At one time, the state of Tennessee prohibited car accident victims from seeking compensation if they shared any amount of fault in a crash. This was known as the contributory negligence rule. After the Supreme Court decided that such a rule did not serve justice, Tennessee changed its law to give accident victims a better chance of recovering compensation.

Now called the 49 percent rule, the law makes it possible for accident victims to seek recovery when harmed by negligence if they are less than 50 percent responsible for the crash. Further, the amount of responsibility you share for the accident will determine the amount of damages you receive. See the example below for a clearer idea of the 49 percent rule.

Say a drunk driver traveling at 95 mph in the wrong lane failed to stop at a traffic light and crashed into your vehicle. Because you suffered serious injuries, you decided to file an accident claim against the driver. However, crash investigators determined that you were also speeding at the time of the crash and assigned 10 percent of the fault to you. If you win your case, a court will take your share of fault into account and subtract that percentage from your damages.

In the above example, the court will reduce your compensation by 10 percent because of your share of the responsibility. The 49 percent rule may benefit accident victims in a way because it makes it easier to determine whether you should pursue a legal remedy. On the other hand, however, it may leave you feeling like the law abandoned you just when you needed it the most. Discussing these issues with a legal professional will also shed light on this and many other matters that complicate car accident claims.

Source: FindLaw, “Tennessee Car Accident Compensation Laws,” accessed April 05, 2018