Tennessee At-Fault State: Auto Insurance

I was involved in an automobile accident.  What are my options?

It is important to know Tennessee auto accident laws when involved in a collision. Tennessee is considered a fault state for car insurance purposes. Most states in the United States fall into this category. A fault state basically means that the driver at-fault is responsible for funding the damage resulting from the accident including medical bills, vehicle, and other property damage that may have occurred. A fault system focuses on determining who caused the collision. In a fault state, like Tennessee, people injured in car accidents usually have several insurance filing options.

Insurance Filing Options After Auto Accident

Following an auto accident, there are several ways to proceed with a claim for damages and/or injuries. Which course of action to take depends on your individual circumstances such as who was at fault, whether you have active insurance, and whether you wish to file a claim at all.

Ways to File a Claim

  • File a claim with your own insurance carrier. Your insurance company will then typically turn around and seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, if applicable.
  • File a claim directly with the at-fault driver’s car insurance company, and/or
  • File a personal injury lawsuit in civil court, seeking compensation from the at-fault driver.

An injured Tennessee driver, passenger, or pedestrian might decide to try all of these options, or only certain ones, depending on the specifics of the case.

Auto Accident Checklist

When you are involved in an accident, it is difficult to remember all the steps to take to ensure you have a proper record and documentation for insurance and claim purposes. You may want to print this list and place it into your glove compartment. Remember the statute of limitations in Tennessee for taking legal action or having legal action taken against you is 365 days from the date of the accident. Some exceptions apply.

  • Seek medical attention if you or anyone involved is hurt. Calling 911 is the best way to reach help at the scene of an accident.
  • Write down the name and address of any witnesses at the scene of the accident. Note: Police officers and other first responders do not always record this information.
  • Notify the police and complete a report. Make sure the police officer provides you with a report number. It usually requires five business days for the reports to be filed and available for review. Make note of the officer’s uniform color to help you identify the station. Knowing the uniform color can help you determine which law enforcement agency arrived at the scene. Was it the Metro Nashville Police Department, the county sheriff or Tennessee State Troopers?
  • Write a letter to the police department to request the report. Make a copy of the letter.
  • Observe the scene of the accident and look for physical evidence of the accident such as tire marks, gouges in the pavement and take note any road signs. Take pictures to prove your observations.
  • Contact your Primary Care Physician and make an appointment if you have suffered injuries and continue to get medical care per the advice of your doctor.
  • Call the Marshall & Associates law office at (615) 885-4335 to ask questions or seek help on an accident case. We can help provide you with options and direction with regard to your case.

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