Tennessee Personal Injury Claims Increase Despite Reduction in Auto Accidents

According to the results of a recently published study by the Insurance Research Council, the cost and severity of personal injury claims arising out of automobile accidents continue to rise, despite an overall decrease in the number of auto accidents in Tennessee and other states throughout the country.

The study, Trends in Auto Injury Claims, 2015 Edition, was published earlier this month by the Insurance Research Council and evaluates the incidents of personal injury claims over the past year, as well as state-by-state statistics concerning automobile injuries and fatalities recorded on America’s roadways.

Over the past few years, industry professionals, regulators, and plaintiffs’ lawyers have lauded widespread efforts by states, including Tennessee, to measurably reduce the number of injuries and fatalities occurring on highways throughout the country. Whether through technological advances in automobile safety, tighter licensing laws, or educational campaigns, states have undertaken great efforts to lessen the risk of injury or death on the road. For instance, Tennessee’s C.R.A.S.H program, which uses statistical analysis to predict heightened risks of highway accidents and efficiently deploy patrol resources, has resulted in an over five percent decrease in highway fatalities since its inception in early 2014.

Despite such efforts, however, the Insurance Research Council’s report makes clear that personal injury claim severity and cost continue to increase, resulting in greater payouts for bodily injury and personal injury harms. According to the report, although all but four states recorded decreases in overall personal injury claims, 49 of 50 states (including Tennessee) reported increases in the cost and severity of claims made in 2015. On average, the total amount paid out to individuals harmed in automobile accidents in 2015 increased by between 32 and 38 percent. This is in contrast to prior years, when declining claims and declining costs were recorded.

What does this mean for insured drivers? Increasing claim severity can lead to increased insurance costs for drivers as the expenses incurred by insurers are passed on to consumers throughout the country.  This is particularly true in no-fault auto accident states such as Florida and Michigan, where the no-fault approach has resulted in significant increases in claims payments over the years.  In contrast, Tennessee’s auto accident laws follow a “fault” approach. This means that liability for injuries and damages depends on who is at fault for the accident.  Under Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence approach, any driver who is injured in an automobile accident and is determined by a jury to be 50 percent or less at fault for the accident can recover expenses and damages from other parties, who are more “at fault.”

However, rising compensation for personal injury and bodily injury claims also suggests that insurers or juries are increasingly willing to provide injured individuals and plaintiffs with the compensation that they need in order to adequately address the damages they have suffered, including both economic losses and concerns such as pain and suffering.

Experienced auto accident attorney Eric Beasley understands the injury claim process and has represented many plaintiffs in negotiations with insurers and before the Tennessee courts. If you have recently been in an auto accident and are having difficulty obtaining compensation for your injuries, contact the Law Office of Eric Beasley today at 615-859-2223.

Related Blog Posts:

How a Nashville Automobile Accident Lawyer Can Prove Fault, Tennessee Personal Injury Blog, October 10, 2014

Laws An Accident Attorney in Tennessee Knows That Can Help Your Case, Tennessee Personal Injury Blog, November 24, 2014.

Tennessee Auto Accident Guide – What to Do and When, Tennessee Personal Injury Blog, October 2, 2015