When an accident happens, an important starting point should involve ensuring that everyone is safe. Next, you need to determine who is at fault for the accident and injuries – and this is where negligence and fault play an important part.
If you are involved in a car crash that is not your fault, you deserve financial restitution for the resulting damages. However, you must prove that the other party was wholly or largely responsible for the crash.
Tennessee is one of many states that apply the doctrine of modified comparative negligence when determining fault in personal injury claims, like car wrecks.
What exactly does this mean to your accident claim?
Modified comparative negligence distributes fault based on each party’s contribution to the accident. If a case goes to trial, the jury will start by establishing whether there were specific acts that amount to negligence, whether the negligent actions were the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages and the percentage of fault attributable to each party involved in the lawsuit.
Under the modified comparative negligence statute, you will not be entitled to damages if it is established that you contributed more than 50% to the accident or your own injuries.
For example, imagine you are involved in a rear-end collision after a tailgating driver hits you when you have to make an abrupt stop. However, your injuries were not wearing your seatbelt. Because of that, your injuries were more serious than they might have been in a fender-bender.
In this case, the court may rule that the other driver was, say, 70% responsible for the crash while you were 30% negligent. In this illustration, if the court awards $100,000 in damages, your compensation will be reduced by 30%. In other words, you will only receive $70,000 in damages.
If you suffer damages in an accident that you believe was someone else’s fault, you need to be sure that you understand your legal rights and obligations so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.