Following your crash at a four-way stop intersection, you were issued a ticket by the officer who responded to the incident. You are certain that you were not at fault and that the other driver failed to stop at all before hitting you in the intersection. Since you were ticketed, you are wondering if there is any action you can take to recover damages from the other driver. Rest assured, all is not lost. It may still be possible to assign fault to the other driver.
Determining Fault After the Fact
The officer who responded to the crash did not see the crash and may not have even conducted an investigation. He may have simply ticketed both parties involved, or he may have wrongly determined fault based on the appearance of the cars or what the drivers said. In order to get traffic moving again, he may not have taken the time necessary to accurately assess the scene. With the help of an experienced car wreck attorney, there are some steps you can take after the accident to place fault where it belongs so that you can pursue an injury claim:
- Interview witnesses. If you were able to collect names and phone numbers of witnesses at the scene, your attorney will be able to easily locate them for follow-up interviews. If you did not get this information, it may be available from the police report.
- Reconstruct the crash. Attorneys often work with an accident reconstructionist who can examine tire markings, damage done to the cars, and photos of the scene to determine exactly what happened.
- Obtain surveillance footage. If there are surveillance cameras in the area, footage may show the accident. An attorney will be able to secure this footage and submit it as evidence.
- Depose the other driver. Before presenting your claim to the other driver’s insurance company, an attorney will question the other driver and get his version of events.
- Correct or amend the police report. If the police report reflects the events incorrectly, an attorney can file a correction or amendment to the report so that insurance adjusters can hear your side of the story.
If you truly were not at fault in the accident, these actions should prove that definitively and you could be compensated the full amount of your damages. However, if there is any doubt as to your contribution to the crash, you may end up sharing the blame.
Tennessee’s Modified Comparative Negligence
If the insurance company finds that you are partially to blame in the wreck, despite obtaining all the evidence you can, you may still be entitled to partial compensation. Under Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence law, if you are determined to be 49 percent or less at fault for the crash, you may be awarded the amount of your damages minus the percentage of fault. For example, if your damages total $100,000 and you are determined to be 40 percent at fault, you will be awarded $60,000. If you are 50 percent or more at fault, however, you will not receive any compensation.
It’s Complicated—Call Us!
Determination of fault and comparative negligence laws are complicated legal issues. Don’t attempt to navigate these waters on your own. Call the Holton Law Firm now to schedule a free review of your case. You have nothing to lose!