In Tennessee, as in all states, car insurance is a key factor involved in any claim for damages filed after a traffic accident. According to the Tennessee Financial Responsibility Law, car owners must prove their ability to pay for financial losses if they are responsible for a car crash.
Financial responsibility for losses resulting from a car accident, such as injuries, vehicle damage, lost income, etc., is determined by fault. The individual at fault for the accident is deemed responsible for any harm stemming from the accident. This financial responsibility is handled from a practical standpoint by the at-fault driver’s insurance company up to the stated insurance policy limits.
In Tennessee, an individual who sustains any type of injury or damage from a car accident can typically proceed in one of the following ways:
- File a claim with his or her insurance carrier if the losses are covered under the policy. In such a case, the insurance carrier of the injured person will often pursue a subrogation claim against the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver.
- File a third-party claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for the accident.
It is important to note, however, that this only extends up to 49%. Under the state’s modified comparative negligence rules, in order to collect damages you must be found no more than 49% at-fault for the crash and resulting injuries. If you are found equally at-fault, you can be barred from collecting anything.
Tennessee car insurance requirements
The minimum required insurance coverage amounts in the state of Tennessee are as follows:
- $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death (of one person in an accident) with the owner/driver of the insured vehicle at-fault
- $50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident with the owner/driver of the insured vehicle at-fault
- $15,000 liability coverage for property damage resulting from an accident with the owner/driver of the insured vehicle at-fault
Liability coverage pays the medical expenses, property damage expenses, and other expenses of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who sustain injuries or vehicle damage in a car crash for which you are responsible, up to policy coverage limits. In many cases, you should carry more coverage than the minimums required in order to have adequate financial protection in the event of a serious crash resulting in serious car accident injuries and/or vehicle damage.
Do not pass on uninsured/underinsured car insurance
Although you have the option to waive uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, you really shouldn’t. This insurance coverage applies in various types of accident scenarios, including hit-and-run collisions and pedestrian accidents.
UM coverage is also highly useful when the at-fault party has auto insurance, but not enough to pay for all of the damages you sustain. In this situation, the UM policy you purchase can fill in the gap and help cover your expenses.
Obtaining legal counsel during the insurance claims process is a wise move even if you are a loyal customer to your insurance company and the insurance adjuster is friendly and caring. Your attorney can help you move through the claims process effectively and protect your interests from start to finish, helping ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
If you have sustained an injury in a car crash due to the fault of another party, or if your fault is less than 50%, you may be eligible to secure significant compensation for your injuries and losses. The Memphis car crash lawyers at Bailey & Greer, PLLC, are here to help you every step of the way. We serve Memphis, Jackson, and West Tennessee with our legal representation services. To set up by free discussion about your case, give us a call today at 901.475.7434 or use our contact form to send us a request.