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Common Causes of Car Accidents in Tennessee

There are many common causes of car accidents in Tennessee. Depending on the cause of the accident, an individual’s claim and the damages they are fighting for may vary.

To best understand how you may be able to recover damages after a car accident in Tennessee, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable Tennessee car accident attorney can gather the elements of the claim and build an effective claim to help produce a successful recovery on your behalf.

Drunk Driving

When an accident results from drunk driving, there is an added criminal component to the case. While the drunk driver is prosecuted criminally, a personal injury attorney can help the victim with the civil side of the case.

The victim may be entitled to punitive damages in those cases, in addition to economic and non-economic damages they could receive in an accident case where there was no criminal or reckless behavior.

Tennessee’s dram shop laws may also be applicable in a drunk driving case. Dram shop laws hold bars and restaurants liable when they overserve a patron who then causes an accident by driving under the influence.

When a person is injured in a drunk driving accident, the establishment that served the drunk driver may be included as a defendant. Driving drunk is among the most common causes of car accidents in Tennessee.


Speeding is a common cause of car accidents in Tennessee. Few drivers can say they have never accidentally gone over the speed limit. Speeding on its own seldom results in punitive damages in a personal injury claim, but courts will often consider speed when determining who was liable in an accident.

Punitive damages may result, however, when speeding becomes reckless driving. Drag racing on public streets and other criminal acts behind the wheel can result in serious injury to other motorists, and victims may be awarded punitive damages in addition to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Running a Stop Sign or Red Light

Stop sign and red light infractions often require testimony from witnesses to prove, because most motorists will not admit they ran a stop sign, or they may have thought it was their turn. Tennessee has some traffic light cameras, but they are not as common in Tennessee as they are in other states.

In these cases, it is helpful if a witness can give a statement to the police or to the victim’s attorney to establish liability.

Many accidents are caused at stop signs and red lights when a driver is using their cell phone. A personal injury attorney may try to get evidence from the phone carrier to see if the person was texting at the time of the accident. Distracted driving is one of the major causes of car accidents in Tennessee.

Driving at Night

While driving at night requires extra caution, there are not many significant differences in how a personal injury case will be handled for an accident that took place at night.

Driving in the Wrong Direction

When a motorist drives in the wrong direction on a street or highway, serious injuries can occur. Oftentimes, these accidents are the result of someone driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or texting while driving.

Sometimes, the driver is from out of town and is not familiar with the city streets, and they make an honest mistake. Because head-on impacts can be very serious, these accidents are often catastrophic.

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