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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  • 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.

  • What is a closed head injury?

    man with head and neck injuries being treated after car accidentIn a closed-head injury, the skull has remained intact, but the brain has suffered trauma from a blow to the head or as a result of the brain crashing against the skull. Contact sports, falls, and car accidents are the most common causes of this type of brain injury, with effects ranging from a concussion to permanent or even fatal brain damage.

    Complications of a Closed Head Injury

    Although the skull may remain intact, there can still be severe damage to the brain—and the victim may not show any immediate symptoms of the trauma until hours or days after the injury occurs. The most common symptoms include dizziness, light sensitivity, headaches, vision changes, difficulty concentrating, and sudden behavior changes.

    A closed head injury could lead to dangerous conditions such as:

    • Brain bleeding. Head trauma can cause the brain to bleed inside the skull, causing conditions such as blood pooling (hematoma) or uncontrolled bleeding (hemorrhage). Both of these conditions are life-threatening emergencies that can be fatal if not treated quickly.
    • Brain swelling. A blow to the head can cause the brain to swell, increasing the pressure inside the skull and cutting off the flow of oxygen to the brain. If the pressure is not relieved, the victim could suffer permanent effects or even death.
    • Eye trauma. Swelling in the brain can compress the optic nerves or even press the eyes outward from their sockets, resulting in extreme pain and impaired vision. Doctors may attempt to relieve the pressure using diuretics, anti-seizure medications, or by opening a hole in the skull to give the brain tissue room to expand during healing.
    • Coma. If the brain has sustained severe damage, it may respond by shutting down into a prolonged state of unconsciousness in order to heal itself. A coma can help avoid permanent brain damage and preserve higher brain function, but there is no way to predict the patient’s prognosis until he or she is revived.

    Treatments for a closed head injury can vary as widely as the injuries themselves, with patients having to endure prolonged time off work to rest, surgical interventions, and long-term rehabilitation. If someone in your family has suffered a severe head injury, our attorneys can listen to the details of your case and advise you on your rights—and we do not collect anything from you until after your case is won. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page or request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • What if another vehicle struck me while my car was parked?

    back of cars in parking lotMany people have returned to their cars after a shopping trip to find a dent in their door (and in better circumstances, a note on the window). While it may seem difficult to believe, drivers strike parked cars on a daily basis—and in some cases, the passengers are still inside when the collision occurs.

    What to Do If You Were Struck While Your Car Was Parked

    One of the biggest disputes in these kinds of accidents is proving that the car that was struck was parked legally. Even if someone rear-ended you while you were in a parking lot or sideswiped your door as you waited for a patient outside a hospital, you may be found partly at fault if you were parked in a no-loading zone or fire lane.

    In order to protect your injury claim and your health, you should take the following steps immediately if someone struck your car while you were parked:

    • Take pictures. One of the easiest ways to prove you were not at fault is to take pictures of the damage and positioning of both cars from several angles. If your phone does not have a camera, make a note of any nearby surveillance cameras that may have a recording of the incident.
    • Call 911. Don’t make the mistake of letting the other driver leave because you “don’t feel injured.” If there is any noticeable damage to your car, you should call the police. Police officers know what questions to ask after a crash, can make sure you are all right, and make an official report of the incident that you can refer to later.
    • Collect contact information. You should exchange contact information with the other driver, even if he or she is denying fault for the crash. Be sure to write down the name, phone number, address, and insurance company of the driver, as well as collecting the names and numbers of any witnesses at the scene.
    • Contact the other driver’s insurance company. Under Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence system, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is required to pay for the damage as long as you are less than 50% liable for the crash. If the other driver’s insurer denies the claim or does not resolve the issue, you may need an attorney to help you get compensation.

    For more information on your rights after an accident, fill out the short contact form on this page or request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • What risks do older people face after a brain injury?

    doctor showing older woman MRI brain scansOlder people are at higher risk of complications after a variety of accidents, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI). A 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that advanced age is a significant factor in negative outcomes after TBI. Out of approximately 80,000 people over age 65 who visit emergency rooms every year for a head injury, three-quarters of these patients require hospitalization.

    Risks for Patients Who Suffer Brain Injuries Later in Life

    In 2003, the total cost of treating TBI in patients over age 65 was more than $2.2 billion—a figure that is expected to double as the older population in the U.S. rises to over 70 million by 2030.

    Traumatic brain injury is particularly hazardous to older people due to:

    • Falls. Falls are the leading cause of TBI in older adults, causing over half of all brain injuries. Older people are more likely to suffer a fall due to mobility problems, impaired vision, medication side effects, and trouble with the feet (such as neuropathy). To make matters worse, seniors are also more likely to suffer a secondary fall if they are admitted to inpatient care, suffering 1.5 falls per bed each year while hospitalized.
    • Advanced age risks. The rate of TBI-related hospitalization for adults aged 65 and older is double that of the general population. After age 75, the risk of TBI-related hospitalization and death is four times that of the general population.
    • Medical complications. Older people are more likely to have permanent brain injury complications than their younger counterparts, including poor health, balance disorders, depression, and memory problems—any of which may cause them to lose the ability to live independently.
    • Higher mortality rates. Many older adult patients are unable to recover from TBI due to the use of blood thinners, aspirin, or other anti-inflammatory medications that cause hematoma or brain bleeds. As a result, adults over age 65 are more likely to die in the first five years after TBI than people in younger age groups.

    If someone in your family has suffered a severe head injury, our attorneys can listen to the details of your case and advise you on your rights—and we do not collect anything from you until after your case is won. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page or request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.