How Is Fault Determined in Tennessee Car Accidents?

When it comes to personal injury claims, fault plays a significant role in determining who has been wronged and how the negligent party will repay that wrong. However, how fault is determined is based mainly on the type of case in question. Because Meade Law Group goes the extra mile to inform our clients on all things personal injury, we decided to make this blog to explain how fault is determined in Tennessee car accidents.

Determining Fault in Tennessee Car Accident Claims

While some states adhere to “no-fault” policies where those injured in car accidents must submit claims with their own insurance companies, Tennessee is an at-fault state. When a state adheres to “at-fault” laws, the insurance company of the one who caused the accident will payout to the person injured by the causer’s negligence.

While a majority of states follow at-fault policies, how the law determines fault is different from state to state.

In Tennessee, we adhere to a “modified comparative negligence system.”

Tennessee & Modified Comparative Negligence

In short, the modified comparative negligence system attempts to account for each person’s percentage of fault in an auto accident. To accomplish this goal, authorities use the modified comparative negligence system to assign a percentage of fault to each person involved in the accident.

Therefore, when using the modified comparative negligence system, multiple parties can be found at fault for the same accident. However, the fault percentage assigned to one party may be more or less than another party’s determined fault percentage.

For example, authorities could determine that one party is 20% at fault for the accident while another party is found 80% at fault for the accident.

The fact that Tennessee ascribes to the modified comparative negligence system is exactly why anyone injured in an auto accident should talk to a knowledgeable Tennessee personal injury attorney about his or her case.

Let’s look at a made-up example to understand better how authorities assign fault.

An Example of Modified Comparative Negligence

The following is a made-up modified comparative negligence example used for educational purposes only.

Let’s assume that a driver runs a red light and t-bones another driver. At first glance, it would seem that authorities would find the driver who ran the red light entirely at fault for the accident, but that’s not necessarily the case.

Let’s assume the t-boned driver was speeding at the time of the accident, and the authorities know about it. Instead of traveling the stated speed limit of 35 miles per hour, the t-boned driver was traveling at 55 miles per hour.

Due to this fact, the t-boned driver would take on some of the blame for the accident, lowering the red light runner's fault percentage from 100% to 75%. Therefore, when all is said and done, the authorities found the red light runner to be 75% at fault for the accident while finding the speeder to be 25% at fault.

In this scenario, authorities found fault in both drivers, but it’s rarely this easy to determine fault in car accident claims. That’s why anyone injured in an accident should talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about his or her case.

Have You Been Injured?

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you have the right to seek just compensation for your wounds. Meade Law Group is an award-winning law firm that knows how to get results for its clients. If you want a firm that does the groundwork necessary to get the outcome your case deserves, contact us to set up an initial consultation.

Call (423) 464-7779 now for a free consultation for your case!