Search Site
How Is Comparative Fault Measured in Tennessee Pedestrian Accident Cases?

When pedestrians and cars collide, it’s always the person on foot who’s hurt. Yet, while pedestrian accidents are usually attributed to driver carelessness, some cases can involve shared liability. Pedestrians don’t always stay within marked crosswalks or obey traffic signs and signals. They may suddenly leave the curb and walk into the path of a vehicle. Yet even a clear violation of law by a pedestrian doesn’t negate the responsibility of a driver to exercise due care when walkers may be present.

So how do courts compensate pedestrians for their injuries when the fault is mutual? Tennessee follows the modified comparative negligence model, which generally requires parties to an accident to pay for damages according to their proportion of fault. If a pedestrian’s failure to look both ways before crossing is 10 percent the cause of her getting side swiped by a car, the driver will be 90 percent responsible for her provable damages. On the other hand, if the injured party’s percentage of liability is 50 percent or more, state law bars any financial recovery. The difference between 49 and 50 percent thus determines whether a pedestrian will recover half their damages or nothing.

The allocation of responsibility can also turn on whether the driver or the pedestrian was in the best position to avoid the accident. If a car is speeding, a pedestrian’s attempt to cross a street, even with the right of way, could still be considered a major factor in the accident. On the other hand, a driver who sees a jaywalking pedestrian and fails to stop may be held principally at fault.

These kinds of cases are often challenging to prove and depend on a thorough, compelling presentation of the full range of facts. If you need help with a pedestrian accident or other type of auto accident claim, Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C in Bristol is prepared to serve you throughout the Tri-Cities area. With over 75 years of combined experience, our attorneys have the knowledge required to help you examine your potential case and assist you throughout the legal process. Call us today at 423-797-6022 or contact us online for a free case consultation.

Contact us

Please fill out the form below and one of our attorneys will contact you.

Quick Contact Form

Our Office
  • Bristol Office
    777 Anderson Street
    Bristol, Tennessee 37620
    Phone: 423-797-6022
    Fax: 423-764-1179
  • "Myers Massengill II has represented me for the last four years in my original divorce case and in subsequent returns for other issues..." "  -Shirley Schultz

  • "When we were in crucial need of both knowledge and competency due to a legal situation, Mr. Myers Massengill of this firm spent the time we needed..."  -Geoff Stunkard

  • "Throughout my two years working with Mr. Massengill, I was treated with the utmost respect and courtesy..."  -Debbie Compton

  • "Mr. L. Carter Massengill handled my case with the utmost courtesy, efficiency and professionalism... "  -Karla Jolene Leybold

  • "Mr.Carter Massengill and staff most respectful and nicest people to help quickly resolve your legal issues and with a positive outcome..."  -Brandon Thorpe

  • "Carter's assistance in navigating the complicated path through the Disability appeals process was instrumental in her approval. We can't thank him enough."  -Scott S.

  • "Thank you for helping me win my case. "  -Jenna.

  • "I am very pleased with the service from Myers and his staff. Very professional and personable at the same time . I felt like my case mattered to them . I would highly recommend their services (and a special thank you to Pam guys have been so helpful)"  -Rhonda.

  • "Carter Massengill did an excellent job helping me with my disability. He did a great job along with his assistant Sandra. Honest and helpful people to deal with. I would definitely recommend him."  -Patty.

  • "Attorney Carter Massengill is hands down one of the most trustworthy and genuine individuals you will ever meet. Rest assured that you are in good hands and that he is going to do everything in his power to take the best care of you and your case, along with expediting the process as quickly as possible. It's rare that an attorney possesses such great attributes in the sense that he is easy to talk to and when he says he is going to get something done, he does it! His office staff is the best. They know their clients and have excellent communication skills. It helps when you are going through a difficult situation. They are a great team and you would be very fortunate to have them represent you! We were able to settle out of court for exactly what we were asking for and this was with me having pre existing pain from fibromyalgia. I am extremely blessed to have hired such a wonderful attorney."  -C.M.