An Overview of Tennessee Car Accident Law, Settlements, Lawsuits and Lawyers
From Knoxville to Nashville and the rolling hills and mountains in between, Tennessee is a destination for those who love good people, good food, and good music. According to the 2013 census, Tennessee boasts a population of approximately 6.5 million people, making it the 17th most populated state. The presence of this number of people – a sizeable number of whom drive – and the sometimes mountainous terrain of Tennessee highways and roadways can make it a dangerous place to drive. If motorists do not exercise due case, a car accident can result.
Car accidents can leave injured victims with catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and mental trauma. Some of these injuries (if they are not fatal) can leave a victim with permanent disabilities and limitations. A Tennessee car accident lawsuit cannot undo permanent damage but it can provide an injury victim with compensation to help address the financial costs of a car accident.
Car Crash Statistics from Tennessee
Tennessee roadways have become safer over the years, but nearly 1,000 people still lose their lives each year in Tennessee car accidents. Statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that in 2015 958 people lost their lives in fatal car crashes. This is down from 2006 and even 2012 (where 1,284 and 1,015 people were killed, respectively). This figure does not account for the thousands of individuals injured in car crashes. These car accident collisions have a variety of causes:
- Speeding or disregarding road signs: NHTSA reports that in approximately 187 of the 958 traffic fatalities that occurred in 2015, the speed of one or more individuals was a factor. Speeding, running red lights, failing to obey stop and yield signs, and failing to yield the right of way are all actions and behaviors that can contribute to a car crash.
- Drunk or impaired driving: Drinking alcohol or consuming illegal or legal drugs can interfere with a person’s ability to rationally think and make appropriate decisions. It can also slow down a person’s reflexes and ability to react to other traffic or hazards. About 252 of Tennessee’s traffic fatality incidents involved a driver with a blood or breath alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater.
- Texting and driving: Distracted driving can make a person almost as dangerous as a drunk or impaired driver because texting while driving, eating while driving, or engaging in other behaviors will behind the wheel takes the driver’s attention off of the road. Even momentary episodes of distraction can significantly increase the likelihood of an accident.
A driver who engages in any of these behaviors will most likely be considered to be “negligent” under the law. Negligent drivers who cause injury or death to others can be held responsible for the economic and noneconomic losses they cause.
Tennessee is a “Fault-Based” State
Tennessee residents who drive must have an auto insurance policy in place before doing so. Such a policy helps ensure that if the driver causes injury to another person that the injured person is able to recover compensation for his or her injuries. Tennessee is a fault-based insurance state, meaning that injured drivers or passengers pursue claims of compensation against the at-fault party and/or his or her insurance company. A driver who causes injury or death to another may be held personally responsible for the damages he or she creates if his or her insurance policy is not sufficient to fully compensate the aggrieved victim(s).
Tennessee will also allow an injury victim to recover compensation even if he or she is partly at fault in causing the accident, so long as his or her responsibility does not exceed 50 percent. If the injury victim’s responsibility is 50 percent or greater, Tennessee law will prevent the injury victim from recovering any compensation at all.
Tennessee’s Car Crash Statute of Limitations
Like other states, Tennessee has a statute of limitations that prevents injury victims from filing a case years after an accident has occurred. Tennessee’s statute of limitations is quite strict – one year. This means injury victims have only one year from the date of their car crash within which to initiate a suit for compensation. Injury victims must act quickly in order to preserve their legal rights. Having an experienced attorney’s help can mean the difference between having a lawsuit filed in time and being prevented from obtaining any compensation at all.
Call a Tennessee Car Accident Lawyer Today
Stern Law, PLLC helps individuals injured in car accidents recover the compensation they need for their losses and expenses. Our firm is a tireless and zealous advocate for our clients: We advocate for their rights throughout the pendency of a car accident lawsuit. Contact Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529 and learn how our firm can assist you following a car crash.