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Understanding how personal fault can impact your accident claim

Injured drivers in Tennessee are often denied financial recovery due to their level of fault for causing their own injuries. Injured passengers do not face this dilemma because victims who are not driving are rarely assessed for fault. While many states use pure comparative negligence that allows those who are not totally at fault for the accident to receive some amount of damages, this is not necessarily the case in Tennessee. However, it is always best to have an experienced auto accident attorney representing your claim regardless of whether driving or not.

Modified comparative negligence in Tennessee

There are essentially two forms of modified comparative negligence law when car accidents are evaluated for injury damages. One sets the bar for financial recovery at a 51% personal fault level while the other uses the 50% denial rule. Tennessee uses the latter, which means drivers injured in a 50-50 shared fault accident are denied any financial recovery unless they have a personal injury protection policy. Additionally, those with a comparative fault percentage of 49% or less will still have total damages reduced in accordance with their personal fault assignment.

What an attorney can do

Determining fault levels in an accident is not necessarily a scientific process. Insurance companies are largely involved in the determination as well as accident reconstruction officers who issue the official investigation report. A car accident attorney can conduct an independent investigation into what actually transpired during the mishap and provide evidence that can reduce the comparative negligence percentage of their client.

It is clear that auto accident claims in Tennessee can be complicated and strongly defended. Always consult with an experienced accident attorney who understands how comparative negligence applies to the case.


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Practicing in Bartlett Since 1977

Attorney Jeffrey H. Jones is held in high regard among peers, clients and judges throughout the Memphis area.

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