Car accidents can leave survivors grasping at straws. Even with the right insurance policy, paying for repairs and obtaining medical benefits often seem like an uphill battle. While Tennessee state law provides options for compensation, securing a fair settlement may present unexpected challenges.
Tennessee’s Fault-Based Insurance System
Tennessee, like most states, has a fault-based insurance system. After an accident, liability typically lies with the party who caused the collision. Under most circumstances, victims can file a claim for compensation against the at-fault motorist and their insurance company.
Since Tennessee recognizes that most people lack the means to pay for an accident out-of-pocket, the state requires motorists to purchase minimum liability coverage for:
- $25,000 per injury or death per accident
- $50,000 for total injuries or deaths or per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
While state law mandates that every motorist carry a policy covering a minimum of $25,000 in property damage, insurance companies are for-profit enterprises—and it’s rarely in their best interest to offer large settlements without any negotiation. Even if you have a seemingly open-and-shut case—and the evidence to back it up—the other motorist’s insurer may try to offload its own liability through opaque investigative tactics.
Determining Who Pays for Car RepairsAfter an Accident
If you or a loved one was involved in a Tennessee automobile accident that wasn’t your fault, you could receive compensation for car repairs through the following.
The At-Fault Motorist’s Insurance Company
If the other driver’s negligence caused or contributed to your Tennessee car accident, they’re liable for your repairs and other expenses. However, negotiating a settlement can take time, and you may not receive immediate relief—especially if the adjuster has doubts about the claim or the true extent of your damages.
Your Own Insurance Company
If liability can’t be determined, your car insurance provider might pay to repair or replace your vehicle. Should the other motorist be found at fault, your insurer will request reimbursement from their policy carrier.
An Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Policy
The Volunteer State has one of the highest percentages of uninsured motorists in the country, with nearly 25 percent of all drivers lacking coverage. If someone doesn’t have insurance and lacks the means to settle out-of-pocket, you might not be able to recover the damages necessary to repair or replace your vehicle.
However, if you previously purchased an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy for your vehicle coverage, it should disburse benefits for your accident.
When Your Expenses Go Beyond Property Damage
Property damage is a near-certainty in most accidents. However, you may be entitled to compensation for losses beyond property damage.
Depending on the circumstances of your Tennessee car crash, you could receive reimbursement for expenses, losses, and damages including:
- Your past, present, and future medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Prescription medication co-pays
- Reconstructive surgery
- Lost income from work
- Diminished earning potential
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Wrongful death
Tennessee, unlike some other states, currently doesn’t cap damages available in most car accident claims. However, you must act fast, as there’s a strict statute of limitations applicable to all personal injury claims. If you wait too long to contact an experienced attorney, the statute of limitations could lapse, and the court may dismiss your case without consideration of its merits.