proving fault in a tennessee car accident

It takes at least two vehicles to make a collision and often the two drivers share in the fault. In Tennessee, you cannot recover damages for injuries you suffer if you were mostly to blame for the accident. As a consequence, you need to prove the other driver’s degree of fault and to protect yourself from liability claims against you.

Tennessee is a “fault” state, which means that you must seek reimbursement for medical bills and other accident-related expenses from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. Furthermore, Tennessee law applies a rule of modified comparative negligence, so if you are found partially at fault, say 25 percent, your recoverable damages would be reduced in proportion. The same is true for injury claims by the other driver against you. Moreover, if you are found to be 50 percent or more at fault, you are barred from recovering any damages at all.

There are several steps you can take to preserve evidence you may need to support a claim for property damages or personal injury:

  • Take pictures of the accident scene, the damage to your car and other cars involved in the accident.
  • If there were witnesses, get their names and contact information. Your insurance company and lawyer will want to contact them to take a statement.
  • Exchange names, license numbers and insurance company information with the other drivers involved in the accident.
  • Contact the police so an officer can come to the accident scene and prepare a police report. The insurance companies, doctors and others will want to see that report as the case progresses.
  • Immediately seek medical care, even if you feel you have only minor injuries. There may be injuries, such as internal bleeding, for which symptoms have not yet appeared. Seeking immediate medical care establishes a record of injury that will be relevant to your legal claims.

Finally, consult with an experienced Tennessee car accident lawyer who can immediately investigate the accident and assemble the evidence necessary to establish you were not primarily at fault and that another driver was.

At Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C., our attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience handling personal injury claims and dealing with insurance companies on behalf of clients in Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City and throughout Upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. We understand how important it is to treat each client and family with respect and the individualized attention they deserve. Call us today at 423-797-6022 or contact us online to plan an initial consultation.