When you get into a car accident in Tennessee, there are some steps you may want to take to protect yourself and your legal rights. Despite the chaos, confusion and fear, your behavior determines how your insurance company and Tennessee civil or criminal courts evaluate your case.
It’s understandable to panic after an accident but try to remain calm and collected. It is essential that you assess the scene and any potential injuries before doing anything else.
Call the police
Tennessee Code Sec. 55-10-106 requires individuals involved in car accidents to call the police right away to report the accident and provide statements. In minor incidents, the law doesn’t require you to call 911, especially if there are no injuries or the property damage is less than $400. However, you might not know the exact extent of the damages, so it is still a good idea to call the police and make sure they document everything.
Exchange information with the other parties, including name, contact details, license plate number and insurance information. Ensure that you get the names and addresses of any witnesses who saw how the accident occurred. It’s also important to take pictures of the accident scene.
Report the accident
You should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide all necessary details to start a claim process. However, you may need to be careful of how you talk to your insurer because there are instances where they may try to lowball you in the settlement.
Seek medical treatment
Even if you don’t seem to be seriously injured, it is still important to seek professional medical help immediately. Also, keep records of your treatments, as you can use them as evidence.
Tennessee is a “fault” state for auto insurance, which means the at-fault party is liable for all damages caused by their negligence. Therefore, if someone else was responsible for the accident, you can consider filing a personal injury claim to recover your losses, especially if your insurance policy is insufficient.