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The ‘49% rule’ of plaintiff liability following a car crash

On Behalf of | May 24, 2022 | Uncategorized

Car accidents can be complicated affairs, involving multiple parties and multiple factors leading up to the crash. For example, what if you were T-boned in an intersection where you had the green light, but you were traveling 10 miles over the speed limit at the time. Does your speeding mean you cannot collect damages in a subsequent lawsuit? All of this depends on Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence rule.

Modified comparative negligence in Tennessee

It used to be that if you were even 1% at fault for a crash you could not collect damages in a subsequent lawsuit. However, Tennessee has altered this rule in a way that is more forgiving of plaintiffs.

These days, just because you were partially at fault for the car crash does not necessarily mean you are automatically barred from recovering damages. Tennessee follows a specific type of modified comparative negligence known as the “Tennessee rule” or “49 percent rule.”

Under this rule, you must be less at fault than the other party to be awarded damages. This means you must be less than 50% at fault. Any damages awarded will be reduced proportionally by the percentage you were at fault.

Caps on damages

Tennessee does cap how much you can be awarded in damages. For non-economic damages resulting in injuries the cap sits at $750,000. For non-economic damages for catastrophic loss or injury the cap sits at $1,000,000. Non-economic damages are not allowed for property damage claims.

These caps and awards on damages should not dissuade you from filing a personal injury lawsuit following a crash, provided you were not more than 49% at fault. If you suffered injuries due to negligence on the part of the other driver you have the right to pursue the compensation you are entitled to.