As the victim of a personal injury accident you could be entitled to compensation for the injuries your suffered in the accident. Though we commonly refer to them as “accidents”, the reality is that for those injuries to be compensable another party’s negligence must have caused, or contributed to, the “accident” that resulted in your injuries. Often, the victim played a role in the accident as well, which may lead you to ask the question “ What If I am partly responsible for my injuries? ”
The State of Tennessee uses a form of the comparative negligence doctrine to handles situations in which more than one party shares the fault for an accident. Fortunately, all but five states uses some form of comparative negligence. The other negligence doctrine – contributory negligence – prevents a victim from recovering any damages if the victim contributed at all to the accident that caused the injuries. In other words, even if the victim was only one percent at fault, the victim would be entitled to nothing by way of compensation for his or her injuries. Comparative fault, on the other hand, apportions damages according to the degree of fault a party has in the accident.
By way of illustration, imagine that you are involved in a car accident. After an extensive investigation it is determined that the other driver was texting while driving and failed to signal a lane change, both of which contributed to the collision. You, on the other hand, were speeding. Ultimately, it is decided that the other driver was 80 percent at fault for the collision and you were 20 percent at fault. Your total damages, including both economic and non-economic damages, amount to $80,000. You would be responsible for 20 percent of those damages, or $16,000 while the other driver would be held responsible for 80 percent, or $64,000. The same basic process works regardless of how many people shared in the fault for a collision.
So the answer to the original question is that if you were partly responsible for your injuries you will receive less compensation from the other party. Not surprisingly, the degree to which a party was at fault is often the biggest obstacle when settling a personal injury case. Both sides want to keep their liable for the injuries down, often resulting in heated negotiations over how much responsibility to assign to each party. Having an experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney on your side is the key to ensuring that recover the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.
If you have additional questions or concerns about a how negligence is decided in a personal injury accident, contact the experienced Tennessee personal injury attorneys at Morton & Germany by calling 901-522-0050 today to schedule your appointment.