Four Legal Steps to Consider After an Auto Accident in Tennessee

Auto Accident

If a person has an accident in Knoxville, Tennessee, the first legal step they should take is getting in touch with a lawyer. A lawyer will get to work immediately by securing important evidence from the accident to present your case in court. Yes, there might be witnesses to the crash, but they often forget things, and you should avoid taking that risk. That’s also the only time you can take pictures of the car before it goes into a workshop to get fixed. All proof and evidence must be in order. The presence of strong evidence can really build your case, and you need a lawyer to do that.

You need to contact an attorney immediately if you get injured in a car accident while driving in Tennessee. It should be an attorney who is good at their job, is familiar with the laws of Knoxville County, and is aware of how the court system works in the area. Judges in all states and counties are different and have varied modus operandi. Knox County has devised its own local rules when it comes to the court system.

These rules navigate how a personal injury case is presented and dealt with in the Knoxville area, where drunk driving accidents are a common occurrence. Also, every case is different, and only an experienced attorney can assist you in taking care of all legal procedures. For instance, if you experienced an accident with a drunk driver Knoxville Tennessee has strict laws to deal with anyone over the age of 21 with a BAC of more than .08%. Hiring an attorney who knows the rules of such an incident can strengthen your case.

1. Fault, Liability, and Proof

In the aftermath of an accident, the first question that arises is who will bear the cost of the damages? Under Tennessee law, damages incurred in an accident are based on fault in the Knoxville area. Once it is established who is at fault, the person who is less than 50% at fault in the accident is liable to receive money for their losses, according to Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence rule.

When it comes to car accidents, Tennessee is known as the “fault” state. That means the driver at fault will have to pay for the damages that led to a car accident. This is also why liability insurance plays an important role here.

So, how can you prove who’s at fault in a car accident? The person in charge of determining the person at fault must consider every possible evidence accessible to them when reaching a decision. This includes witness statements, a formal report prepared by the local police department, admissions of guilt from any parties, proof that one of the drivers violated the traffic laws, and any possible evidence of recklessness. These may include texting or eating while driving and carelessness, such as overtaking from the wrong direction or turning without signaling.

Who is the person responsible for determining the fault?

As stated above, Tennessee is an ‘at-fault’ state where drivers must have auto insurance. There’s commonly an insurance adjuster who is the first person to be brought in to determine who was at fault in the accident. If you file a lawsuit after you were involved in an accident and your lawsuit goes to trial in court, the judge and jury will decide who was at fault.

While we are on the subject of deciding what you should do after you are involved in a car accident in Knoxville, Tennessee, let’s take a look at the financial responsibility and insurance aspects and requirements.

2. Damages Available That Need To Be Taken Care Of

There are several negligence cases in which an accident is nothing more than an unfortunate incident. There was a complete absence of malicious or harmful intent or criminal behavior. And the individual or party that caused the accident didn’t do it on purpose. They took their eye off the road or didn’t manage their speed limit.

Damages for such incidences and cases don’t go beyond hospital bills, unpaid wages, pain and disruption, and other kinds of economic damages. A skilled lawyer or attorney will be able to explain the steps that should be followed after the accident in the process of recovering damages.

3. Handling the Claim

Across Tennessee, all accident cases are managed similarly across jurisdictions, barring a few exceptions. For example, a state like Nashville has a special judge who is only responsible for dealing with personal injury cases. The judge is responsible for ensuring the case’s proceedings don’t stop. They will assign deadlines to lawyers and clients so the case can move forward. Every court has its own set of rules and policies when they want the cases to proceed further.

4. Carrying out a Comparative Negligence

Tennessee falls under the category of comparative negligence jurisdiction. This means that if the injured party is even remotely responsible for the injuries they have sustained, their compensation will be reduced based on their responsibility in the accident.

The concept of comparative fault allows the jury or the judge to compare the cause of the accident and its liability between the two parties and apply the rule of the injured person’s recovery.

To explain this further, here’s an example. A jury may find that a defendant is at fault entirely, and the plaintiff will receive all the compensation. But if they think that the defendant is at 80% fault instead of 100%, and the plaintiff could have acted in a way that would have avoided the accident, this is where the law of comparative fault comes in. Then, the plaintiff’s recovery amount will be brought down to a meager 20%.


There are only so many ways you can avoid an accident from happening, but once it happens, you must take all the necessary steps you can to cover any personal injuries or the cost of damages to your vehicle. Being in an accident can be a harrowing experience. Nevertheless, this is no time to panic. The steps outlined above can help you get a head start with legal formalities. The best course of action would be to hire an attorney as soon as possible! That’s the ideal way to move forward.

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