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What Do I Do If I'm At Fault For A Car Accident?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Jun 24, 2021

Being at fault for a car accident can feel stressful and upsetting. However, accidents can happen to all of us. Rather than beating yourself up after causing an accident, try to stay positive and calm, and inform yourself of your next best steps.

Our experienced attorneys at Labrum Law can offer legal advice regarding accident liability and represent you if you are at fault for a car crash. Contact us today for a free review of your case at (615) 338-9500.

Your Next Best Steps After Causing a Car Accident

Knowing the correct actions after a car accident can be vital, especially if you are at fault, or were partially at fault for the crash.

Stay at the Accident Scene

According to Tennessee Code § 55-10-102, drivers involved in a car accident must stop at the scene of the crash. If you caused an accident, you should wait at the crash scene until medical assistance or law enforcement has arrived. If you do not stop or return to an accident scene immediately, you are committing a criminal offense that could result in steep fines and even potential prison time. In addition to stopping at the accident scene, you are also legally required to assist any injured individuals, if possible. You should always call 911 to inform the police of the accident and get medical help if needed. 

Exchange Contact Details

Make sure that you exchange contact details with all other drivers involved in the accident. You will want to record their full names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information. If there are any eyewitnesses to the accident, you should try to gather their contact details also.

Collect Evidence and Take Notes

Note down everything you can about the accident, including the events and the time and place of the crash. If you can, take photographs of the vehicles involved and the accident scene. If it is safe to do so, try to take pictures from a variety of angles. This can later help accident reconstruction experts piece together how your accident happened, and potentailly make a more accurate determination regarding liability.

Contact Your Car Insurance Company

Make sure to report the accident to your car insurance company as soon as you can. Since Tennessee is a “fault” state, those who suffered car damage or injuries in the accident will generally want to claim damages from your insurance company.

If you were at fault for a car accident, you might have received a ticket from the police officer. You could also face a hike in car insurance rates, especially if you were more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. In these circumstances, you should consider discussing your case with an experienced car accident attorney from Labrum Law who may be able to help mitigate any negative effects you might face after the accident.

What To Avoid if You Caused a Car Accident

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents in Tennessee amounted to $1.54 billion in medical and productivity loss costs in 2018 alone. Accidents can be expensive, particularly for those at fault since they could be sued by other parties and most likely face increased insurance rates.

Knowing what to avoid after causing a car crash can be just as important as knowing what to do. While you are waiting for law enforcement to arrive, try to keep calm and resist the urge to make unnecessary conversation with the other parties.

Try to Keep Calm and Quiet

Emotions typically run high after accidents, and other drivers may angrily confront you. The best course of action, in this case, is to disengage and move away. Do not admit fault or apologize. Other things to avoid can include:

  • Talking about the accident in general
  • Talking about who or what you think caused the accident
  • Getting into verbal or physical altercations with other drivers
  • Talking about what you were doing before the accident happened
  • Posting anything on social media after the accident regarding the accident

Your best course of action is to stay calm, polite, and keep yourself to yourself until police and medical help arrive. When it comes to the police officer taking a statement from you, you should give an honest account of the accident without embellishments or admitting fault outright.

How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help You

You may believe that a lawyer cannot help you if you are at fault for an accident. However, this could not be further from the truth. You should seek legal advice as soon as possible to protect your rights and find out if you could have legal recourse. If you are at fault for an accident, having legal counsel and guidance can help you immensely, especially if others are planning on personally suing you. Tennessee is a “fault state”, which means other parties could sue you for compensation. However, if you are only partially at fault for the accident, having a lawyer in your corner can provide someone to explain all your legal options to you.

What if I Am Partially at Fault?

If you are only partially to blame for a car accident, you could potentially recover compensation. An attorney from our firm can investigate your accident comprehensively, review the available evidence, and find out whether another driver was partially responsible. If this is the case, you could have legal recourse even if you have a degree of fault for the accident.

Tennessee is one of a number of states which apply modified comparative fault. This system allows partially liable parties to pursue damages if they are less at fault than the other responsible party in their accident. Since you contributed to the accident, the amount you can potentially recover will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. However, never let the legal concept of modified comparative fault dissuade you from pursing the justice you deserve under the law.

Having a car accident attorney help defend your best interests and present your case strongly can be crucial as either an insurance company or a jury will determine the percentage of fault assigned to you.

Labrum Law Can Fight for Your Rights

Whether you are entirely or partially at fault for a car accident, consulting with a car accident attorney from our firm can help protect your rights and mitigate any potential financial consequences after an accident.

Find out how we can help you today and call us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a dedicated member of our legal team: (615) 338-9500.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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