After a car wreck, the most pressing issues for many people are whether they will be able to heal fully and whether they will be able to recover compensation to pay for their medical expenses, lost wages and other economic and non-economic damages. For the former, a doctor is needed. For the latter, the help of an experienced car accident attorney can be essential.
Tennessee and Mississippi are both “fault” states. This means that the driver who caused the accident is responsible for paying for it. If you were involved in an accident and suffered losses due to another driver’s careless actions, you would have the right to file a claim against that driver and seek a recovery through that driver’s liability insurance policy.
But what if you contributed to the accident in some way? Are you still allowed to recover compensation if you were partially responsible for a car wreck but not 100 percent to blame?
Comparative negligence is a rule in tort law that refers to a situation when both parties are found to be partially at fault for an accident and related damages. Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute provides an excellent explanation of this concept which you can find here.
Tennessee follows a modified comparative negligence (or fault) system. It has a 50 percent bar. This means that a plaintiff in a Tennessee personal injury claim has the right to recover compensation for his or her injuries even if they were partially responsible for the wreck – as long as the plaintiff’s degree of fault is no greater than 49 percent.
However, if a plaintiff was 50 percent or more at fault for a crash, then the plaintiff would be barred from recovering damages from the defendant.
If less than 50 percent at fault, then the plaintiff’s damages would be reduced in an amount that is proportional to the plaintiff’s degree of fault. For instance, a plaintiff who is found to be five percent at fault would have his or her recoverable damages amount reduced by five percent.
Mississippi, on the other hand, follows a pure comparative fault system. Under a pure comparative fault system, an injured party is allowed to recover compensation even if that person is 99 percent at fault for his or her injury. However, the plaintiff’s damages would be reduced in proportion to the degree of fault.
For example, if a plaintiff suffered $10,000 in damages and was 99 percent at fault, the plaintiff could recover an amount of $100 from the defendant, but no more.
So, as you can see, where you live can have a big impact on your right to file a claim after a crash if you are partially at fault as well as the amount you can recover in damages.
The other driver’s insurance company has an incentive to claim comparative negligence when settling a car accident claim. If the insurance company can pin some of the fault for the accident on your shoulders, the insurer will owe you far less money – and maybe even no money.
For this reason, it is no surprise that those who are injured in accident often receive settlement offers that are far less than they really deserve.
Even if you were partially at fault for an accident, you deserve your full damages amount relative to the degree of the other driver’s fault.
As such, it is extremely important to hire an experienced car accident attorney who can challenge undue claims of comparative negligence made by the other driver’s insurance company.
Your attorney can do this by:
In addition to challenging claims of negligence, an attorney can gather and present evidence of all of the damages you have suffered, including economic and non-economic harm. The lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company and improve your chances of recovering your full settlement amount.
Car accidents are extremely common in Tennessee and Mississippi. Driver error accounts for most of these crashes.
At The Law Office of David E. Gordon, we strongly believe that just because you made a mistake while driving, you should still be entitled to receive compensation to help you pay for your injuries and losses. No one deserves to go bankrupt or suffer extreme financial loss as the result of one small error behind the wheel.
If an insurance company is trying to pay you less than you deserve based on a claim that you were at fault for the accident, we can help you to disprove those claims and pursue a full and fair settlement amount.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, we want to help. Do not wait any longer to contact us. Call us today or submit our online form to receive a free consultation about your case.