Personal injury laws in the state apply when people have been injured as a result of the negligence of another person or a business. If a store owner fails to adequately remove ice directly in front of his or her store, for example, and the ice leads to an elderly citizen falling and breaking an arm, the store owner can be charged in a personal injury suit.
Why? Store owners are responsible for keeping the areas directly in front of their stores safe for customers. They are also supposed to know when conditions are unsafe, within a reasonable time frame.
Tennessee has specific laws relating to personal injury. Because the law is complex, here are 3 facts you should know.
- A personal injury suit in Tennessee must be brought within one year of the accident. This is shorter than the time frame in many other states.
- Tennessee applies what is termed “modified comparative fault” to any damages awarded. What that means is simple. Say, in the example given, that there was a handrail leading up to the store. The court may find that the store owner in fact didn’t clear the ice in a safe manner, but also that the plaintiff could have avoided some injury by either using or grabbing the handrail when she began to fall. If the court, for example, finds that the plaintiff was 25% responsible for the accident, 25% will be deducted from the award she receives. In other words, if $10,000 is awarded, that amount will be reduced 25%, or $2,500. The final award will thus be $7,500.
- A plaintiff can be awarded damages under modified comparative fault as long as the court determines he or she is not 50% or more at fault.
- Like many states, Tennessee imposes a ceiling on damages in personal injury cases. The cap is $750,000.