Small car held in hands resembling car insurance protectionIf you’re in a car accident in Tennessee, you should know that it is a “fault” state. This type of system works to determine the party responsible for causing the accident. Whoever is deemed to be at fault is legally responsible for paying for any resultant damages and losses.

In 1977, Tennessee passed a law requiring mandatory proof of liability insurance. Liability insurance is required to cover any damages or injuries you may cause someone as a result of a car wreck. In Tennessee, the mandatory minimum limits for car insurance are:

  • $25,000 for each injury or death per accident
  • $50,000 for total injuries or deaths per accident
  • $15,000 for property damage per accident

These limits cover injuries suffered by pedestrians, passengers, and other drivers, but they don’t usually cover property damage or injuries suffered by the negligent driver. If you want additional protection, you may want to consider the following insurance options:

  • Collision insurance. This covers any damage to your vehicle related to the accident.
  • Medical payment coverage. This type of insurance will help pay for your medical bills following an accident.
  • Uninsured motorist insurance. If you are involved in a wreck with a driver who doesn’t have coverage or has too little, this will help cover the costs associated with the accident.
  • Rental car coverage. This will help cover the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is getting repaired.
  • Comprehensive insurance. If you purchase this option, you’re covered for damages that are not caused by an accident—for example, vandalism or weather conditions.

Governor Signs Law With Stricter Penalties

As a Tennessee driver, you are legally required to hold liability insurance in case you are involved in a vehicle accident. In an effort to reduce the number of car accidents involving parties that are uninsured, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a new law with strict penalties against uninsured drivers in July 2015. This new law includes the following changes:

  • An increase in the misdemeanor fine. If you violate Tennessee’s financial responsibility law (you do not have proof of insurance), you will now pay $300—an increase from $100.
  • An authorized statewide insurance verification program. By accessing vehicle registrations, this program will be used to find uninsured drivers.
  • A continuous increase in fines for drivers who refuse to get car insurance through the program. The maximum penalty an uninsured driver can face is seizure of their tags, suspension of their registration, and a $300 fee to get them reinstated.
  • An okay for police to tow vehicles. If you violate the financial responsibility law, the police will have the authority to tow your vehicle.

In 2014, Tennessee saw more than 40,000 car accidents where one or both vehicle drivers were uninsured. According to Tennessee representative William Lamberth, a sponsor of the law, the new law is a “significant update to our code.”  

Ways to Collect Insurance After an Accident

There are specific types of road accidents you are legally required to report to law enforcement, including an accident that involves injuries, causes a fatality, or results in more than $400 in damages. People who have been injured in a car wreck have a number of insurance options, including:

  • Filing a third-party claim. The amount is filed directly with the at-fault driver’s car insurance company.
  • Claiming from their own car insurance. The claim amount is paid by the victim’s car insurance, and then reimbursement is usually requested of the at-fault driver’s car insurance company.
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit. The case seeks to obtain damages from the at-fault driver in a civil court.

If You Have Been Injured in a Tennessee Car Accident

Under Tennessee law, there is a one-year statute of limitation to file your case after being injured in a car accident. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident with a negligent driver, we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us at 877-959-8847 for a free and confidential consultation. Or, fill out our online form to find out more information.


John Griffith
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Nashville Personal Injury Trial Attorney