When driving, our safety depends on other drivers abiding by the rules of the road. When a driver fails to yield the right of way, he endangers the people around him. Every day, the Nashville car accident lawyers of Matt Hardin Law help people who have been injured by a negligent driver. If you were injured by a driver in a failure to yield accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
In 2013, drivers who failed to yield the right of way caused more than 25,000 accidents, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Of all the contributing factors tracked, failures to yield caused the second-most accidents, behind following too closely. Drivers who fail to yield the right of way, even unintentionally, may have acted negligently, and the people they injure can pursue compensation in the court system.
A person injured by a driver who failed to yield the right of way may file a negligence lawsuit in Tennessee courts. To prevail in such an action, the plaintiff must prove three essential elements:
First, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed her a duty. In auto accident cases, this is fairly straightforward if the plaintiff sued the driver who caused the accident. All drivers in Tennessee owe all others on the road a duty to behave reasonably given the circumstances.
Second, car accident plaintiffs must prove that the defendant breached this duty. Again, this is often a simple proposition in car accident cases. Failing to properly yield the right of way is a breach of the duty to behave reasonably. A defendant does not need to have intended to breach the duty to incur liability.
Third, Tennessee law requires that the plaintiff prove proximate causation. In other words, the defendant’s actions — the breach of duty — must have been a cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. If the defendant’s failure to yield caused an accident that injured the plaintiff, this constitutes causation.
Aside from the essential elements of a negligence case, there are other factors for plaintiffs to consider. Tennessee’s one-year statute of limitations and the state’s rule of modified comparative fault affect when and whether to file a negligence lawsuit. In addition, if the defendant violated a safety-related statute, the plaintiff may consider filing a “negligence per se” action. Negligence per se is a legal concept where negligence is inferred if there has been a violation of a law intended to prevent the type of harm actually caused by its violation. Victims of failure to yield accidents should make these and other decisions on the advice of a knowledgeable attorney.
When a person injured by negligent driver files a successful lawsuit, she is entitled to damages from the driver. The negligent driver must reimburse the plaintiff for all of the plaintiff’s financial injuries, such as medical care, lost wages, and personal property damage. In addition, if the plaintiff experienced psychological, physical, or emotional injuries — for example, pain and suffering, or mental anguish — the negligent driver must compensate for those injuries, too. In some cases, punitive damages may also be available.
Victims of failure to yield accidents have legal rights in Tennessee. If you have been injured by a negligent driver who failed to yield the right of way, a Tennessee car accident attorney can help you decide the best way to pursue compensation for a personal injury. Matt Hardin Law has helped countless clients from Nashville and throughout the state recover from their injuries. To schedule a free case evaluation, call (615) 200-1111 or visit our contact page.