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 injured police officers or emergency responders file a lawsuit if they are hurt on the job?
Police officers, firefighters, and paramedics are all entitled to workers' compensation benefits when they are injured on the job. Unfortunately, these injuries are often severe due to the nature of their work, and the financial losses incurred may go beyond the payments provided by workers' compensation. In these cases, it is worth considering a third-party personal injury claim against a negligent party.
On-Duty Injuries That Could Lead to a Third-Party Claim
Emergency responders and police officers may file a claim against members of the public if they have suffered:
- Violence. Police officers may suffer acts of violence as they attempt to keep the peace, including animal attacks, stabbing incidents, shootings, or fatal injuries.
- Falls. A slip, trip, or fall can result in injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to head trauma and spinal cord injuries from falling from a height (such as a collapsing building).
- Car accidents. EMTs may be struck by passing cars while administering to victims at a crash scene. In these cases, responders may sue an at-fault driver to recover the costs of their injuries.
- Overexertion injuries. Long hours and daily stress can take a high physical and mental toll on the body. First responders may be owed compensation for heart problems or damage to tendons, ligaments, or joints sustained in the course of their duties.
- Struck-by injuries. Officers attempting to make an arrest may be struck with weapons or heavy objects, resulting in broken bones, back injuries, crush injuries, or nerve damage.
- Exposure to harmful substances. Exposure to chemicals, toxins, drug components, or radiation can have long-lasting effects on a worker. In addition to lung damage and chemical burns, some hazards can result in the formation of certain cancers or an inability to bear children.
- Fires and explosions. Home and commercial fires place responders at risk of smoke inhalation, burns and scarring, and severe emotional trauma. Firefighters may take action against a property owner if they suffered injuries due to building code violations, arson, or other forms of negligence.
If you have suffered a serious injury in the line of duty, our lawyers can discuss your next steps in your free initial consultation—and we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To learn more about your claim, please fill out the short contact form on this page or download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.
What good can come of filing a wrongful death case?
Some family members are reluctant to put themselves through the stress of a lawsuit because the only remedy they can hope for is a financial award. This may seem insufficient to cover the full scope of their losses—after all, how could any amount of money replace the person who was taken away? What these relatives may not realize is that their claims can offer many rewards that have nothing to do with profit.
How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Could Benefit You and Your Family
Relatives file wrongful death claims for a variety of reasons, and each family will have different goals for the outcome of the case. Your wrongful death claim may be able to give you:
- Justice. Although the person responsible for the loss of your loved one will have to pay compensation for a wrongful death, he or she must also acknowledge the wrongdoing, giving you and your family a sense of closure.
- The chance to help others. The legal remedies that are available to you do not just offer compensation; they are also a disincentive to negligent parties everywhere. For example, drivers may think twice after drinking if they know that people like you are not afraid to file claims that could impact them for the rest of their lives.
- A guide to the “business” of death. The sooner we hear from you, the greater the chance that we can assist with any legal matters related to the case. This could include answering questions about estate matters, filing insurance claims, or requesting documentation that can be used as evidence in your claim.
- An end to the confusion. Family members only have a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death claim, and that time is usually taken up with grief and uncertainty. An attorney’s advice can help you make the right decisions now to avoid hardships later in life.
Our wrongful death attorneys can handle the legal aspects of your claim and advise you during one of the most difficult times in your life, and it doesn’t cost anything to discuss your claim with us. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page to get started, or download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.
Is it ethical for me to refer my case to another attorney?
It speaks highly of our fellow attorneys that they consider the ethics of accepting referral fees. Rest assured, Rule 1.5(e) of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct permits contingent fees to be divided between two (or more) law firms as long as the client has given written consent. In addition to providing you with payment for any legal services you have already provided, a referral may also be better for your client's case.
Referring Your Case Allows You to Keep Your Promise to Your Client
Some attorneys know that a case is not a good fit for them from the first phone call, while others may realize it only after spending a great deal of time and effort on the case. Unfortunately, the decision to refer the case out only gets harder as time goes on, potentially risking your relationship with a client who views you as a trusted advisor.
If your top concern is the best outcome for your client, it is far more ethical to refer a case that needs additional work to us than risk losing in court. Our dedication to your client and your professional reputation is reflected in our:
- Written fee agreement. Our fee agreement details the percentage of each law firm’s fees in accordance with the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Tennessee. It is signed by you, your client, and a lawyer from our firm, ensuring full compliance with the ethics rules concerning fee division.
- Service to your client. Some lawyers will continue to represent a client even if they cannot afford the increasing costs of going to court. As an experienced trial attorney, John Griffith will not hesitate to put the full force of the firm’s resources into hiring expert witnesses, creating exhibits or demonstrations for evidence, or using focus groups if it will benefit a client’s personal injury case.
- Adherence to contingency laws. Upon successful resolution of the case, we issue a percentage of the contingent fee as payment to referring attorneys. If there is no recovery, no referral fee is paid.
No matter what point your personal injury or wrongful death case has reached, GriffithLaw will accept any referral that we feel will benefit our peers and their clients. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page or give us a call at (615) 823-8233 to learn more about partnering with our firm.
What can I do to help my truck accident case succeed?
The best thing you can do in the days after a wreck is to speak with a Tennessee trucking accident lawyer. Tennessee truck crash victims only have one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, so it is important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Your attorney can determine if trucker negligence, maintenance problems, improper loading, or other trucking company failures led to your injuries, and send a spoliation letter to prevent the destruction of vital evidence.
Common Mistakes Victims Make After a Truck Crash
Unfortunately, victims often make simple missteps that have big consequences throughout the injury and recovery process. You should be wary of doing something that hurts your case:
- At the scene. Victims may be in shock and in significant pain after a crash, causing them to say things that can be used against them. Offering police more information than they ask for or saying “I’m sorry” can be misinterpreted as an admission of fault.
- During your recovery. Never attempt to “walk off” or delay treatment for injuries that were caused by someone else’s negligence. Failing to get prompt medical attention, skipping doctors’ appointments, or posting too much on social media can all impact the value of your insurance claim.
- When dealing with an insurance company. The trucking company’s insurance provider will do everything it can to pay you as little as possible for your claim. Never submit to a recorded statement when discussing the accident with insurance adjusters.
- Before you settle your case. If you accept a settlement from an insurer before you know the true value of your losses, you could lose the right to receive future compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, disability costs, and pain and suffering.
If you have suffered a serious injury in a trucking accident, our lawyers can discuss your next steps in your free initial consultation—and we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To learn more about your claim, please fill out the short contact form on this page or download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.
What Do I Have to Do to Earn a Referral Fee?
Some lawyers put a great deal of work into attracting a potential client and learning more about their case, only to discover that the case is not a good fit for their firm. Instead of “writing off” all of that time and effort, Tennessee law allows lawyers to earn a fee simply by referring a valid case to a fellow attorney. As a personal injury trial attorney, John Griffith routinely works with other firms to provide accident victims with the quality representation they need.
How Our Referral Process Works
One of the benefits of referring your case to GriffithLaw is that it allows you to be as involved in the case process as you like. Your active participation in the case is not necessary to earn a referral fee. The only thing you have to do is call us at (615) 823-8233 or use our online contact form and tell us a little about the case.
If we decide that the case is a good fit for us, we will:
- Enter into a written fee agreement. We will work out a shared fee agreement at the beginning of the case, outlining our role and responsibilities. It will also state your responsibilities if you wish to act as co-counsel with us.
- Invite you to be a part of proceedings. We will notify you of the date and times of all client meetings, depositions, hearings, and trial, which you are welcome (but not required) to attend.
- Keep you updated on our progress. Unless you prefer otherwise, our firm will copy you on all relevant correspondence and decisions in the case by phone or email.
- Ensure timely payment of fees. Once the case is settled, we will issue a referral fee payment to your firm in accordance with the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Tennessee.
GriffithLaw is honored to accept referrals from attorneys nationwide, offering our skills and resources to benefit both your client and your professional reputation. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page or give us a call at (615) 823-8233 to learn more about partnering with our firm.
Could I sue the owner of a playground if my child was bleeding from an injury?
Many children suffer cuts or scrapes while they are playing outdoors. While many of these will heal without incident, some cuts will have severe consequences, including infections, blood loss, or extreme pain. Some lacerations can result in nerve damage or scarring, causing lifelong physical and emotional trauma to the child. When this happens, parents should seek the advice of an experienced premises liability attorney to get compensation and justice for their child’s suffering.
Liability for Cuts and Scrapes on Playgrounds
Many different people could be responsible if your child came home from a playground with cuts or bruises. Supervisors at schools and daycare centers have a responsibility to watch children carefully, park owners should install and maintain safe playground equipment, and manufacturers must design play equipment in a way that minimizes injury. As a result, any one (or all) of these parties can be held liable when injuries on playgrounds occur.
There are many different reasons a child could be bleeding from a playground injury, including:
- Sharp edges. All types of equipment pose a risk of pointed or sharp edges. A plastic structure may bend, crack, or shatter, causing deep lacerations on exposed edges, while thin metal on slides can slice through a child’s arms or legs.
- Protrusions. Hooks, bolts, screws, and other hardware may cut a child’s finger or cause puncture wounds that result in deep-tissue infections.
- Trip hazards. A child may suffer facial lacerations after tripping over stumps, holes, or rocks in the play area.
- Maintenance defects. A wooden structure may buckle or rot over time, exposing nail heads and rebar used in construction.
If your child was injured on a playground in Tennessee, our attorneys can listen to your story and determine who may be held liable. 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 dangers of a brain bleed caused by a head injury?
Bleeding in the brain is a common result of moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). As blood pools under the injury, pressure on the brain increases, resulting in a loss of oxygen to the brain. Without medical intervention to relieve the pressure on the brain, a victim could suffer permanent brain damage or even death.
Types and Complications of Brain Bleeds
The collection of blood outside of blood vessels is called a hematoma. A much more serious form of bruising, a brain hematoma can begin to show symptoms right after a blow to the head, or it can take days or even weeks to appear. Many victims feel fine after the injury, only to suffer persistent headaches, vomiting, dizziness, slurred speech, and progressive loss of consciousness with each passing day. Doctors will typically diagnose a hematoma with CT scans and devise treatment based on the location and size of the bleed.
A closed head injury could result in one of the following types of hematoma:
- Epidural hematoma. An epidural hematoma is a bleed between the inside of the skull and the outer covering of the brain (called the dura). They are commonly caused by skull fractures, as bone fragments may rupture the blood vessels running beneath the skull.
- Subdural hematoma. Bleeding between the dura and brain tissue is a subdural hematoma, which can lead to unconsciousness and death as pressure on the brain increases. While some subdural hematomas will resolve on their own, others will require surgical drainage.
- Intracerebral hematoma. This bleeding occurs anywhere within the brain tissue itself, including both lobes and in the brainstem. An intracranial hematoma is potentially life-threatening and typically requires surgery and treatment with blood thinners to prevent the victim from suffering blood clots that increase the risk of a stroke.
If someone in your family has suffered a severe head injury, our attorneys can listen to the details of your case and discover who may be liable—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.
How long do I have to file a truck accident lawsuit in Tennessee?
Every state creates its own time limit to bring an injury claim, called the statute of limitations. In Tennessee, victims have just one year from the date of the truck accident to file a lawsuit to recover payment for their medical bills, surgery costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. This is much shorter than the deadline in other states, and many victims may fall outside of the statute of limitations before they even know the full extent of their injuries.
Sooner Is Always Better When it Comes to Speaking With a Truck Wreck Lawyer
If you have been injured in a truck crash, it is always best to speak with a Tennessee trucking accident lawyer as soon as possible. Fast action will greatly benefit your case, as it allows us to:
- Collect evidence before it disappears. Truck drivers and commercial carriers follow company procedures to limit their liability after a crash, including destroying any evidence that could be used against them. One of the first things your attorney can do is send a spoliation letter to preserve truck driver logs, maintenance records, and other vital information in your claim.
- Determine if you may be granted an extension. Tennessee law may allow an extension to the filing deadline under certain circumstances. For example, if the person hurt in the crash was a minor at the time of the accident, they may have until their 19th birthday to bring a claim.
- Investigate commercial vehicle requirements. Not all injury attorneys have experience in truck wreck cases. Our attorneys have a thorough knowledge of commercial carrier and driver laws and safety regulations, and know how to gather evidence of trucker error, overloading, failed maintenance, and other trucking company negligence.
Our lawyers can discuss your next steps in your free initial consultation, and we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To learn more about your claim, please fill out the short contact form on this page or download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.
Who can file a Tennessee wrongful death claim?
If someone you love has died unexpectedly, you may be considering a wrongful death claim to hold a negligent party responsible for your loss. While these types of claims can be invaluable in providing compensation for the lost income and comfort of a loved one, Tennessee law has rules about who may bring a claim.
Relatives Who Are Legally Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Tennessee
Under state law, the right to file an injury lawsuit survives a victim if he or she dies before bringing a claim. However, Tennessee law not only establishes which parties have the right to bring the claim, but it also dictates who will receive the damages in a wrongful death case.
Tennessee allows the following individuals to file a wrongful death claim, in descending order:
- The surviving spouse. The right to file a wrongful death claim will always begin with the person who was legally married to the deceased at the time of the accident. If there is no surviving spouse, the claim passes to the deceased’s children.
- The surviving children. If the deceased does not have children or a spouse, the right to sue passes to the deceased’s siblings.
- A surviving sibling. A deceased person’s sister, brother, or other eligible next of kin now has the right to file the suit. If there are none, the claim passes to the person in charge of the deceased's estate.
- The personal representative of the estate. This is the person who has been named as the personal representative of the estate in the deceased’s will. If there is no will or a personal representative has not been established, the claim passes to the deceased person’s parents.
- A surviving parent. A parent (or parents) may bring a claim if the deceased person was dependent on his or her parent(s) at the time of death.
If someone you love has been killed due to another person’s negligence, our wrongful death attorneys advise you on your next steps—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 your free initial consultation, or download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.
Who is responsible for the medical costs of a dog bite injury?
If you were attacked by a dog, there are a few different parties who may be held liable for your medical bills. Most dog bite injury cases involve making a claim against the at-fault party’s liability insurance provider to pay for medical treatment, but these claims can also include additional amounts for lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Whose Insurance Should Cover Treatment for a Dog Bite Injury?
If you have medical insurance, you should use it at the time of your emergency visit and during your follow-up visits. Anything your insurer pays for, as well as any costs you pay out-of-pocket, should be reimbursed by the at-fault owner’s insurance coverage. If you do not have health insurance, your bills may have to go unpaid until you settle your claim through the dog owner’s:
- Homeowners insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites account for over a third of all homeowner insurance liability claims and can cost up to $500 million in claims nationwide. If the dog owner has homeowners insurance, your claim will most likely fall under the homeowner's coverage.
- Med Pay coverage. Many homeowner policies include Med Pay coverage, a separate, no-fault coverage that applies only to a victim’s medical bills. This allows an insurer to agree to cover medical bills for an injury on the property regardless of whether the insurance company accepts liability for the accident.
- Renters insurance. If the dog’s owner lives in a rental property, you may be able to make a claim under his or her rental insurance policy. However, this is only an option if the policy includes liability insurance. If the policy only covers property damage, you may have to make a claim against the landlord’s commercial or homeowner policy.
If the insurer is reluctant to pay the claim, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to recover the full costs of the injury. If someone else’s negligence caused your dog bite injuries, our injury lawyers can gather evidence on your behalf and advise you on your next steps—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.