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

    Many 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?

    Older 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.

  • How much does an injury attorney charge if we lose the case?

    Under our contingency fee agreement, clients are only required to reimburse our law firm for any upfront costs we have paid to pursue the claim (such as court filing fees) if the case isn't successful. However, we offer free consultations specifically to avoid this outcome, advising you as quickly as possible on the strength of your case.

    Our Fee System Is Built for the Benefit of Injury Victims

    Many injury victims are struggling financially when they come to us, having been forced to bear the burden of unforeseen medical bills and lost income due to an accident. Our contingent fee arrangement allows us to best serve our injury clients because it allows us to:

    • Start work immediately. No two injury cases are alike, and it is vital that accident victims contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to preserve valuable evidence and determine negligence. As we do not collect any payment up front, victims do not have to wait until they have saved up considerable financial resources in order to get a fair chance at justice.
    • Offer a settlement. In most cases, our attorneys are able to negotiate a settlement with an insurer to avoid losing a case outright. Even if your case settles for less than you originally sought, you may be better off than if you had risked losing your case in court.
    • Give you peace of mind. No matter what the outcome of your case, you will have had the opportunity to take legal action against a negligent party or insurer with an experienced injury attorney. This simple fact can be invaluable to victims and families years down the road—long after the statute of limitations has expired—who may wonder if they could have gotten compensation if they had sought the help of an attorney.

    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.

  • Why is it urgent to hire an attorney after a trucking accident?

    In the weeks after a serious accident, most victims simply want to pick up the pieces and move on. Many are in pain, unable to work, and overwhelmed by the problems caused by the crash—especially the struggle of trying to get insurance compensation for their injuries. The good news is that victims who meet with an attorney sooner rather than later have the strongest chance of recovering fair payment for their losses.

    Benefits of Speaking With an Attorney as Soon as Possible After a Truck Crash

    Commercial truck accidents are not the same as car crashes. They have the potential to cause far greater injuries that result in permanent disability or even death, and trucking companies’ insurers may resist insurance claims to pay for these costs. The earlier you speak with a lawyer, the more time you will have to focus on healing while your legal representative gets to work on your case.

    Our attorneys can help you:

    • Learn your options. An experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to determine who could be at fault in your case. Not only can the truck driver be held responsible, the trucking carrier, loading company, or manufacturer of defective truck parts may all share liability for your injuries.
    • Collect evidence before it disappears. Trucking companies have years of experience in mitigating their losses in an accident, and will likely assemble a team of attorneys to get to work right after a crash. An attorney can preserve evidence after a truck crash to ensure that no videos, files, documents, or other data is destroyed.
    • Understand the laws. Commercial vehicles are governed by a different set of laws than passenger cars. Your case can involve a number of important variables, including travel on intrastate and interstate highways, federal hours of service requirements, and commercial driving license laws.
    • Know what to expect. Depending on the factors of your case, you may be able to settle your claim without going to court or even before a lawsuit is filed. Once we have examined your claim, we can advise you on your next steps and stay in touch throughout the course of your case.

    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.

  • Can I get in trouble for lying on interrogatories?

    In the initial stages of a lawsuit, attorneys in the case will send interrogatories to the opposing party to get more information on the relevant issues. Interrogatories are simply a series of written questions used to understand the details of the case. However, each party responding to interrogatories must sign a statement to swear that his or her responses are true—and failure to tell the truth can have serious consequences.

    The Dangers of Lying on Interrogatories

    The most damaging thing that can happen if someone lies on interrogatories is that they can be punished by the judge at trial. When the truth is discovered, the judge may impose a fine, assign additional litigation costs, or dismiss the case entirely if it was brought by the party who provided false information. If the party lies repeatedly or has been deliberately dishonest about material facts in the case, the judge may initiate a perjury charge.

    Even if a party escapes punishment for lying on an interrogatory, the untruth can still hurt the party if it is discovered during trial. Any amount of misinformation has the potential to bring the party’s character and actions into question, and attorneys are well-trained to spot any discrepancies or potential falsehoods during depositions.

    The amount of harm a lie can do to a case will depend on the circumstances, such as:

    • Whether the untruth was intentional. People may give a false response by mistake, such as when he or she is tired or simply filled in the wrong line on a form.
    • What the untruth was about. False information about a relatively minor factor in the case may not have as much of an impact as a lie about a crucial point.
    • Whether there were multiple untruths. If an attorney detects one lie, he or she may scrutinize everything you say in an attempt to uncover further dishonesty.
    • How the party reacted when confronted with the untruth. Attorneys will typically ask the same question multiple times, giving the responder several attempts to correct misinformation.

    Even if you know the importance of always telling the truth in your injury case, you cannot control how the opposing party in your case will answer questions on his or her interrogatories. If you suspect that the person you are suing has made false statements, you should share your suspicions with your lawyer so that he or she can investigate the claim and provide evidence of the truth in court.

    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.

  • Should I hire a lawyer back home or in the state where I was injured?

    When you are injured on vacation in Tennessee, you might be tempted to return home before seeking the advice of an attorney. You may be waiting because you are not sure how serious the effects of the injury are, have used a particular an attorney in your home state in the past, or simply want to enjoy what little is left of your trip. However, one of the best things you can do to protect your injury case is see an attorney before leaving the state.

    Jurisdiction Laws Can Affect Your Vacation Accident Claim

    Most courts require injury cases to be filed in the state where the accident occurred. Known as jurisdiction, these laws dictate where the case will be heard and who will have the ability to argue the claim. Each state has its own rules about where the case can be filed—and these laws can also dictate which lawyers can pursue the claim.

    While a lawyer from your home state may be able to represent you, he or she may face complications due to:

    • Licensing. Attorneys are granted the ability to practice law on a state-by-state basis. In most cases, lawyers must pass the bar exam in each state in which he or she wishes to practice. For example, an attorney in Oregon may not have a license to practice in Tennessee. If you retain this attorney, he or she may be granted a limited law license to represent a client in the Tennessee court system for one case only. However, this may require the Oregon attorney to work with an in-house counsel—in other words, a local lawyer who can represent the client’s interests. If you may need to work with a Tennessee injury attorney regardless of whether you have a lawyer at home, meeting with one before you leave the state could strengthen your case.
    • Local laws. Even if your at-home attorney has the ability to represent you in a Tennessee court case, it does not mean that he or she is familiar with local and state laws. State statutes and penalties can vary widely depending on where the accident occurs, and a local attorney has a better chance of knowing which laws apply and what complications are likely to arise in your case.
    • Time constraints. Tennessee has an extremely short statute of limitations to bring an injury claim, and victims need to take action quickly to ensure that their cases will be heard. An out-of-state attorney may not have the same familiarity with Tennessee filing deadlines and state judicial requirements as a local lawyer, running the risk that your case will become invalid.

    Our Tennessee injury attorneys fight tenaciously to get the maximum amount of compensation you need to recover—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.

  • Could I recover damages if I suffered a concussion in an accident?

    A concussion may be considered a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), but it can still cause physical and cognitive disturbances that can last for several days. The loss of normal brain function from a concussion is usually temporary, and should resolve on its own with a few days of healing—but in some cases, patients may suffer complications from the injury that have lifelong effects.

    When Patients and Families May Be Owed Compensation for a Concussion

    People with concussions should be monitored carefully to ensure that the concussion is not masking a more serious brain injury. It is normal for patients to have difficulty recalling information, staying focused on one activity, or coping with vision problems during recovery. However, if a patient has difficulty speaking, slowed reflexes, or poor balance and muscle coordination, he or she could have suffered a complication that requires medical intervention.

    Patients may be able to collect compensation if a concussion was the result of a vehicle accident, slip and fall, or medical malpractice and has resulted in:

    • Prolonged symptoms. A patient may be able to sue for damages if a concussion has made it difficult to live and work normally during recovery. Patients may be unable to earn a living due to severe headaches, vision disturbances, dizziness and nausea, light sensitivity, memory loss, concentration problems, and unpredictable mood swings.
    • Brain swelling. A blow to the head may cause symptoms of a concussion, but microscopic damage to the brain cells could result in the swelling of the brain tissue. If the pressure inside the skull is not relieved, the lack of oxygen to the brain may cause brain cell death or even a stroke.
    • Disability or death. While a single concussion does not usually cause permanent damage, it leaves the brain vulnerable to any further trauma. A patient who suffers a second concussion in the days or weeks after the first one may suffer permanent disability or death.

    As the nature of brain injury recovery can be costly and unpredictable, it is important to seek an attorney's advice to get the best continuing care for your loved one. Our Tennessee brain injury attorneys fight tenaciously to get the maximum amount of compensation you need to recover—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 will it take to settle my car accident case in Tennessee?

    This is a very common question asked by most victims injured in car accidents in Tennessee. Understandably, most people want to collect their compensation and put the crash behind them as soon as possible. However, it is in your best interest to understand what is involved in a car accident case because it often directly relates to the length of time it takes to resolve it.

    Car wreck settlement compensation

    If you are looking to settle your case quickly, the insurance company will make you an offer at the very beginning of your case. They hope you will accept that offer because it will usually be low, and you might not yet be aware of the extent of your injuries. If you do accept the offer, your case can be resolved within weeks; however, you will no longer be able to collect additional money for your injuries at a later time. This is why it is prudent to be patient and not settle too quickly.

    Factors That Affect the Time to Settle Your Case

    The length of time your case may take to be resolved often depends on the following factors:

    • The extent of your injuries. You never want to settle a car accident injury claim until you recover completely or reach a point of maximum medical improvement. This way, you will know the full extent of your injuries and feel confident that you won’t face additional problems or a future surgery. Although your recovery can take six months or more, which adds time to your case, it is in your best interest to wait until you know the cost of your medical bills, lost wages, and the result of your pain and suffering.
       
    • The cooperation of the insurance company. Some insurance companies are more willing to be flexible than others when it comes to negotiating a settlement. Larger insurance providers have a legal team dedicated to reducing the cost of a claim and negotiating with a plaintiff’s attorney. Smaller insurers may have a large volume of outstanding claims, taking longer for each claim to be addressed by an adjuster. Still, other insurers require several layers of internal review and approval by multiple parties before an amount can be disbursed, especially if the claim is over a certain value. 
       
    • The litigation process. If you decide to pursue a car accident injury lawsuit, there are steps you’ll need to take that will affect the length of time it takes to settle it. After the lawsuit gets filed and the other party gets 30 days to answer, the discovery phase of the case begins. This is the fact-finding process that involves interrogatories (RULE 33.01) where each side gets to ask questions in an effort to collect information from each other about the case. Depositions (statements under oath) will then be taken, and witnesses and medical providers will also be deposed. This process can be lengthy and frustrating but needed in order to strengthen your case. Following this process, the court will typically require mediation. If the case isn’t resolved at this point, a trial date will be set.
       
    • The details of the case. There are many factors involved in an individual case that can add to the timeline of the claim. For example, claims involving government entities may take longer than claims between two drivers and their insurance companies. If there are gaps in the documentation of the crash (such as a missing police report or unavailable witness), the case may take longer to settle. Also, an accident involving a commercial trucking company, delivery truck, or other major corporation may require an extensive investigation, adding to the overall timeline of the case.
       
    • The percentage of fault. It may take some time to clearly establish liability in your case. It is important to be patient throughout this process since liability is a major factor in the amount you may receive in your case. Under Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence system, a claimant’s settlement will be reduced by his percentage of fault for the accident—and if a party is more than 51 percent at fault, he will not be entitled to any damages.

    What to Consider Before Settling Your Case

    A settlement is only one way to conclude your case. If you are not satisfied with the amount you are offered, you may decline the settlement and take your case to trial. While there is the potential for a higher settlement by going to trial, there is also more risk involved. If the insurer makes a strong case to the jury, you may be denied any amount at all for your injuries—and even if you are successful at trial, the defendant has the ability to appeal the decision, forcing you to go through the process all over again. For this reason, many victims would rather accept a settlement that will provide for their losses than go to trial.

    A good settlement in your case will provide payment for:

    • Your out-of-pocket costs. A settlement should at least provide for any costs you have incurred as a direct result of the accident. This includes all of your past medical bills, any medical treatment you may need for your injury in the future, and any property damage that was sustained in the crash. You should also have the total amount of your lost wages from the days of work you missed due to the accident, including any benefits (such as bonuses, commissions, and opportunities for advancement).
       
    • Your future. In many accident cases, the victim will never be able to make a full recovery. You may only be able to work part-time or be unable to earn a sustainable living at all. Nerve damage, paralysis, and other permanent injuries can prevent you from engaging in the activities you formerly enjoyed, effectively changing both your life and your lifestyle. An injury can also make some options impossible for you, such as affecting your ability to have children or to care for the children you already have.
       
    • Your pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is not just an amount for physical discomfort, but for the emotional effects of your injuries. Did the circumstances of your accident cause extreme emotional anguish? Are you seeing a therapist or psychologist on an ongoing basis to deal with the trauma of the accident? Did the accident cause facial disfigurement, loss of quality of life, or place a strain on your relationships with family members? Any one of these effects can be considered in a pain and suffering award.

    Most Tennessee personal injury cases are resolved within nine months to a year and a half. While this may seem like a long time, your compensation may be higher after getting through medical treatment and going through all the proper litigation steps to prove your case.

    Would You Like More Information About Car Accident Cases in Tennessee?

    For help learning more about the car accident injury claim process, request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

    Free guide to handling car accidents in Tennessee

  • Which doctor should I go to after a car accident?

    Victims should get medical care as soon as possible after a car accident, whether by visiting the emergency room or seeing their regular doctor in the hours after a crash. However, patients will need someone to provide continuing care related to the crash after this initial treatment—and that often means choosing someone other than a primary care doctor to treat crash injuries.

    Choosing the Right Doctor to Treat Your Car Accident Injuries

    Insurance companies will only provide payment if you have proper medical evidence of your injuries. For this reason, you will need an injury doctor who will thoroughly document the cause, treatment, and long-term effects of your injuries in your medical records. The best choice for your ongoing treatment is someone who has experience treating car accident victims and who specializes in your specific type of injury.

    A specialist can be invaluable to your health and your case by:

    • Documenting what happened to you in the accident. A specialist who has treated car accident victims before can give a medical opinion on how your injuries were sustained in the accident (such as a head striking a steering wheel), making it more difficult for insurers to deny the claim.
    • Addressing any pre-existing conditions. Your specialist can identify whether the accident aggravated a previous injury or condition you had suffered in the past, allowing you to claim an additional amount to treat these conditions.
    • Ordering tests, referrals, and specialized treatments. In addition to performing blood tests and ordering imaging studies (such as MRIs or X-rays), specialists may refer you to physical therapists, occupational therapists, and vocational rehabilitation experts who can fully evaluate you to determine the full range of your suffering and losses.
    • Giving a prognosis on future medical care. Although every accident is different, a specialist who routinely treats crash victims has the ability to predict how these injuries will affect patients later in life. Some common complications that may be noted in your medical record include permanent impairment ratings, an estimation of future medical needs, and your ability to work, perform self-care, and enjoy life.

    If you are struggling to recover payment after a car accident, we can take over the fight on your behalf to get you the compensation you are owed. 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.

  • Is it OK to Post Details of My Car Accident on Social Media?

    Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are popular forums for sharing the details of one’s life with friends, family, and strangers. Consequently, it’s not surprising that social media has become an outlet for frustrations—venting to the public can be a satisfying release. However, some things should never be discussed on a public media forum for the simple reason that anyone could see it.

    Car accidents and collision injuries are two such cases where the less said, the better.

    How Social Media Can Wreck Your Claim

    popular social media platform icons

    Handling a car accident claim can be a scary and confusing experience for anyone. However, to protect yourself and secure a strong argument for an injury claim, you must know what to do after a car wreck and you should avoid doing in the aftermath of the collision.

    It is important to realize that insurance companies will exploit every opportunity they can find to deny or lessen an injury claim—this includes details that you give them via public forums. Therefore, an essential rule to follow is to refrain from posting evidence that can be used against you. In other words, do not post any details of your accident on any form of social media, because the defense attorney and insurance company will:

    • Demand access to your account. A defense attorney has the right to access your public accounts to gather evidence that may pertain to his case.
       
    • Gather evidence. Relevant information can include photos (both of the accident as well as any personal photos of you after the accident), timeline posts, conversations between friends, and location check-ins. 
       
    • Use your posts against you. Any information relating to your accident that you have publicly shared can be used to cast doubt on your claim. If you shared a photo of you dancing at a club, the defense could argue that your injuries are obviously not severe. If you posted a Tweet seconds before the collision, the defense might argue that you may have been at-fault for the accident…and so on.

    To ensure that you don’t sabotage or jeopardize your injury claim, be sure to keep all details of your accident off public forums. Keep in mind that once you have posted something, it’s unethical for an attorney to advise you to delete it as that would constitute destruction of evidence. Therefore, before uploading anything or discussing any aspect of your accident publicly, make sure you speak to an attorney first. He will advise you on what you can and cannot post.

    For more information on pursuing a car accident injury claim, contact our office today at 615-807-7900 or get your our FREE guide for personal injury cases in Tennessee. We are eager to help you build a strong case. Call today to see how we can help.