, a person could not recover any damages if they were even slightly at fault for the accident that caused their injuries. Someone who was just 1 percent to blame for an accident could not recover anything from the party who was 99 percent at fault.
The change to the comparative fault doctrine opened up the possibility for victims to recover compensation if they were partly at fault for the accident. Tennessee uses what is commonly referred to as the “49 percent rule.” A person is entitled to recover damages so long as their own negligence is not more than that of a defendant’s, according to this rule.
What Is the Comparative Fault Law in Tennessee?
Comparative fault allows an injured person to file suit for compensation, so long as the plaintiff’s negligence did not account for 50 percent or more of the total responsibility for the accident.
The assignment of fault becomes a critical aspect in many personal injury cases. It is one of the primary reasons that you need to be extremely cautious in what you say to any insurance company that may contact you after your accident.
Remember that insurers are never on your side, regardless of how compassionate an adjuster might try to seem. The insurance company will look to lay as much blame on you as they can to keep as much money in their pockets as possible.
How Does Comparative Fault Affect Compensation in Tennessee?
While a person who was not primarily at fault for an accident can sue for damages in Tennessee, the one catch to modified comparative fault is that any award can be reduced by a plaintiff’s share of negligence.
For example, this means that a person who is awarded $100,000 in an accident case for which they are determined to have been 20 percent at fault for would have their award reduced by $20,000 and receive $80,000.
The Supreme Court of Tennessee established that a jury must first determine whether a defendant was negligent, whether that negligence was the proximate cause of a plaintiff’s injuries, and then the percentage of negligence attributable to each party.
When a plaintiff’s own negligence did not account for 50 percent or more of the negligence, the jury determines the total amount of damages and then assigns the percentages of negligence that determine the ultimate award.
Legal Help with Tennessee Personal Injury Lawsuits
If you suffered severe injuries in any kind of accident that was someone else’s fault in the greater Morristown area, you need to be sure that you have an experienced attorney on your side. Contact The Terry Law Firm now to protect yourself and your injury claim.
We have provided aggressive and successful legal counsel to accident victims across Tennessee since 1960. Let us sit down and discuss the specific details of your case when you call us or contact us online to receive your free consultation.