Tennessee: Interstate 81 Police Reports and Accident Guide

Interstate 81 is an integral part of the Interstate Highway System. It spans a total of 855 miles heading northbound from Dandridge, Tennessee, to the Thousand Islands Bridge near Fishers Landing in New York. 

Shadowing the backbone of the Appalachian Mountains, I-81 serves as a major commercial trucking corridor as well as a link from the Tennessee Valley and Southeastern States northward to the Boston-Washington corridor. Interstate 81 circumvents metropolitan areas, serving instead an array of small towns and medium-sized cities. It travels through Sullivan, Washington, Greene, Hamblen, and Jefferson counties before terminating about 35 miles east of Knoxville. 

I-81 has a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous. The mostly rural roadway is notorious for its tight curves, which become even harder to navigate when inclement weather or traffic congestion arise. From mid-October to early April, ice and snow are common hazards. Construction zones are also common on this stretch of highway and pose an elevated risk of car wrecks. 

Traveling along I-81 can be especially dangerous for regular passenger vehicles that must share the roadway with enormous commercial trucks. Out of the thousands of motor vehicle accidents that take place on I-81 every year, nearly 30% involve tractor-trailers.   

Regardless of what kind of injury you sustained, you are entitled to financial compensation if your car accident was caused by another person’s negligence. You may not even realize how much your injuries will actually cost you until much later, so it’s imperative to get an experienced lawyer on your case as soon as possible after you become injured.

Sadly, most insurance providers are very proactive in their efforts to reduce or deny your valid claim for compensation. A company representative will try to pressure you into making a recorded statement that will eventually damage your case. They also might try to strongarm you into consenting to a lowball settlement. Make sure to never speak to any insurance agent from the liable party’s insurer until you have spoken to and hopefully retained your lawyer first.

Working with an experienced Tennessee I-81 car accident lawyer will stop the insurance company from taking advantage of you and ensure you collect fair compensation. Our lawyers are able to help you with every aspect of your Tennessee car accident claim. If you are unable to track down a copy of your police crash report, don’t panic. Give us a call, and we can locate it for you and get started on your personal injury claim. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a Tennessee car accident on Interstate 81, reach out to the Tennessee I-81 accident attorneys to schedule your free consultation and find out what we can do to help you get the compensation you are entitled to. 


Leading Causes of Tennessee Car Accidents

There are a multiple factors that contribute to serious car accidents throughout Tennessee, but the most common are:

  • Drunk Driving: In Tennessee, driving under the influence ‌is defined as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher. Even just a couple of drinks can be enough to impair your motor skills, slow your reaction time, and affect your judgment. ‌A drunk-driving case also gives plaintiffs the opportunity to pursue punitive damages, which are extra compensation sometimes granted to the injured party due to the gross negligence displayed by the defendant when they made the decision to drive drunk.
  • Distracted Driving: There are lots of activities that can pull a driver’s focus away from the road. Common distractions include making phone calls, sending text messages, programming a GPS, drinking, eating, and talking to passengers. Taking your eyes off of the road for just five seconds while driving at 55 miles per hour is the same as driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed. 
  • Speeding: Speeding is one of leading contributors to Tennessee car accidents. Speed limits exist for a reason, and that reason is to ensure the safety of everyone on the roadway. If a driver is speeding, especially in traffic or during inclement weather, the chances of a serious accident increase exponentially.  
  • Reckless Driving: Tailgating, speeding, illegal lane changes, and ignoring traffic signs and signals are all common examples of reckless driving behaviors that can cause accidents, injuries, and fatalities. 
  • Disregarding Driving Laws: All Tennessee drivers are required to know and obey the rules of the road.‌ This includes observing all traffic lights and signs, stopping for bicycle riders and pedestrians, and being aware ‌of‌ and responsive to ‌traffic conditions.
  • Vehicle Malfunctions and Defects: Some auto accidents are the result of a defective vehicle or vehicle component. ‌In these instances, a comprehensive investigation is required in order to‌ find the defect and work out its contribution to the accident. ‌The Tennessee 1-81 car accident lawyers have extensive experience dealing with product liability claims and will actively pursue compensation from the liable party.
How Can I Get a Copy of My Tennessee Crash Report?

If you were hurt in a car crash that was caused by another driver, it is imperative that you call the police and get a copy of the police crash report. Even if you feel like you were not injured or your vehicle sustained only some minor damage, having a copy of your police report will be crucial. 


The symptoms of some supposedly “minor” accident injuries do not manifest for days or sometimes even weeks after an accident. You may realize later that you want to file a claim even if you did not think so on the day of the accident. If the police were notified, you will be able to get a copy of your accident report from them, which you will need before you are able to proceed with your claim.  


Getting a copy of your Tennessee police report is fairly simple. There are a few different ways you can go about it. Usually, the responding officer will give you his business card that will include a phone number for the relevant police station and the identification number for your individual crash report. An identification number is not required to obtain a copy of your report. The day and place where your accident occurred, and the name of the other driver should be sufficient. 


Your official crash report can also be obtained through the following channels: 

  • Local police department: If your report was drawn up by the local police, you may order a copy directly from them. The waiting period and purchase procedures will vary from department to department and should be listed on the individual website. 
  • The Tennessee Highway Patrol: If an officer from the THP investigated your accident, you can buy a copy of the crash report at a THP District Office for $4.00 about a week after it has been filed. Requests can be made either by mail or in person.  
  • Online: The state of Tennessee also allows you to buy an accident report from any law enforcement agency statewide at buycrash.com. They cost $10 a piece and should be available one week after the incident. 
  • The Tennessee Department of Safety: Copies of your crash report may also be purchased from the DOS for $4 60 days after your accident if it was investigated by a local police department and 30 days after the crash if it was investigated by highway patrol officers. 
What Information Is in My Tennessee Police Report?

In order to receive financial compensation for your damages, you will have to prove the other driver’s fault for the car accident. Although they are not admissible in court, your police report will contain vital information that can help your lawyer establish the other driver’s liability. Also, insurance companies tend to side with the officer’s conclusions as to who was at fault, so your crash report might help to settle your claim favorably.  

An accident report is an official document composed by the responding officer. The information contained within the report includes:

  • Contact details: The report will list the contact details for everyone else involved in the accident, as well as any eyewitnesses. Your lawyer will need this information in order to file your claim and collect independent witness statements before they forget what they saw. 
  • Crash details: After conducting a thorough investigation of the accident, the responding officer will be able to include information like the time, date, and location where the crash occurred, note any vehicle damage, and render his decision as to what caused the accident in the report. The report will also say whether or not the negligent driver was issued a citation.  
  • Driver statements/Witness statements: Part of the officer’s investigation includes talking to the drivers involved in the crash and any eyewitnesses. The crash report might contain important statements that were made without your knowledge, like the negligent driver admitting fault.
  • Injuries, deaths, and property damage: This section of the report will chronicle what damage was done to the vehicles involved and state whether anyone was injured or killed. If the accident is particularly severe, the responding officer might even take pictures to include in the report. 
  • Road, traffic, and weather conditions: If inclement weather, poor roadway conditions, or insufficient lighting played a role in the crash, these conditions should be mentioned in the report.
  • Accident diagram: The final section of a crash report is where the officer will draw a diagram that is supposed to show how the accident happened. 

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