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Tennessee Car Accident Laws

October 13, 2020

Flora Investigating A Car WreckCar accidents can be life-changing events. The laws related to car accidents differ by state.

Tennessee car accident laws govern insurance rules, outline reporting requirements, and provide avenues to recover your losses.

If you were injured in a Tennessee car accident you should contact a car accident attorney. An experienced Tennessee car accident attorney can explain your options and applicable Tennessee car accident laws. Contact an attorney at Flora Templeton Stuart today to figure out your next steps.

Tennessee Car Accident Statute of Limitations

Under state law, lawsuits are limited by what’s called a statute of limitations. The applicable statute of limitations depends on the type of case.

If you file a lawsuit after a car accident, you will file suit under Tennessee personal injury laws. The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case in Tennessee is one year from the date of the accident. The statute of limitations for property damage is three years from the date of the accident.

If you fail to file your claim within the time limit, the statute of limitations may bar you from ever filing suit. However, there are some exceptions, such as for accident victims under the age of 18. Your attorney can help you determine whether any exceptions might extend the time to file in your case.

Contact an attorney focusing on car accidents in Tennessee to learn more about Tennessee statutes of limitations and how they may affect your case.

Fault Laws in Tennessee

There are a number of important laws pertaining to fault in Tennessee car accidents.

Negligence Laws

tennessee auto accident lawsUnder Tennessee auto accident law, an essential part of filing a lawsuit following a car accident is proving fault.

Proving a driver was at fault for a Tennessee car accident requires you to establish that the driver was negligent.

To prove negligence, you need to be able to show that the driver’s conduct fell below what a reasonable person would do under the same circumstances and that their conduct caused your accident and damages.

Insurance Laws

Tennessee is known as an “at-fault” state. This means that a driver who is found at fault for an accident is responsible for paying for the resulting damages and injuries. The driver’s insurance company is responsible to pay these damages up to the at-fault driver’s policy limit. If the driver does not have insurance, an injury victim can pursue a claim through their own insurance company if they have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Comparative Fault Laws

Under Tennessee law, each individual responsible for an accident has to pay damages based on their percentage of fault. This means that in a multi-vehicle accident, you might be able to collect damages from multiple other drivers. Additionally, you can collect damages even if you were partially at fault for the accident.

For example, if you were in an accident with two other drivers and they were each 40% responsible for the accident while you were 20% responsible, you could collect 80% of your damages—40% from each of the other two drivers.

However, under Tennessee’s “modified comparative fault” rule, you won’t be allowed to collect any damages if you were 50% or more responsible for the accident.

Car Insurance Laws

flora and kentUnder Tennessee car accident laws, all Tennessee drivers are required to carry liability insurance to cover the injuries and/or damages following a Tennessee car wreck.

According to the Tennessee Department of Motor Vehicles, Tennessee drivers are required to carry the following coverage, at a minimum:

  • $15,000 per accident for property damage;
  • $25,000 per accident for each injury or death; and
  • $50,000 per accident for total injuries or death.

Tennessee auto accident laws require drivers to provide proof of insurance when they are pulled over by a police officer and when they are involved in a car accident involving any injuries, death, and/or property damages totaling over $1,500.

Driving without insurance or without proof of insurance in Tennessee can result in a Class C misdemeanor. Possible penalties include fines, a suspension of your driver license, and the inability to renew your registration.

Reporting an Accident

Under Tennessee car accident laws, Tennessee drivers are required to report accidents if the following conditions are met:

  • The accident resulted in any injuries:
  • The accident resulted in death; or
  • The accident resulted in more than $1,500 in property damage.

If you are involved in an accident, it’s important to call the police to report the accident right away. Failure to report a qualifying Tennessee car accident has legal consequences, including the suspension of the driver’s license and registration.

Receiving Compensation After an Accident

If you were involved in a car accident in Tennessee that resulted in property damage, personal injury, and/or death, you may be eligible for compensation for your losses. Although financial reimbursement won’t solve all the problems that come with a car accident, getting paid is a significant step toward getting your life back on track.

In Tennessee, an injured driver can receive reimbursement for the following types of damages, among others:

  • Medical expenses,
  • Property damage,
  • Lost income, and
  • Pain and suffering.

Additionally, if you lost a loved one as a result of a car accident, you may have the right to seek damages for wrongful death. These damages can compensate both the damage suffered by the deceased person and the suffering of their family members as a result of the death.

Do I Need Legal Representation After an Accident?

Tennessee car accident laws can be complicated and will have a significant impact on your physical and financial health. If you were involved in a car accident in Tennessee, you should consult with an attorney whose practice focuses on Tennessee auto accident laws.

An experienced lawyer will help you navigate the process, negotiate with opposing parties, and represent you in court if negotiations are unsuccessful. Car accident attorneys can be particularly helpful in engaging with insurance companies.

Insurance companies are interested in paying the least amount of reimbursement as possible and will often extend low offers at the outset of a case. An experienced attorney will be able to negotiate with these insurance companies to help you get a better offer.

Hire Flora Templeton Stuart

flora with clientsFlora Templeton Stuart has been serving the legal needs of communities across Kentucky and Tennessee for 42 years. The Flora Templeton Stuart law firm is proud to fight for the rights of injured victims.

Our personal injury attorneys are committed to providing compassionate, skilled, and community-based legal representation.

Contact us today for a free case review. One of our attorneys will talk through the details of your case and help you make the best decision for your needs. Your best interest is our top priority.

Author Photo

Flora Templeton Stuart

Flora Templeton Stuart is the lead attorney and founder of the law firm Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, established in 1976. Flora goes to work every day to make a difference in her community and the lives of her clients. When you call you will get a personal representation and an attorney who truly cares.