After a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit if you can prove the other driver was at fault. Part of proving the other driver was at fault is providing evidence of negligence. Negligence is a legal term used to describe a person’s failure to use reasonable care while performing an activity. For driving, this can mean breaking traffic laws, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and distracted driving. Determining negligence can be confusing, which is why many drivers end up hiring a Tennessee car accident lawyer.
How is Negligence Determined?
The three main doctrines of negligence that are used in courts are comparative negligence, modified comparative negligence, and contributory negligence. Tennessee uses comparative negligence and modified comparative negligence most often.
Comparative negligence means that your percentage of fault is compared to the other driver’s percentage of fault. What you could potentially receive in restitution depends on the damages that match your percentage of fault.
Modified comparative negligence follows the same process, except that the damages are limited depending on your percentage of fault.
For the states that use contributory negligence, this means that you have to be completely blameless for the accident to obtain any compensation.
Uncertainty of Negligence
The challenge of determining negligence is that negligence is more complicated than straightforward laws. With many laws, you can know if someone stole something or did not steal something if you witnessed the incident, whereas car accidents are unpredictable and happen so fast that most people do not have time to think about where the car came from, how the accident started, or who did what. Memory recall can be disrupted by the shock of the wreck.
When this happens, evidence, eyewitnesses, and information about the other driver become relevant for pinpointing who was at fault. Despite these tools, there are other factors that can disrupt the determination of negligence.
The other driver could leave the scene before you collect insurance and contact information, which means filing a lawsuit will become more lengthy and complicated. Multiple vehicle accidents with passengers can confuse the process of comparative negligence. More drivers mean more calculations of percentages, higher chances of running into a defiant insurance company, and the potential for multiple attempted lawsuits.
When Negligence is Certain
There are certain accidents that are classified as no-doubt liabilities because they are obvious traffic violations. You will almost always receive automatic compensation for these types of accidents. These include left-turn accidents, rear-end crashes, and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) accidents.