Motor vehicle crashes are debilitating and often lead to physical, mental, and financial hardship for those involved. According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in the U.S., with over 100 people dying every day.
Traffic crash deaths cost U.S. citizens $55 billion in losses in 2018. Tennessee citizens lost over $14 million in medical costs and over $1.5 billion in wages lost from missed employment opportunities due to motor vehicle crash fatalities in 2018.
Were you or someone injured in an automobile wreck in Memphis? An experienced injury attorney can be extremely helpful in arranging the frequently turbulent and complex world of insurance claims and settlements.
Memphis Car Accident Causes
An accident lawyer in Memphis can investigate to help you understand the cause of your auto accidents. In Tennessee, these are some of the most common causes of auto crashes:
- Distracted driving including talking on the phone, eating, music, other passengers, navigation equipment, texting, or rubbernecking
- Reckless and aggressive driving including speeding, tailgating, failure to yield, unsafe lane changes, failure to signal, wrong-way driving, road rage, or racing
- Drowsy driving including those who haven’t had enough rest or those taking sleep-inducing medications
- Driving impaired under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs
- Faulty parts including defective brakes, tires, steering, suspension, and safety equipment
- Unmaintained vehicles including poorly secured materials, faulty brakes, cracked signal lights, and non-functional headlight
- Inclement weather like snow, sleet, hail, rain, wind, ice, and fog
- Poor roadway design and conditions including hazard visibility, traffic flow, road surfaces, improper striping, defective traffic control devices, insufficient space on the shoulder, poor road maintenance, debris in the road, improper signage, construction, and potholes
Motor vehicle accidents can happen at any time. A car wreck can be very scary, especially if that accident was caused by someone negligently operating their vehicle.
Negligence in Memphis TN Car Accidents
When a person is negligent, they have behaved carelessly, and that behavior has caused harm or injury to another person. A person can be deemed negligent by doing something that he or she should not have done or by failing to do something that he or she should have done.
The legal theory behind the idea of negligence states that a driver must use care to avoid injuring other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians. When a driver is not reasonably careful and injures someone as a result, the driver is liable for injuring the accident victim.
Elements of Negligence
Tennessee law requires that Memphis drivers be reasonably careful. In car accident cases, the law requires drivers to be careful when encountering anyone they meet on the road, and this concept is often referred to as the “duty of reasonable care.”
In instances where a driver does not perform their duty of reasonable care, this is called “breaching” or violating the duty of care. The law will compare the driver’s conduct to those of a reasonable person when determining if a driver was careful enough. When a driver’s behavior falls short of reason, the defendant violated the duty of reasonable care.
Car accident victims are entitled to compensation for injuries, lost wages, earning capacity, pain and suffering, and property damage. If there aren’t any monetary losses or provable injuries, the plaintiff is not allowed to recover anything. The plaintiff must prove his or her injuries and other monetary losses.
When you are the plaintiff, it’s important to keep complete and detailed records of all injuries, medical expenses, and property damage. These records can help your Memphis car accident law firm determine who may be at fault for your accident.
Determining Fault After a Car Accident
After your car crash, once you’re feeling up to it, you’ll need to find out who was liable for the car wreck. An experienced car accident lawyer can investigate whether the other driver(s) violated a law and use their experience to help you determine who was at fault.
A Memphis car accident attorney will typically look for negligence, which is the failure to act responsibly. Your Memphis car lawyer will also be on the lookout for recklessness or wanton conduct that willfully ignores the chances of a crash and the safety of others.
Intentional misconduct or deliberately performing an action that could harm someone or something, such as driving while intoxicated, speeding excessively, or knowingly selling defective or dangerous products have been deemed causes of liability in the past in Memphis civil courts.
Lastly, your car accident lawyers will search for instances of strict liability. This is when a crash happens due to the defective design and inadequate warnings from the manufacturer.
Advantages of Hiring a Memphis Car Accident Lawyer
Most injury Memphis car accident lawyers work on a contingent-fee basis, so they only get paid if there is a successful resolution to your claim. If you’re injured in a car accident, hiring a lawyer could ensure a much better settlement. Car accident lawyers can use the following techniques to support your case.
Knowledge of Memphis TN Laws
Hiring accident lawyers in Memphis to represent you after an auto accident means that you will have someone knowledgeable about the relevant laws and procedural rules in Tennessee that could affect your case.
Your car accident lawyer can file your lawsuit and will know the best practices for eliminating the arguments brought forth by your opposition. Once your case gets started, your car accident attorneys will play an irreplaceable role in your case prep and can be ready to go to trial if your case doesn’t settle.
Even though a lawsuit is rarely necessary because most car accidents settle out of court, the threat of legal action provides leverage when negotiating a fair deal. Also, having an attorney who is knowledgeable about Tennessee law strengthens your case, especially when you are up against the experience and vast resources of insurance companies.
Memphis Car Accident Attorneys Can Handle All The Details
There is a lot of work that goes into negotiating a settlement with insurance companies or trying a personal injury lawsuit. After you have been injured in a car crash, handling all of the time-consuming details of your case may be the last thing you want to do. That’s assuming your injuries allow you to do so, but a personal injury attorney could do it all for you.
If this is your first accident, then it also may be your first time dealing with the ins and outs of an accident claim. Lawyers in Memphis TN have dealt with all manner of claims and a variety of insurance companies. They can use their experience to obtain all of the necessary evidence to support your claim, gather police reports, witness statements, medical bills, and employment and lost wage information.
Your Tennessee vehicle accident law firm will also be able to organize the evidence and prepare a settlement demand letter for the insurance company. If you are unable to find a settlement agreement, your attorney could take care of filing the necessary paperwork to start your court case and deal with the defense of your case.
Having someone knowledgeable about Tennessee laws, handling the hard work of your case eases the burden on you. This will be especially important if you have been seriously injured and are trying to recover from your injuries, recover compensation, or get reimbursed for your medical bills.
Memphis Car Accident Attorneys Advocate On Your Behalf
One of the most important ways an attorney or law firm may help you with your car accident injury case is by being your advocate. Your attorney can negotiate with the automobile insurance companies and strike a settlement deal if possible.
If a lawsuit becomes necessary, they will represent you before the judge, jury, and other attorneys, ensure that your side of the story is heard and that you are compensated for all of your losses.
FAQ About Memphis TN Car Accidents
Having a skilled and adept advocate working for you is crucial to obtaining a reasonable and fair resolution in your car accident case. If you were involved in an accident in Memphis, read on below for more important information and consider having a free consultation with a seasoned attorney in the Memphis community.
Is it worth hiring an attorney for a car accident?
Every accident is unexpected and that’s why hiring a personal injury lawyer after you’ve been injured is an option worth considering. If the accident was the other person’s fault, you could have a legal right to recover damages, and your lawyer can help make that happen. However, sometimes hiring a lawyer is not necessary.
When should you hire an attorney after a car accident?
You should hire an attorney to represent you after a car accident if you suffered injuries and/or significant damage to your car, especially when it is obvious, or even just possible, that someone else’s actions contributed to causing the accident.
Speak with an attorney about any car accident in which someone else’s actions may have played a role, including any accident involving more than one vehicle and any accident involving a sudden, unexpected loss of control of your car.
It is also important to speak to an attorney before agreeing to a settlement or making official statements to an insurance provider. Unless an experienced attorney has helped you analyze the damages you have incurred, you risk accepting a settlement in your case that is too low and will not cover the expenses you face now and could face in the future. Once you’ve accepted a settlement, you ordinarily will not have the opportunity to ask for more money.
If your accident was caused by the negligence of a governmental agency, then it will require skill and cunning to recover compensation from the local or state government. An experienced motor vehicle crash attorney, who understands the complications of taking legal action against a government entity, could help you.
If your loved one died from injuries sustained in the accident, you might have the right to obtain compensation through a wrongful death claim. If you need more information about who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim, an attorney can provide you with information about this process and who can assist you.
Is it worth getting a lawyer for a minor car accident?
If you were involved in a fender-bender that did not cause serious injuries or property damage, then you probably will not need the assistance of a car accident injury attorney. However, in all other circumstances, speaking with an experienced car accident injury attorney is the best way to protect your legal rights.
If you weren’t hurt all that badly, you’re comfortable gathering necessary evidence and documents, and you’re willing to engage in the settlement negotiation process, you could handle your car accident claim yourself. Consider though that there are advantages to skilled legal professional help.
How Can a Plaintiff Recover Damages After a Car Accident?
When a car accident victim demonstrates that another’s wrongdoing caused their injuries, the injured individual could receive payments as compensation for the outcomes of the collision. These payments are often referred to by Memphis attorneys as economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
An injured individual can recover compensation for economic damages, which are with a value that can be calculated, or non-economic damages, which are the intangible losses that have an impact on a person’s wellbeing but no direct monetary equivalent. Damages are often awarded in Tennessee courts for:
- Lost wages due to time missed from work and the anticipation of reduced earnings in the future
- Medical bills, expenses, equipment, and future medical treatment therapies
- Pain and suffering and the emotional anguish caused by the accident
- Loss of enjoyment of favorite activities, life, and companionship
An experienced car accident attorney can help you to calculate the value of reasonable damages and compare them with the settlement offers you receive.
What is the statute of limitations for Memphis car accident claims?
Tennessee state laws require car accident victims to act promptly if they want to receive compensation after a collision because a lawsuit must be filed within one year of the incident, or the court could dismiss your case.
This deadline was established by Tenn. Code Ann. §28-3-104(a)(1)(a). When the insurance company knows your statutory deadline has expired, they will not have an incentive to pay for a settlement, which is why it is wise to adhere to the time limit set by the state.