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A judge chooses who is at fault for your car accident in 'shared fault' states

If you're in a car accident in either Tennessee and Mississippi, it's important to understand that you have to prove that other driver was in the wrong. In fact, you may have to show that person was 100 percent at fault in order to be compensated for all of your losses.

In the Volunteer State, drivers are only required to have a minimum of $25,000 worth of coverage for an injury or death and another $15,000 for property damage. In the Magnolia State, the property insurance is another $10,000 higher. If you're seriously hurt and your car is totaled these amounts may not come close to paying for your medical bills or replacing your vehicle.

Often, this means you will have to file a lawsuit to recoup your losses and future expenses from the at-fault driver. However, because both states use a "shared fault" system, you'll need an experienced attorney to help you receive full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other losses.

What is 'shared fault'?

An example: If you are rear-ended by a distracted driver while you are stopped at the side of the road, it may seem to you that the other driver is 100 percent at fault. However, a judge may not see it that way. During a deposition or trial, you'll likely be asked questions such as:

  • Were your hazard lights on?
  • Were you completely off the road?
  • Was your car partially in the driving lane?

The court will then come up with a percentage of "fault" for each of you and apply it to the amount of damages. For instance, if you have $100,000 in losses and you are 20 percent at fault, your award may be only $80,000. This means you are not fully compensated for your medical bills and losses. So, financially you're behind. Fortunately, both states allow injured people to receive damages (money) for other issues as well.

Recovering pain and suffering

In terms of putting a dollar amount on your pain and suffering, the ball is in your court. The better you document - and your attorney proves - your symptoms and lingering problems, the stronger your case. Some issues that can help show the court you are entitled to this type of compensation include:

  • How long your recovery took
  • How many doctor visits you made
  • Whether you required physical therapy, occupational therapy or another kind of rehabilitation
  • Documented bruising, swelling, scars and other symptoms
  • Whether you required medication for pain
  • Whether the condition interfered with your family life

While the court may apply the same shared-fault formula to your pain and suffering claim, the good news is that there isn't a set cap on how much you may be awarded. Work with an experienced personal injury attorney from the law offices of Wood, Carlton & Hudson for help with obtaining full compensation.

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