Tennessee Auto Accident Laws

Tennessee Auto Accident Laws

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.

Cell Phone Driving Laws Tennessee

Tennessee Cell Phone Law

Tennessee Cell Phone Law

We all know the old adage, practice makes perfect. Well, it is time to practice driving your car without touching your phone. Put it away, out of reach the second you place your vehicle in drive. The law, often referred to as Hands Free Tennessee, was put into place to reduce the number of deaths on the state’s roads and interstates resulting from distracted drivers.

Nashville driver 2nd Avenue
Tennessee Hands Free Driving Law

Tennessee Penalty for Using Your Phone While Driving

As of July 1, 2019 phone use will be a Class C misdemeanor, a moving violation, and you will be subject to a fine and court costs. Tennessee law enforcement officers will be out enforcing this law.

Driver Phone Use

Our attorneys have read the entire contents of the law and it is not a simple prohibition of cell phone use while driving. The law is clear that you cannot hold it in your hand or support it with any part of your body while driving. This goes beyond just talking, texting, Googling, getting directions, or reading Facebook. The days of live video broadcasting from inside a moving vehicle are gone. No selfies, playing Candy Crush, taking pictures, or recording the scenery while rolling down the road are allowed any longer. This of course applies to all drivers whether they are residents, tourists, and those just passing through our state.

There are exceptions to this prohibition. They are very specific. If you mount the phone on the dashboard or other place inside the vehicle then it can be used, however, it cannot block your line of sight. GPS, Google Maps, Waze, and other directional apps are allowed.

Hands Free in Tennessee

If you go totally hands free, then you can talk on the phone. Talking on your Apple Watch is permitted as well. Activating or deactivating an Apple Watch with a single tap or finger swipe is also allowed, but you still must remain hands free.

Cell Phone Usage for Under 18

If you are under 18, you cannot use the phone for any purpose while driving. Parents need to be aware of this because they certainly do not want to cause their young driver children to get a ticket.

Penalties and Fines

First Time getting busted is going to cost you a moving violation and a fine of $50.00 plus court costs. You can get out of paying this if you elect to complete a driver education class.

If you are on the phone and you are involved in an accident, it will cost you at least $100.00 plus court costs. Same goes for your third ticket.

If you get busted in a school zone, construction zone, or where there are transportation workers present, you can expect a $200.00 fine. Ordering your Starbucks Coffee can wait.

Emergency Calls

If you have a bonafide emergency, then the use of the phone is allowed. An emergency is defined as an occurrence that threatens human life, health or property. Being stuck in traffic and calling your boss would not be such an emergency.

If you find yourself driving down the road and you have to use the phone, then pull over and lawfully park. Stopping in the breakdown lane on the highway is NOT lawfully parking. Neither is parking in a bike lane. To lawfully park, you need to be off the roadway.