If you were injured in a car accident, you may be suffering from physical injuries and emotional trauma. You and your family may also be feeling the financial impact of a car accident. If another driver was wholly or partially responsible for the collision, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and suffering. Understandably, you probably want to know what your car accident is worth. With that in mind, a Murfreesboro personal injury lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby discusses the factors that influence that value of your Tennessee car accident lawsuit.
Is Another party Responsible for the Accident?
Before you can even attempt to determine the value of your car accident lawsuit, you must first establish that another party was at least partially at-fault in the collision. In legal terms, you must establish that another party’s negligence caused or contributed to the crash. To prove negligence on the part of another driver you must prove that:
- The driver owed you a duty of care.
- The driver breached the duty of care.
- The breach was a cause of the accident.
- You were injured.
The fact that motorists operating a vehicle on public roadways owe a duty of care to others on the roadway has long been established by law. You will, however, need to prove that the driver breached that duty of care. Common examples of negligence on the part of a driver including things such as driving while under the influence, driving distracted, speeding, or driving drowsy.
Because Tennessee is a “comparative fault” state, you do not have to prove that another driver was entirely at fault for the accident to be entitled to compensation. Tennessee Code §29-11-107 governs the use of comparative fault when two or more parties are liable for a personal injury accident. In short, if you were less than 50 percent at fault in the accident you may be entitled to compensation; however, the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced in accordance with your share of the fault.
Factors that Impact the Value of a Tennessee Car Accident Case
You may have heard someone use a “formula” for determining the value of a car accident lawsuit. Unfortunately, such a formula does not really exist because every car accident presents a unique set of facts and circumstances. Nevertheless, there are some factors that will likely impact the value of your Tennessee car accident case, such as:
- Your own negligence. If you share some of the fault, the comparative negligence doctrine dictates that your compensation be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if your case is worth $100,000 and you were 20 percent at fault, your award would be reduced by 20 percent, or $20,000, to $80,000.
- The severity of your injuries. Generally, the more severe your physical injuries are the more your case is worth. Not only will you likely have considerably higher medical bills, but it is easy to believe that you also suffered more emotional trauma.
- Personal characteristics. Things such as your age, general health, education, and income can also play a role in the value of your case because the law says that a defendant must take the victim as he/she was at the time of the accident. If you were older or more fragile, for example, you may have suffered more serious injury, making your case more valuable. Likewise, if you earned a high salary at the time of the accident, you may have considerably more lost wages than someone making minimum wage.
- The defendant’s ability to pay. While the law does not limit a damages award based on the limits of a defendant’s liability insurance policy, it is something that should be considered. Unless the defendant has considerable personal assets, the maximum you are likely to receive is the insurance limit.
Contact a Murfreesboro Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about a Tennessee car accident, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro personal injury lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.
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