Common Questions From Accident Victims in Tennessee

The victims of serious injuries and accidents are often left with a lot of questions. In our FAQ, you can get the answers to some of the most common questions our Nashville injury attorneys hear, as well as important information about your rights and legal options if you’ve been hurt in Tennessee.  

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  • Who can I sue if my car roof collapsed in a rollover accident?

    car resting on its roof after rollover accidentA rollover accident is a traumatic event that has the potential to cause severe injuries and loss of life. For this reason, cars are supposed to be designed in a way that will protect you if your vehicle ever turns onto its roof. When a car’s roof begins to buckle, it can fail to protect occupants and make their injuries worse.

    An Automaker May Be Liable for a Roof Crush Injury

    In addition to filing a claim against the at-fault driver, you may have a claim against the manufacturer or designer of your vehicle. Automakers have a duty to ensure that their vehicles’ roofs have the ability to handle the weight of the car if flipped upside down (called "roof-crush resistance”). Since rollover accidents can cause cars to rest on their roofs for long periods of time, a high roof-crush resistance is vital to passenger safety.

    If an automaker cut corners, a roof-crush incident could result in serious injury to a victim’s:

    • Neck. The stress of the roof pressing down on a victim’s head can result in a broken neck, dislocated shoulders, or a severe sprain from holding the neck at a painful angle.
    • Brain. While the repeated rolling of the vehicle can result in a closed head injury, the collapse of the roof may cause debris to enter the victim’s skull (penetrating head injury), an open fracture, or other life-threatening traumatic brain injuries.
    • Back. Unfortunately, many rollover accidents will result in spinal cord injuries that cause partial paralysis or total inability to move the arms and legs. Victims may also suffer painful herniated discs or back injuries that cause lifelong limitations.

    If you've been injured in a rollover accident where the roof didn't protect you, our attorneys can investigate the details of the case to determine who may be held responsible. Our lawyers provide injury clients with a free initial consultation and represent their interests on a contingent fee basis, meaning we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To learn more about your claim, download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • What are the most common injuries sustained in an airplane or helicopter crash?

    helicopter tour landing in fieldPilot errors, FAA violations, and defective aircraft components can cause a wide range of airplane accidents, and the craft does not have to be in the air for a passenger to suffer severe injuries. When you or someone you love is injured in an airplane accident, it is vital to speak to an attorney to determine who is liable for the accident to prevent further injuries and ensure that you are properly compensated.

    Common Injuries Sustained in Airplane and Helicopter Crashes

    A simple mistake made while a plane is in flight, coming in for a landing, or even taxiing on the runway can cause injuries that can last the rest of a traveler’s life. While crash injuries may be more severe than in-flight injuries, either incident can cause significant trauma that results in:

    • Brain injuries. Contact with the window, overhead compartment, or falling luggage can result in a traumatic brain injury that requires extensive treatment. Some passengers may suffer permanent brain damage that prevents them from working or living independently.
    • Broken bones. Even a so-called minor accident can cause extremely painful fractures in a passenger’s hands, feet, arms, legs, or ribs.
    • Back injuries. An aviation accident may damage or compress a passenger’s spinal cord, causing partial or total paralysis.
    • Burns. An aircraft collision frequently results in fires due to the friction of the brakes and the high combustibility of airline fuel. Burn injuries may require skin grafts and extensive cosmetic surgery, and may still result in disfigurement to the face, neck, or hands.
    • Emotional trauma. A person who is involved in an airline accident may suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as a tendency to withdraw from crowds and a fear of flying.

    At GriffithLaw, we can gather evidence and perform an investigation to get the help you need after your airline injury—and we do not collect any legal fees unless we recover compensation for you. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page to set up your no-cost injury consultation, or learn more about your rights in our free guide, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • Could my airplane injury have been caused by an FAA violation?

    hand holding flight data recorder at airportOne of the reasons commercial flights are the safest forms of travel is because the airline industry is heavily regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA sets forth various safety requirements that commercial carriers and pilots must follow in order to operate in the United States—and countless passengers may be injured or killed if even one of these provisions is violated.

    FAA Violations That Can Lead to Aviation Injuries

    After any plane crash or in-flight incident, it’s critical to determine whether federal regulations were violated. Even if the FAA performs its own investigation, you will need an experienced aviation law attorney to investigate on your behalf.

    Aviation accidents can be the result of FAA violations, especially those involving:

    • Pilot errors. Pilots on private planes and commercial aircraft both have a duty to follow all FAA regulations before, during, and after the flight. If a pilot deliberately failed to follow an air traffic controller’s instructions, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating an aircraft, or otherwise placed passengers at risk, he or she could be held personally liable for an accident (and potentially lose his or her pilot’s license).
    • A mechanical problem. The FAA may examine copies of the aircraft’s historical records to determine if the craft was airworthy. If a known issue with the engine, electrical systems, or other components played a role in the accident, the manufacturer of defective aircraft components might share liability with the commercial airline.
    • Airline negligence. Commercial air carriers are required to report any in-flight incidents to the FAA, even if they do not cause injury. Unfortunately, some airlines may engage in unsafe practices or policies, such as failing to report known mistakes, attempting to cover up an incident, or implementing cost-cutting measures that compromise safety.

    At GriffithLaw, we conduct a thorough investigation to determine who is responsible for your airline injury—and we do not collect any legal fees unless we recover compensation for you. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page to set up your no-cost injury consultation, or learn more about your rights in our free guide, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • Can I sue the driver of a FedEx or delivery truck?

    delivery van on highway near cityThe ease of online shopping has added thousands of delivery trucks to Tennessee roads, delivering millions of packages with each new day. Carriers such as UPS and FedEx rely on fleets of box trucks and delivery vans, each one with the potential to cause an accident with a pedestrian or passenger vehicle.

    Who Can Be Held Liable for a Delivery Truck Accident?

    Under Tennessee law, an employer may be held liable for the negligent acts of an employee if an accident occurs within with the scope of employment. You could be owed compensation from the driver as well as the delivery company for acts of negligence, including:

    • Untrained driver errors. While semi-truck drivers are required to be fully trained and licensed to operate their vehicles, delivery truck drivers may not be held to the same standards. Depending on the weight and size of the vehicle, a delivery driver may not be required to hold a commercial driver’s license or even prove that they have received training in the safe operation of a truck or van. 
    • Dangerous maneuvers. Delivery drivers are under considerable pressure to meet deadlines, and they may perform risky maneuvers such as speeding or illegal turns in order to shave seconds off their drive time.
    • Drowsy or distracted driving. Drivers who are unfamiliar with their delivery routes may strike children or pedestrians as they search for addresses or back out of driveways. Staffing shortages may also cause overloaded delivery schedules, leading to drowsy driving accidents.
    • Maintenance problems. Some delivery companies are so inundated with orders they outsource their deliveries to third-party contractors. If the accident was caused by a lack of maintenance or a contractor driver’s error, you may have a third-party claim.

    If you or someone you love has been hurt by a delivery truck or van, simply fill out the short contact form on this page to set up your free initial consultation. Our lawyers serve injury clients on a contingent fee basis, meaning we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To learn more about your claim, download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • Can I get a disease or infection from a dog bite?

    nurse bandaging a patient's hand and wristAbout 20 percent of people who are bitten by dogs will require medical attention related to the bite. While treatment may be needed for bleeding, broken bones, or nerve damage, it can also prevent infection and the spread of disease. Dog bites can transmit harmful bacteria or viruses into the victim’s bloodstream, placing the victim at risk of debilitating illnesses or even death.

    Infections That May Spread From Dogs to Humans After a Bite

    A dog’s mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria, some of which can cause infection in humans. It is a good idea to wash dog bite wounds with soap and water and cover them with a clean bandage. If the wound itches, appears swollen, refuses to heal, becomes red or hot to the touch, or results in a fever, you should see a doctor immediately to check for:

    • Rabies. Although the risk of getting rabies from a dog in the United States has dropped dramatically, it is still a concern because it is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. If you are bitten by an unknown dog or a dog that is acting strangely, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible to receive a rabies vaccination.
    • Tetanus. Tetanus is a toxin that can cause dog bite victims to suffer rigid paralysis, especially if they have suffered a deep bite wound and have not had a tetanus shot in the past five years.
    • Pasteurella. Pasteurella bacteria may cause a wound to become red or extremely painful, but can also result in swollen glands, swelling in the joints, and mobility problems as the infection spreads.
    • MRSA. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a deadly staph infection that is resistant to antibiotic treatments. Animals may be carriers of MRSA without showing any symptoms. Once it enters the bloodstream, the bacteria can spread throughout the victim’s body, causing life-threatening infections.

    If you or your child sustained a dog bite injury, you should speak with an attorney immediately. Our injury lawyers can advise you on your next steps at no cost to you, and we do not collect any payment from you until we secure a recovery. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page to set up a free initial consultation.

  • What should I consider before hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer for my case?

    motorcycle riders on rural roadIt is no exaggeration to say that the person you choose to represent you will have a direct impact on the potential amount of motorcycle accident compensation you receive. For this reason, it is vital that victims take the time to research law firms carefully before retaining a lawyer for the case.

    Key Requirements for Your Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

    The first thing to consider is whether your chosen attorney works on a contingent fee agreement or offers a free initial consultation. These tools will allow you to see if you get along with the lawyer without incurring any up-front costs. Next, you should examine the law firm’s website for information on the lawyer’s:

    • Experience. Not all injury lawyers have experience working motorcycle accident cases. Your chosen attorney should have handled cases in the past involving motorcycle riders or passengers, and should have experience with your type of injury and the complications it may cause.
    • Communication with clients. If you want to know how attorneys treat their clients, see whether former clients have offered testimonials detailing the problems they had and how the lawyer was able to help. If you meet with an attorney, he or she should answer your questions clearly, explain how costs and fees are handled, and tell you your next steps at no cost to you.
    • Team and resources. The size of the firm is not necessarily the best indicator of the amount of time and effort given to your case. A smaller firm can devote more attention across fewer clients, especially if your case is handled collaboratively by several members of the legal team.
    • Willingness to go to trial. You should examine the firm’s case results to see if they have won cases in court as well as obtaining settlements. Our firm prepares motorcycle accident cases as if they will go to trial, and will not hesitate to move on to court if it is the best way to secure the compensation you are owed.

    To set up a free initial consultation, simply fill out the short contact form on this page. For more information, you can also request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • Can I sue the driver if I was hit by a post office truck?

    postal truck parked on the side of the roadDelivery drivers can be involved in accidents just like any other drivers, and operators of mail trucks may even be more likely to cause a crash. They often have to navigate narrow streets, drive on the wrong side of the road to reach mailboxes, and avoid hitting pedestrians in residential neighborhoods. If you are injured by a United States Postal Service truck, your claim will be completely different than a case against an insured driver or a commercial delivery service such as FedEx or UPS. 

    Claims Against the Government Are More Complicated Than Other Crash Cases

    The rules for filing injury claims against a USPS driver are similar to crash cases involving state- or city-owned vehicles in that the government entity takes responsibility instead of the employee. Unlike commercial trucks, government vehicles are not insured, so you will be suing the federal government directly for your injury costs.

    There are a number of specialized procedures that you will have to follow in your case, including:

    • Meeting federal filing requirements. All claims for accidents with government vehicles are filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). There are many limitations on these claims, but most notably they must be filed in federal court and they must involve an employee’s negligence committed within the scope of his or her employment.
    • Identifying the negligent parties. In addition to a claim against the government, your accident could potentially involve the negligence of several other parties. For example, many government departments sub-contract delivery services to third parties. These third parties may be used to make home deliveries or to drive 18-wheelers loaded with mail from a distribution center to your local post office. If the vehicle that struck you was not owned by the government, but is owned by a sub-contractor working for the government, you may be able to file a standard injury lawsuit against the third party in addition to filing a government claim.
    • Negotiating with a U.S. attorney. You may be able to reach a settlement during the administrative claim process and avoid having to go to court. If negotiations with the government attorney assigned to your case fail, you can file your lawsuit, which brings in a new team of attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department. Again, you and your attorney can attempt to reach a settlement, or you can proceed to court.

    Our lawyers serve injury clients on a contingent fee basis, meaning we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To set up a free initial consultation, simply fill out the short contact form on this page. For more information, you can also request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • Is there any way to protect children from dog bite injuries?

    woman teasing aggressive dog held by ownerHundreds of thousands of children are sent to emergency rooms every year as a result of dog-related injuries, making dog attacks the second-most common cause of child ER visits. While children will always be more likely to suffer dog bites than adults, there are many actions dog owners and parents can take to reduce the risk of bite injuries.

    Steps Owners Can Take to Prevent Dog Attacks

    Under Tennessee dog bite laws, a dog owner has a duty to keep a dog under reasonable control to prevent injuries to the public. If an owner violates these duties and the dog attacks, the owner may be liable for the costs of medical bills, reconstructive surgeries, trauma counseling, and other damages suffered by a child and his family.

    Dog owners can avoid being sued by doing everything they can to minimize accidents, including:

    • Supervision. More than half of dog bite injuries occur in homes with animals that are familiar to the child. Owners should never let small children play with a dog unsupervised, even if the dog has never acted aggressively before.
    • Training. Dogs should have a minimal level of training, such as responding to commands like “stop,” “leave it,” or a simple “no.” Dogs should never be trained or encouraged to fight or bite.
    • Restraint. Dogs should be confined to their own yards by secure fences or tie-outs, and should always be on leashes while in public.

    How Parents Can Protect Children From Dog Bite Injuries

    A playful child may yell at, run to, or grab for a dog, causing the animal to panic and bite on instinct. Teaching children how to interact with dogs can go a long way toward preventing injury, especially if the child knows:

    • Don’t provoke them. Even a restrained dog can be dangerous, and taunting or tormenting a dog can cause a violent reaction.
    • Always ask before petting. Some dogs react well to contact with strangers, while others (such as rescues or service dogs) are best left alone. Make sure your child knows to ask permission before petting someone else’s dog, and to allow the dog to sniff them first.
    • Beware of puppies. Dogs have an instinct to protect their young. A dog who is caring for puppies may be more aggressive than others.
    • Don’t sneak up on them. Dogs don’t like surprises, and may bite out of fear if they are suddenly disturbed while sleeping or eating.
    • Avoid unleashed dogs. If you see an unfamiliar dog roaming freely with no sign of an owner, let an adult know immediately.
    • Don’t run! If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, don’t try to run away—the dog may see you as prey. Instead, stand completely still and say “No” in a loud voice. If the dog stops approaching, take a few steps backward with your eyes on the dog, gradually increasing the distance between you.
    • Curl up. If a dog attacks or knocks you over, curl into a ball with your head tucked in with your hands covering your ears and neck.

    If your child was harmed in a dog bite incident, you should speak with an attorney immediately to protect your child’s future. Our dog bite injury lawyers can advise you on your next steps at no cost to you, and we do not collect any payment from you until we secure a recovery. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page to set up a free initial consultation.

  • Do I need an attorney to negotiate an insurance settlement after an injury?

    two people in suits shaking handsWhile you can legally accept an insurance payout without the help of a lawyer, it is only recommended for those who have minor injuries and losses or who have past experience handling their own legal matters. Negotiating with an insurance company can be a grueling process spanning several months, after which the company may offer a low settlement that you do not want to accept—and you may still need to hire an attorney in order to file a personal injury lawsuit in court.

    How to Send a Demand Letter to an Insurance Company

    If you choose to negotiate with an insurer yourself, you will have to estimate the full costs of your injury claim and send a demand letter for that amount to the insurance company. The demand letter will need to outline why the insurance carrier is liable for the injuries, the extent of your injuries, the medical treatment you received, and the financial losses linked to the accident for which you are seeking payment.

    It is worth noting that insurance agents are extremely skilled at reducing both liability and payments to policyholders, while victims may not have much experience in these matters. Without an attorney on your side, you may not get the full amount you need for your:

    • Medical bills. Your settlement should, at the very least, cover any medical expenses you have incurred as a result of your injury. It is vital to keep complete and accurate records of your medical treatment in order to provide the total amount charged by each in your demand letter.
    • Lost earnings. Lost earnings include the total amount of income you have lost since the day of the injury, but also the income you will be unable to earn in the future as a result of any disability. For example, if your injury has forced you to work part-time instead of full-time, an insurer may be responsible for making up the difference in your income for the remainder of your work life expectancy (until your date of retirement).
    • Pain and suffering. If you have experienced extreme hardship during your recovery or suffered long-term or permanent injury, you will have to show evidence of the negative effects of your injuries in order to get payment for your pain and suffering.

    Our personal injury lawyers can review your settlement offer, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and file a lawsuit if an insurer refuses to cover your injury costs—and we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page to set up a free initial consultation, or learn more in our free book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • Is it true that I can accept a truck accident settlement without a lawyer?

    hands opening insurance settlement checkOne of the biggest myths about truck crash cases is that it is always better to settle your claim yourself than to hire an attorney. While injury victims can legally accept an insurance settlement without a lawyer, it is rarely the best course of action. If you represent yourself, you will have to negotiate with an insurance agent who has years of experience undervaluing claims, wait through any delays in the claim, provide additional information to the insurer—and in the end, you may still not get enough to cover the full costs of the crash.

    When Consulting an Attorney May Be Wiser Than Accepting a Settlement

    If you have minor injuries and little or no property damage, you may be able to convince an insurance company to cover your expenses. However, you should not take a settlement offer from an insurer without first speaking to an attorney if any of the following apply to you:

    • There may be more than one person at fault. Truck accident cases can involve the potential liability of the trucker, the driver of the car, the trucking carrier, the loading company, an auto parts manufacturer, and others. If multiple parties share blame for the accident, an attorney can determine who may be responsible for your losses and protect your rights to file a lawsuit.
    • You have suffered significant financial losses. Most people struggle to pay unforeseen costs, and insurance adjusters take advantage of this by offering a low settlement that can be paid in a matter of days. Unfortunately, this often leaves victims with far less than they deserve for their injuries. 
    • You have sustained serious injuries that may affect your future. If your injuries have resulted in disability, inability to work, and ongoing medical treatment, an attorney can place a value on the amount of damages you could be owed to compensate you for the rest of your life.

    Unfortunately, once you accept a settlement, you give up the right to ask for more money later. With so much at stake, an attorney’s advice in these matters can be invaluable. Our injury lawyers serve truck accident clients on a contingent fee basis, meaning we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To set up a free initial consultation, simply fill out the short contact form on this page. For more information, you can also request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.