What You Need to Know About Comparative Fault in Tennessee Personal Injury Cases

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When it comes to personal injury cases in Tennessee, understanding the concept of comparative fault is crucial. Comparative fault refers to the legal principle that determines the extent to which each party involved in an accident can be held responsible for the resulting injuries. This guide aims to provide you with valuable insights into comparative fault laws in Tennessee and equip you with the knowledge necessary to navigate personal injury cases effectively.

The Basics of Comparative Fault in Tennessee

In Tennessee, the concept of comparative fault, also known as “comparative negligence,” is a legal doctrine used to allocate fault and determine liability in personal injury cases. Comparative fault allows a court to consider the degree of fault of each party involved in an accident or injury and apportion damages accordingly.

How Comparative Fault Affects Personal Injury Compensation

Here's how comparative fault works in Tennessee:

  1. Determining Fault: When an accident or injury occurs, a court will examine the evidence to determine the extent of fault for each party involved. This may involve evaluating witness testimonies, expert opinions, and other relevant evidence.

  2. Assigning Percentage of Fault: Each party involved in the accident is assigned a percentage of fault based on their actions leading up to the incident. This percentage represents their degree of responsibility for the accident.

  3. Calculating Damages: Once the percentages of fault are determined, the court will calculate damages. The total damages awarded to the injured party will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 20% at fault for an accident and is awarded $100,000 in damages, they will ultimately receive $80,000 (i.e., $100,000 minus 20%).

  4. Apportionment of Damages: In cases with multiple defendants, each defendant is responsible for their allocated percentage of fault. This means that a defendant is liable for damages only to the extent of their own fault. For instance, if there are three defendants with fault percentages of 30%, 40%, and 30%, they will be liable for damages in those proportions.

  5. The 50% Rule: As mentioned earlier, Tennessee follows the 50% rule. This means that an injured party cannot recover damages if their fault in the accident is determined to be 50% or more. If their fault is 49% or less, they can still recover damages, but the award will be reduced proportionately based on their degree of fault.

In Tennessee, the specific laws and regulations governing comparative fault can be found in the state's statutes and case law. While Tennessee follows the modified comparative fault system, it's important to consult with an attorney who is well-versed in the state's laws to understand how this doctrine is applied in different types of cases and to ensure compliance with the most current legal standards.

Seeking Legal Representation for Your Personal Injury Case:

Additionally, it's worth noting that personal injury laws can be complex, and the application of comparative fault can vary depending on the specifics of each case. Therefore, individuals involved in personal injury claims in Tennessee should seek legal counsel to navigate the legal process and protect their rights effectively.

At Kinnard Law, we have the resources and experience to help you. We help you navigate personal injury laws and understand your legal options. Our firm even has experience proving liability, preventing other parties from lumping a higher percentage of blame on you.

Call (615) 933-2893 for a free consultation, or fill out our online contact form.

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