If you have been injured in a car accident in Nashville and are considering filing a personal injury claim, you should know that proving the other driver was at fault can be challenging. It’s not enough to show that the other driver was negligent; you also need to prove that their negligence caused your injury. In a modified comparative fault state like Tennessee, determining fault percentages can be complex and contentious when dealing with insurance companies. Let’s dive a bit deeper into this issue so you can be informed and prepared to file a successful claim.
“Negligence” is defined legally as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” The operative word in this definition is “ordinary.” If you drive around Nashville every day and are relatively familiar with traffic laws and common practices on our roads, then your conduct can be described as ordinary. If you drive around in your neighborhood without paying close attention (for example, distracted by your phone or driving under the influence), then that could be considered negligent in most circumstances.
Proving negligence in court involves four distinct steps:
- Showing that the other person in your lawsuit owed you a duty of care for your safety. (Any driver on the road assumes a duty of care for others.)
- Showing how the negligent party failed in their duty of care. They acted in a way that a reasonable person wouldn’t have.
- Showing that your injuries resulted from the other person’s breach of care. In other words, the person’s negligent actions directly or indirectly caused your injury.
- Showing that you suffered financial loss as a result.
Understanding Modified Comparative Fault
There’s another complication to consider. Tennessee is a “modified comparative fault state,” which means that if any percentage of your own negligence contributed to the accident, it would reduce your recovery amount by that percentage. For example, if you’re found to be 25% at fault, then your recovery will be reduced by 25%. However, if you are more than 50% at fault, you can recover nothing. So when proving fault in a Nashville car accident, it’s essential to demonstrate that the other party was at least 50 percent at fault to receive a settlement.
Ways to Prove Fault in an Injury Accident
While proving fault and negligence can seem daunting, the good news is that there are several ways you and your attorney can prove the other driver was at fault. These include:
- Gathering evidence. The invention of the smartphone has proven quite useful at accident scenes. Take photos of everything you can—the physical damage to the car, photos of your injuries, the position of vehicles after the collision, etc. Your attorney can also utilize forensic evidence during their investigation to determine fault.
- Eyewitness accounts. If there are witnesses to the accident, their written or recorded statements can confirm how the accident happened and whether the other driver was violating any traffic laws. (Traffic violations are a breach of care.)
- Police reports. When the police show up at the scene of an accident, they write out a report of their findings, often including an opinion of who was at fault. Obtaining a copy of this report can bolster your case.
- “No doubt” liability accidents. If the accident was a rear-end collision or left-turn collision (meaning the driver hit you while attempting a left turn), these are almost always categorized as 100-percent the fault of the driver who did it.
Have You Been Injured In A Nashville Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 615.220.4180 to schedule your free consultation. We will schedule a time to meet with you at one of our offices in Smyrna, Nashville or Murfreesboro—whichever location is most convenient for you.