Let’s say that you were injured in a car accident. Someone pulled out right in front of you, giving you little time to slow down, but it also so happens that you were driving above the speed limit. Who is at fault? In this case, the answer would be both drivers. This can complicate the process of filing an insurance claim, as it will need to be determined who was most at fault. In this scenario, it may be deduced that the other driver was 75% responsible, leaving you 25% at fault.
Prior to 1992, you would have been prohibited from recovering any level of compensation in Tennessee. For many years, personal injury claims were subject to a system of contributory negligence—meaning that accident victims could not seek damages if they were even 1% at fault. Fortunately, Tennessee has since adopted a modified comparative fault system. This means that, as long as your fault does not exceed that of the other party, you can still recover damages.
Under a system of modified comparative negligence, accident victims can still recover some level of compensation even if they were partially at fault. It must only be proven that they were not mostly at fault. As long as they are not more than 50% liable, their recovery would be diminished by their own percentage of fault—which would be decided by a claims adjuster or jury.
Example of how modified comparative negligence works:
You were involved in an auto accident that resulted in $100,000 in damages. At the conclusion of your case, the jury decides that you were 25% at fault. This means that the total damages you are eligible to recover would be reduced by 25%—which, in this case, would result in a total recovery of $75,000. If the jury decides that you were 51% at fault, however, you would be barred from recovering damages.
Unfortunately, few accidents are black and white. Even if you know that the other party was more than 50% at fault, it can be difficult to prove without the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Not only that, but the other party’s insurance company will do whatever they can to make a case against you—limiting their own liability. For this reason, it may be in your best interest to consult Bill Easterly & Associates, at the outset of your case.
With more than 25 years of combined legal experience and millions of dollars in past recoveries, we can provide the aggressive counsel that you deserve. Contact our firm now!
Other Helpful Resources: