In Tennessee, if you want to receive compensation for an injury, you have to show that the person who caused you injury was negligent. Negligence means not using reasonable care or taking reasonable precautions. You have to prove that the person who caused the damage owed you a duty-for example, if you were both at a four-way intersection and you had the right of way, the other person owes you the duty of waiting while you cross. You must show that the other person neglected that duty, that you were damaged or injured, and the damage or injury was caused by the other person’s negligence in carrying out his or her duty.
Under Tennessee law, there is something called “comparative negligence.” This means that if your own carelessness was also a factor in your injury, your claim amount can be reduced in proportion to the level of carelessness you showed. According to the “modified comparative negligence rule,” though, if you were equally at fault or more at fault than the other person, you can’t receive any damages. You must show that your level of carelessness was less than 50% of the cause of the injury. But your claim can be reduced according to your degree of fault.
Tennessee law has a very strict one-year statute of limitation for personal injury cases. This means that from the time you are injured or discover you are injured, you have one year to file a claim. Once that year has passed, you lose the right to file any claim.
Often, insurance companies try to take advantage of this statute of limitation by delaying their processes. They may tell you that a check is on its way or that more information is required or use other methods for stalling. They are trying to delay things long enough for the one-year statute of limitations to expire so that you cannot sue.
For this reason, it is important to seek medical attention and legal counsel right away after becoming injured. If you wait too long to see a doctor, the other party’s insurance company will claim that your injuries were the result of some other, unrelated event. They can use this to deny your claim. The longer you wait, the harder it is to prove that your injuries were the result of the accident.
Seeking legal counsel will help you avoid all the pitfalls of dealing with insurance companies and proving the validity of your claim. Eric K. Fox is an attorney who will help you with all aspects of your personal injury claim.