Tennessee's Comparative Fault Law
When you are injured in a car accident, you will most likely want to pursue the other party for damages in order to help you pay for your losses. When doing so, it is highly suggested that you retain the services of a Morristown personal injury attorney to help you file the appropriate claims and take the optimal course of legal action.
However, your ability to recover could be influenced by the nature of the accident through a statute known as Tennessee’s Comparative Fault law. This law essentially compares the fault of all of the parties involved in an accident in order to determine who is eligible to pursue damages in court and if so to what extent.
Every state falls into one of four different systems for comparing fault and determining eligibility for compensation; Tennessee uses what is known as a “Modified Comparative Fault” system. What this means is that each party is held responsible for damages caused in the accident up to their own percentage of fault. However, once that percentage reaches a certain point, the plaintiff in this particular case becomes ineligible to recover damages completely. This cut-off point is set at 50% in Tennessee.
How Does Comparative Fault Work?
Let’s use a very simple case as an example to show this law in action. Say you are involved in a car accident one day. Investigations done by police and both insurance companies deem the fault to be split 30% to you and 70% to the other party. Both of you sustain some moderate injuries, but ultimately will be okay.
Should the other person in the accident choose to try to pursue damages, they will not be permitted to do so in court because they have been found to be at least 50% or more at fault. However, should you decide to pursue the damages (which your personal injury attorney will likely encourage you to do), you will be eligible to receive a damages award. This award will then be reduced by 30% due to your percentage of fault in the accident.
Most cases are far more complicated than this. In instances of multiple parties being involved, the distribution of fault may mean nobody is found to be the majority at fault, and juries may become confused in trials. Whenever you are looking to pursue damages, it is vital to have the services of a skilled lawyer fighting on your behalf. An experienced attorney will be able to keep track of the arguments in each case and optimally pursue the maximum possible compensation on your behalf.
The Terry Law Firm has assisted residents of Morristown and Eastern Tennessee with their injuries for many years. Our firm proudly provides the knowledge and legal ability of a large law firm with the feel and attention you can only get from a small firm. We are committed to the needs of our clients, and we fight vigorously on their behalf both in and out of the courtroom, and we will not settle for a result that does not satisfy you completely.
Call The Terry Law Firm at (423) 586-5800 today and request a free initial consultation with our skilled legal team.