How is Personal Injury Liability Determined

Personal injuries can lead to significant setbacks for victims. Not only do injury victims have to deal with the pain and suffering surrounding their injuries and the recovery process, but they also have to deal with various expenses caused by the injury. In order for injury victims to secure compensation, liability for the incident must be determined. Here, we want to discuss how personal injury liability is determined when seeking a settlement through insurance carriers or when trying to win a case through a personal injury lawsuit.

Determining Liability Begins With Evidence

When working to determine liability, this process will depend heavily on evidence gathered at the scene of the incident and in the days and weeks that follow. We want to discuss the types of evidence needed to prove liability in these cases, but we also need to point out that no two injury claims are exactly alike. The types of evidence needed for a grocery store slip and fall incident will look vastly different than the types of evidence needed to prove a commercial truck accident.

Some of the most common types of evidence that can be used to determine liability include the following:

  • Photograph taken at the scene of the incident
  • Any video surveillance taken from nearby cameras
  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • Company or property owner safety records
  • Mobile device data
  • Vehicle “black box” data
  • Employee safety records
  • Employee training history
  • Commercial trucking inspection and maintenance records

The evidence-gathering process begins as soon as an incident occurs, but it could take weeks or even months to gather all of the evidence needed to properly determine liability. The reality is that some injury incidents become so complex that it may be necessary to seek assistance from various types of accident reconstruction experts who can piece together what happened and paint a picture for insurance carriers or a personal injury jury.

Most injury victims do not have the resources or legal experience necessary to fully investigate their own claims. In these cases, it is crucial to seek assistance from a skilled Tennessee personal injury lawyer who has handled these cases on a regular basis. A personal injury attorney in Nashville will understand what needs to be done to gather the required evidence in order to determine liability.

What if There is Shared Liability

People often wonder what happens if more than one party is at fault for an injury-causing incident. It is not uncommon for us to field questions such as, “What if I was partially to blame?”

The good news is that Tennessee operates under a “modified comparative negligence” system. This means that any person partially at fault for an incident that caused their injury may still be able to recover compensation. Under the modified comparative negligence rule, injury victims can recover compensation if they are 49% or less at fault for the incident. Any person 50% or more responsible for what happened will not be able to recover compensation.

However, the total amount of compensation in these situations will be reduced based on the injury victim’s percentage of fault. For example, if a jury awards $100,000 worth of damages after a vehicle accident, but they also determine that the injury victim was 20% at fault, then the victim will receive $80,000 as opposed to the full $100,000.