We are pleased that we were recently able to resolve an Ardmore, TN car accident claim. Our client was driving on a 2 lane road when another driver crossed the center line and struck her vehicle head on. Upon impact our client’s airbag deployed causing a severe nasal injury that required surgery.
Since the wreck occurred in Tennessee, Tennessee law applied to the claim. There are several key differences in Tennessee negligence claims and tort law than in Alabama. First, the statute of limitations (“SOL”) in Tennessee on a negligence claim ie here a car accident claim is one year. The SOL is the time period in which you have to file your claim, before it would be barred. In Alabama, the statute of limitations on such a claim would be 2 years.
Second, Tennessee has not yet abolished the collateral source rule as it pertains to health insurance. The collateral source rule holds that if an outside source such as health insurance pays your medical bills the jury cannot take this into consideration. This is particularly important as a health insurance carrier, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare routinely satisfy medicals for a fraction of the retail charges. For example, if you have $50,000 in retail medical bills they may be satisfied for $10,000 by your health insurance carrier and the remainder of the charges are written off. Thus, under the collateral source rule the jury does not get to know your medical bills were satisfied for $10,000. However, if the collateral source has been abolished such as in Alabama, then even though your medical bills were originally $50,000 then jury and insurance company will in reality only look at the $10,000 your required to pay back out of any recovery you receive.
A third difference in Tennessee law as opposed to Alabama is how uninsured and underinsured motorist claims are handled. Tennessee has an offset law whereby the policy limits of the at fault driver is subtracted from the available underinsured motorist coverage to determine what if any amount remains that could be collected upon. For example, if the at fault driver has $25,000 in coverage and you have $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage, then you subtract the $25K from the $100K and you’d have $75K in available underinsured motorist coverage to collect upon. However, if the at fault driver has $25K and you have $25K in underinsured motorist then you cannot collect any underinsured motorist monies.
A fourth difference in Tennessee and Alabama law is that Tennessee law does not allow the stacking of uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverages. In Alabama, if you own 3 vehicles and have $25,000 in uninsured motorist coverage on each vehicle you can stack or add these coverages together, meaning you have $75,000 to collect upon. However, under Tennessee law you cannot stack coverages, thus, under this same example you’d just have $25,000 in coverage.
This car accident case was handled by M&B attorney, Morris Lilienthal, who is licensed to practice law in Alabama and Tennessee.
Here’s what our deserving client had to say about her case and working with M&B:
I was in an accident where the other driver crossed the center line and hit me head on. The airbag deployed from the steering wheel and injured my nose requiring a rhinoplasty surgery. I call Martinson & Beason. The accident happened just …MoreI was in an accident where the other driver crossed the center line and hit me head on. The airbag deployed from the steering wheel and injured my nose requiring a rhinoplasty surgery. I call Martinson & Beason. The accident happened just across the TN line. Morris was very knowledgeable about AL and TN laws. Both Morris and Sara were extremely nice and easy to work with. They kept me informed during the entire process. Would not hesitate to use them again. I highly recommend them.