Hamilton County was named for Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. Its county seat, Chattanooga, has an estimated population of 171,279 and is the fourth largest city in Tennessee. Hamilton County has numerous natural areas of interest, including the Raccoon Mountain Caverns, the Ruby Fall Cave on the side of Lookout Mountain, and the Crystal Caverns Cave spider. Experienced Hamilton County personal injury attorney Matt Hardin represents residents of Hamilton County, including Signal Mountain, Soddy Daisy, and Red Bank. He assists accident victims with negligence claims in areas such as wrongful death, medical malpractice, car wrecks, motorcycle wrecks, truck wrecks, and other personal injuries.
Many accidents involve careless behavior by more than one person. This means that a Tennessee defendant in an injury lawsuit may raise the doctrine of comparative fault. Tennessee follows a modified comparative fault rule, under which a defendant may claim that the victim should be held responsible for his or her own damages. A victim may only recover if he or she is found to be 49 percent or less responsible for the accident that resulted in the injuries.
If the defendant asserts comparative negligence in a trial based on a negligence lawsuit, a jury will examine the evidence and the legal principles at issue. The jury then will allocate fault among all the parties who were allegedly negligent and contributed to the victim’s injuries.
Here is an example of how this rule might work. Suppose two drivers are drag racing on a three-lane highway, going 100 mph. Meanwhile, you are driving at a reasonable speed in the slow lane, but you fail to look in your rearview mirror. You don’t see the drag racers speeding towards you, so you switch lanes directly into their path. As a result, a drag racer rear-ends you. Meanwhile, a car is illegally parked on the shoulder of the highway. If it were not there, you would have just been pushed into an empty field, but your injuries are much more severe and costly because it is illegally parked there.
In this case, you might sue the drag racers as well as the owner of the car that was illegally parked. One of these parties is likely to argue that you were also negligent for failing to look in your rearview mirror before switching lanes. At trial, the jury will be asked to determine who, if anyone, was negligent and to determine each party’s percentage of fault, including your percentage of fault. The jury may find that your damages are $500,000. The jury will also have to allocate percentages of fault. If the jury finds that you were 20 percent at fault, the drag racers were each 30 percent at fault, and the owner of the parked car was 20 percent at fault. In this scenario, you can recover a total of $400,000 from the three defendants according to their percentages of fault.
The aftermath of an accident is stressful. You may be unable to work while watching medical bills mount. But you don’t have to travel this road alone. If someone else is at fault for the accident that hurt you, you may be able to recover damages by retaining knowledgeable Hamilton County personal injury lawyer Matt Hardin. Schedule a free consultation with him by calling (615) 200-1111 or sending a message through our online form. We serve clients in Signal Mountain, Soddy Daisy, and Red Bank who are suffering due to personal injury, wrongful death, car wrecks, truck wrecks, motorcycle wrecks, and medical malpractice.