As the number of traffic accidents in the US grows, victims are becoming more aware of their rights. A majority of them go-ahead to file claims for compensation to pay up for their injuries and damage sustained in the mishap. Every state has a different set of laws when it comes to personal injury claims. If you are injured in a car accident in Tennessee and want to file a claim for compensation, you would want to understand your options first. A clear understanding of the local laws is a definite advantage as it gives you better chances of getting a fair settlement without any delays. Let us explain all that car accident victims in Tennessee need to know.
The Statute of Limitations
Essentially, the Statute of limitations defines the time limit for the victim to bring a lawsuit to court. In Tennessee, the time limit is one year after the mishap for car accident injuries and it is the same in wrongful death claims as well. The difference here is that in case of death, the time is calculated from the date of death of the victim (which could be sometime after the date of the accident). In the event of damage to the vehicle or other property, the victim can file a lawsuit within three years from the accident. If you miss the deadline, the defendant can use it to their advantage and seek the dismissal of the case. So applying within this limit is mandatory.
Another significant fact that you need to know about the Tennessee car accident law is that it is a modified comparative negligence state. This implies that if you are injured in a car accident in Nashville or elsewhere in Tennessee, the jury will consider the negligence of both, the driver and the victim, to decide the compensation. You may recover damages but the award will be cut down based on your share of negligence. Moreover, the victim’s share of liability should be less than 50 per cent for recovering from at-fault parties. The comparative negligence rule not only binds judges and juries in the state (if the case goes to court) but also guides insurance claim adjusters when they evaluate cases. Since no empirical means exist for the allocation of fault, the assignment of liability ultimately comes down to the ability of your attorney to negotiate with the adjuster or persuade the judge or jury in the court.
Reporting a car accident
There are also state-specific rules in the context of reporting the mishaps and these apply to the drivers of the vehicles as well. According to the Tennessee Code, the driver of a vehicle involved in a road accident in the state is mandated to report the mishap to the Commissioner of Safety. This is to be done in writing and within a period of 20 days if any person has been killed or injured in the crash or it caused damage to the property (of any person, including the reporting driver) exceeding $1,500. The threshold is $400 for car accidents which occurred prior to January 1, 2019. Insurance coverage plays a key role in almost every car accident scenario. Therefore, it is vital for the victims to understand the rules and laws that act in their favor and could help them in securing a claim value they are entitled to.