When you get into a car accident, your case varies depending on your state, particularly in terms of who is at fault for the accident and how that affects your case. Enlisting the legal help of an auto accident attorney from your state ensures that they understand the legal aspects specific to your case. Let’s explore how different states treat negligence in auto accident cases.
Who is at Fault for the Accident?
If you live in a “fault state” like Tennessee, one of the first steps in an auto accident case is determining who is at fault for the accident. This is the most important aspect of the case and determines the course of action. In order to determine who is at fault, you must prove three elements:
- The driver owes a legal duty to other citizens and should exercise a reasonable amount of care when they are behind the wheel.
- The driver failed to uphold this duty of care and should be considered negligent.
- This negligence and breach of duty caused the accident and resulting injuries. This last step is vital to the process. It isn’t enough to prove that the driver was negligent; you must also prove that their negligence caused the injuries.
What Happens When Multiple Parties are at Fault?
If both parties involved in the accident share some degree of fault, this can affect the case and how much compensation the injured party receives. The degree that shared fault affects auto accident cases depends on whether the state is a pure comparative, modified comparative or contributory negligence state.
In pure comparative fault states, an injured person who is partially responsible for the accident can still receive compensation for the percentage of fault for which they were not responsible. For example, if their damages add up to $10,000, and they were 70% responsible for the accident, they could collect 30% of their damages amount, or $3,000.
Contributory negligence states do not allow any party that shares fault for an accident to receive compensation for their injuries.
Tennessee is a modified comparative fault state. In this state, injured parties can only collect compensation if they were less than 50% responsible for the incident. So they would not be able to receive compensation in the previous example since they were 70% responsible. But if they were only 30% responsible and the total of their damages is $10,000, they could still collect $7,000 in compensation.
Pursuing Your Case
Because the degree of fault can make a big difference in the outcome of your case in Tennessee, it’s vital to make sure you demonstrate that the defendant bore as much fault as possible. In turn, their insurance company is going to do everything they can to blame you for the accident. Insurers have a great deal of experience in this area and are very canny, so it’s important to get the right legal help and advice to give your case the best possible shot.
Contact an Auto Accident Attorney
If you’ve been in a car accident, an auto accident attorney can help you through the legal process. The experts at Mitch Grissim & Associates have 36 years of experience serving the Nashville, TN area, so contact us today and let us help you.