In theory, your driving record should not affect your car accident insurance settlement. However, the at-fault driver will likely attempt to frame a poor driving record as a reason for compensating you with less than you deserve.
Having our knowledgeable and experienced Knoxville car accident lawyers advocate for your rights and ensure mistakes in your driving history does not impact your ability to recover maximum compensation for your damages.
Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence laws
Tennessee follows a modified comparative negligence system for determining who’s at fault in a collision and how much they should pay the other party.
In this system, liable parties often attempt to use state law to reduce their financial liability. If they successfully argue that you were partially to blame for the incident, they may get away with paying less than they should or preventing you from pursuing your case at all.
The liable party and their insurance company could attempt to use your driving record as evidence that you are an unsafe or reckless driver. If they can show the court that your poor driving record is an indication that you were somehow negligent in your car accident case, the insurance company could reasonably reduce your settlement.
For example, if the insurance company suggests that you were driving over the speed limit, and uses your driving history that includes multiple speeding violations as evidence against you, the judge might find you 20% responsible for causing the accident. If the jury awarded you $300,000, your settlement would reflect a shared fault reduction amounting to 20% of $300,000, or a $60,000 loss.
If you hope to protect yourself from being taken advantage of by profit-hungry insurance companies, your best option is going to be to have your car accident attorney in Knoxville carefully evaluate the cause of the accident, gather compelling evidence to prove fault and negligence, and ensure culpability is assessed accurately in your case. This way, the insurance company cannot take advantage of you during this difficult time in your life.
Factors that influence your insurance settlement
Although your driving record should not impact your insurance settlement, there are specific factors that will impact how much compensation you can recover through the insurance company.
Severity of your injuries
For your insurance claim to be successful, you must demonstrate that you have suffered injuries that have had a substantial impact on your life. The insurance company will likely be required to cover a portion of your medical bills and personal property damages. However, they will not pay out up to the highest limits of the policyholder’s claim unless you can demonstrate your damages have reached that amount.
You can expect your car accident attorney to gather valuable evidence to prove your injuries warrant the compensation you are seeking through the insurance company. Examples of such evidence could include:
- Vehicle repair quotes
- Receipts for out-of-pocket vehicle repair expenses
- Quotes for the purchase of a new vehicle
- Receipts for the value of your rental car
- Copies of your ambulance bills
- Copies of your hospital stay bills
- Receipts for out-of-pocket medical expenses, including co-pays, prescription medications, and medical devices or equipment
Liable party’s insurance limits
Tennessee follows a fault system for car accidents and insurance claims. This means the individual or entity responsible for causing the accident will also be required to compensate injury victims for their damages. For this reason, the liable party’s insurance limits could have a significant impact on your ability to recover the compensation you are entitled to.
For example, according to Tennessee minimum auto insurance requirements, the driver that hit you should have had a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident and bodily injury liability coverage. They should have also had at least $25,000 per accident and property damage liability coverage. These are designed to cover the costs of your medical bills and vehicle repairs in the event of an accident.
However, if your medical bills and vehicle repair costs are greater than the maximum amount of coverage purchased by the policyholder, the insurance company may not compensate you for your losses in full. Few drivers will purchase additional insurance coverage unless required to do so by their leasing or financing company. For this reason, many car accident victims need to pursue a civil lawsuit against the liable party so they can recoup the full amount of their damages.
Get help from a Knoxville car accident lawyer today
When you have a reputable Knoxville car accident lawyer at Hotz & Associates working for you, your driving history should have no bearing on your ability to maximize your financial compensation through your insurance claim.
However, that does not mean the liable party and insurer will not attempt to blame you or use your driving record against you to reduce the amount they are required to pay out on your claim. Our team of legal advocates will work tirelessly to protect your right to a total reimbursement of your damages. Fill out our online contact form or call our office at (865) 582-0042 to schedule your free consultation today.