A Tennessee motorist owes other drivers on the roadway a duty to act reasonably in order to prevent harm. This duty includes turning on headlights according to state law and using turn signals at appropriate times.
When a driver’s failure to use headlights or turn signals results in a car accident, who is at fault for the damages? Greg Coleman Law explains how liability may be assigned in these situations.
If you were injured in a car accident caused by a driver who failed to appropriately use headlights or turn signals, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your damages. Request a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our knowledgeable Knoxville auto accident lawyers to learn what legal options may be available.
Driver Duty of Care
A motorist’s duty of care to other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians is to know and follow the rules of the road. This duty includes following traffic laws and operating a vehicle in the same manner as another reasonable individual would to try to keep others on the roadway safe.
One such traffic law Tennessee motorists are responsible for knowing and following is the headlight law. Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-9-406 states that when a driver is operating his or her vehicle, the headlights must be on:
- Continuously, beginning 30 minutes after sunset and until 30 minutes before sunrise
- Whenever a driver cannot see someone on the road 200 feet in front of his or her vehicle
- When smoke is present
- In the fog
- When it is raining
- During any other type of precipitation that requires the constant use of windshield wipers
All vehicles must be equipped with at least two headlights, but no more than four. There must be at least one working light on each side of the vehicle. Headlights must be strong enough for the driver to be able to see a person on the roadway 200 feet ahead in normal conditions.
Failure to use headlights appropriately is considered a Class C misdemeanor.
Potential for Shared Fault
Tennessee is an at-fault state. This means that if a driver is held liable for an accident, he or she is also legally responsible for the damages caused. However, in some accidents, both drivers may be assigned fault. For example:
- If one driver fails to use his or her headlights and is struck by another driver who was texting and failed to see the other car, both motorists could share fault.
In this scenario, investigators may find that both drivers may share some degree of negligence for the crash.
Other Contributing Factors
Those who investigate the cause of the crash will consider many factors when determining liability. These factors could include other negligent driving behaviors, if they contributed to the accident, such as:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive behavior
How an Attorney May Help to Limit Your Degree of Liability
If you forgot to put your headlights on or use your turn signal, you may share some liability for a car accident. However, if the other driver was speeding or driving impaired or distracted, your attorney may be able to limit your liability.
Our qualified attorneys are prepared to gather supporting evidence that may help strengthen your claim and limit your liability, if we determine that you may have a case.
Contact Our Experienced Lawyers for Help with Your Claim
If you were injured in an accident involving a driver who failed to properly use headlights or turn signals, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for certain damages, such as related medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
At Greg Coleman Law, we are committed to helping our clients obtain maximum compensation for damages caused by negligent drivers.
Request your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our trusted attorneys. There is no risk if you retain our services, because we do not collect any attorney fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf