After any car accident, people ask, “Who’s at fault?” Sometimes the answer is relatively straightforward, and the fault lies entirely or overwhelmingly with one driver – for example, when someone fails to notice a stop sign and breezes into an intersection, colliding with another vehicle.
Other times, multiple drivers might be violating traffic law, but not in ways necessarily relevant to the accident. For example, in the aftermath of a recent accident involving a Nashville MTA bus, three drivers received tickets from law enforcement. However, for two of those drivers, the tickets involved the lack of proper seat restraints; only one of the drivers, who had apparently blown through a red light, received a ticket for something that seems to have caused the multi-vehicle crash.
There are also situations where multiple drivers violate traffic law or behave in other ways that directly contribute to an accident; for example, at the time of the crash, both drivers might have been speeding or neglecting to pay attention to the road. If this is the case with your car accident, the issues you need to address include the following:
- Which driver is more at fault? For example, although both drivers might have been speeding, one of them might have sped and failed to check properly for oncoming traffic.
- Could any of the drivers be judged at least 50% at fault for the crash? In civil suits, Tennessee courts base decisions on a principle of modified comparative fault; if one driver is at least 50% at fault, they generally aren’t entitled to collect any damages from other individuals involved in an accident. Below 50%, the drivers can collect damages commensurate with the amount of fault they share (for instance, with a driver sharing 10% of the fault collecting more than a driver deemed 30% at fault).
- What evidence do you have showing the comparative fault? In addition to your own statement about the crash, you need to rely on any other evidence you can obtain, including witness testimony, photos, video footage, and police reports. Every bit of evidence matters in what might be a complex case.
Don’t hesitate to contact reputable Nashville auto accident lawyers after a crash where multiple drivers might seem to share the fault. Sometimes, even a crash that appears relatively straightforward might prove complex. Your attorney can help you carefully assemble and analyze the evidence you need in order to present a powerful case to insurance companies and in possible civil litigation.