Tennessee Negligence Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

When someone is negligent, it means they can be held legally responsible -- or liable -- for the injuries suffered by another person. A person is considered negligent by acting (or failing to act) in a certain way that results in someone else becoming injured or otherwise suffering losses. For example, you may be sued for negligence if you fail to fix a dangerous walkway to your front door, and a mail carrier becomes injured because of it. In that example, the homeowner owes a duty to others to maintain a safe walkway.

Tennessee negligence law is generally the same as negligence laws in other states. The basics of how the state handles negligence claims are listed in the following chart. See FindLaw's Negligence section for more articles and resources.

Code Section None
Comparative Negligence Comparative negligence in reference to reviewing bank statements of accts. 47-4-406.
Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery See comparative negligence.
Contribution Among Tortfeasors Yes; ยงยง29-11-101 to 106
Uniform Act 29-11-101, et seq.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Tennessee personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

The Elements of a Negligence Case

In order for a defendant to be held liable for negligence, the plaintiff must be able to prove certain elements. These are relatively uniform from one state to the next:

  1. The defendant owed a duty to another individual (in other words, defendant was expected to do something or refrain from doing something in order to ensure the safety of the other individual).
  2. The defendant breached this duty.
  3. The defendant's breach of duty caused an injury to the plaintiff.
  4. The defendant's action or inaction was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury (the defendant should have known that his or her breach of duty was likely to cause injury).
  5. The plaintiff suffered actual, quantifiable damages.

Negligence may extend to additional parties in certain cases. For example, someone who is injured by a garbage truck whose driver was negligent may be able to sue the driver's employer in addition to (or instead of) the individual driver.

Research the Law

Tennessee Negligence Laws: Related Resources

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