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Chattanooga Car Accidents: How the“Serious Injury” Threshold Works

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No fault states include Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Kansas, Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah and the District of Columbia. If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident in a no-fault state, you may be entitled to filing a lawsuit against the negligent party that caused your accident. Let’s explore this threshold for serious injuries a bit more and see how a car accident lawyer can help you through this process.

Understanding the “Serious Injury” Threshold

When you get injured in a car accident in a no-fault state, you turn first to your own insurance company in order to receive payment for your medical expenses and any lost income resulting from the injury. The no-fault system does not include compensation for other types of losses like pain and suffering.

If your accident resulted in “serious injury,” however, you may be able to step outside this no-fault system and file a lawsuit against the negligent driver responsible for the accident. If you are able to do so, you can also include demands for compensation for your non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Despite the lengthy definition of what qualifies as a serious injury in fault states, many of the terms are still rather vague, such as “significant limitation” and “nonpermanent nature.” What counts as significant? What is technically permanent and nonpermanent? Because the definition of a significant injury is not necessarily explicitly defined, you should contact a car accident lawyer if you believe that your injuries may allow you to step outside the no-fault system and file a lawsuit.

The Serious Injury Threshold in Tennessee

Fortunately for drivers in Tennessee, we are not a no-fault state, so there is no serious injury threshold. In Tennessee, the state uses a concept of comparative negligence or shared negligence. This means that in order to get compensated for a car accident you will have to prove that the other party was negligent, or that they violated a basic duty of care, operated irresponsibly, and caused an accident in which you were injured.

However, in Tennessee, you also have to consider the degree of fault. Our state’s courts acknowledge that in many accidents both parties share a degree of fault. The degree to which you might have been at fault for the accident will reduce the amount of money you can collect.

Let’s say, for example, the injuries you suffered are deemed to be worth $500,000 (a pretty large number). However, the courts decide that you were 20% responsible for the accident for some reason. In this case, your award will be reduced by 20%, or in this case, by $100,000. You’d receive $400,000 instead of the full half-million.

Consult a Car Accident Lawyer

While Tennessee is not a no-fault state, seeking legal council if you’ve been injured in a car accident can still be very helpful. The legal experts at McMahan Law Firm have been providing accident victims in the Chattanooga, TN area for over 20 years. Contact a professional car accident lawyer today to find out how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

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