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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How long do I have to file my Tennessee personal injury accident case?
Every state has its own filing deadlines for specific kinds of cases, known as the statute of limitations. According to Tennessee Law, all personal injury claims (including car accidents, slip and falls, and medical malpractice claims) have a statute of limitations of one year from the date of the initial incident. If victims do not take legal action against a liable party within this time period, the case may be dismissed, and the victims will not be compensated. However, there are a few exceptions.
Exceptions to the One-Year Filing Deadline in a Personal Injury Case
Although the statute of limitations may vary depending on the details of your case, it is always better to speak with an attorney sooner rather than later. A Tennessee personal injury lawyer can examine the circumstances of your accident, begin investigations on your behalf, and gather evidence before it is lost or destroyed. No matter what type of injury you have suffered, it is generally best to get your claim filed as soon as possible.
That said, victims may have a longer period of time to bring a personal injury lawsuit if the claim involves:
- Minors. If a child has been injured, he or she has the right to reach legal adulthood before pursuing an injury case. All children under the age of 18 have until their 19th birthday to file a lawsuit, regardless of their age when the injury occurred.
- Medical malpractice. Some injuries can take months or even years to fully manifest, and victims should not be penalized if their injuries are not immediately apparent. Tennessee’s discovery rule extended the statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases to one year from the date the victim knew (or should have known) that their medical treatment resulted in an injury.
- Criminal charges. If a law enforcement officer or prosecutor filed criminal charges against the negligent person whose conduct directly caused your injury, the statute of limitations for a civil case is extended to two years. For example, if you were in a car accident and the at-fault driver was charged with DUI, you may have two years to bring a personal injury case against the driver. The law also allows the statute of limitations to be extended if the at-fault driver was charged with certain traffic infractions (such as reckless driving or following too closely) in relation to the accident.
- Wrongful death. In cases where the victim is deceased, whether by cause of the initial accident or by injuries sustained from the accident, the one-year statute of limitations may be extended. Since death may not be immediate, family members cannot be expected to file a claim based on the accident date. Therefore, the statute of limitations will either be extended by 120 days or reconfigured to begin on the date of death, rather than the date of the accident.
- Wrongful concealment. Since the defendant in an injury claim can use the statute of limitations deadline as a defense to have the case dismissed, it stands to reason that prolonging the claim is in his best interest. However, if a defendant willfully or maliciously withholds evidence needed to complete a claim, the statute of limitations deadline can be extended to make up for this lost time. In addition, the court may assess penalties against a defendant who engages in intentional misrepresentation or concealment, as well as order the defendant to compensate the claimant for losses incurred as a result of the delays.
- Absentee defendants. The person responsible for the victim’s injuries may reside outside the state of Tennessee for a period of time after the underlying accident, but before the lawsuit can be filed. In these cases, the period of absence may not be counted as part of the one-year filing deadline.
Don’t wait for the time limit to expire before learning your legal options! Simply fill out the short contact form on this page to set up a FREE initial consultation, or download a complimentary copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.
- The Legal Process of a Personal Injury Lawsuit
- Paying Taxes on Personal Injury Settlements in Tennessee
- Do I Have to Go to Court For My Personal Injury Lawsuit?
What kinds of damages could I get if I file a personal injury lawsuit?
Tennessee injury laws allow victims to recover the full amount of any costs paid out of pocket as a result of the injury, known as economic damages. While there is no cap on economic damages in Tennessee, the state does impose some limits on non-economic damages, commonly known as pain and suffering.
Compensation Available in a Tennessee Personal Injury Case
Victims should know that Tennessee injury laws base injury compensation on the amount of fault each party bears for the accident. If an injured person is found to be partially at fault, his or her damages may be reduced by his or her percentage of fault. For this reason, it is vital to speak with an attorney to ensure you are not assigned an unfair share of the blame. Common forms of damages in injury cases include reimbursement for:
- Medical costs. Injured parties are entitled to recoup the full costs of medical bills related to the injury, including hospital stays, surgeries, ongoing medical appointments, physical therapy, assistive devices, nursing care, and prescription medications.
- Lost income. Victims can suffer financially as a result of missing work days, dropping to part-time, or being forced to change careers due to an injury. Compensation should include lost wages, lost bonuses, lost career opportunities (such as promotions and work-related travel) and the loss of future income.
- Pain and suffering. Non-economic damages are awarded to victims who have suffered permanent paralysis, lost quality of life, or other lifelong effects of an injury. Each state is allowed to set its own limits on the amount of non-economic damages available in injury cases. Tennessee caps most non-economic damages in injury cases at $750,000, but that cap can be raised to $1,000,000 if the injuries include amputation of a limb, paralysis from a spinal cord injury, severe burns, or the death of a minor child's parent.
- Wrongful death. Family members who have lost a loved one are able to collect special damages such as funeral and burial costs, as well as an amount to compensate them for the loss of the loved one’s potential future earnings.
If you are struggling after a serious injury, 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.
How can I protect my children from head injuries on a skateboard or scooter?
Children are at high risk of long-term brain damage for many reasons, but the use of wheeled vehicles is one factor that is currently on the rise. According to Safe Kids USA, bicycling, skateboarding, and roller skating account for almost half of all sports-related head injuries in children. If parents know when and why these accidents are likely to occur, they are much better prepared to protect their children from head trauma during recreational activities.
Reducing the Risk of Brain Injuries in Children
Research from the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) shows that one out of every three skateboarding injuries occurs in beginners—and falling just two feet can result in skull fractures, concussion, and traumatic brain injury. Additional factors include:
- Night riding. Riding at night makes it more difficult to both see and be seen, making it more likely that a rider will be hit by a car, strike uneven pavement, or skid on slippery surfaces.
- Increased transportation. Children who live in urban areas are increasingly using scooters and skateboards as their primary mode of transportation. The risk of injury increases with every ride, especially if the child rides in the road.
- Extreme stunts. Professional skateboarders performing extreme stunts often inspire young people to take up the sport. Unfortunately, skateboarding tricks take years to perfect, and amateur boarders and bladers will fall from railings and stairwells many times during practice.
- Lack of protection. Just as children should always wear helmets when riding bikes, they should wear chin guards and a helmet that covers the front and back of the head when engaging in non-motorized transport. City ordinances requiring all skateboarders, in-line skaters, and bikers to wear a helmet, such as the one passed in Knoxville in 2008, can help reduce the risk of damage to developing brains.
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 do I choose an attorney if I was in an accident with a tanker truck?
Thousands of commercial truck accidents occur each year in the United States, but few are as deadly as those involving tanker trucks. Trucks carrying fuel, toxic chemicals, and other flammable materials are particularly dangerous for occupants of surrounding vehicles. In addition to the increased size and weight of these vehicles, a spillage or explosion of the cargo can cause victims to suffer burns, scarring, lung damage, disfigurement, or even wrongful death.
Parties Who May Be Responsible for Injury Costs in a Tanker Truck Crash
There are various types of tanker trucks, each one with the ability to cause severe injuries in an accident. Unfortunately, many trucking companies will work to destroy evidence of wrongdoing after a crash, denying victims the chance to collect proper compensation for their pain and suffering. You should hire a truck wreck attorney who will work with local police, Tennessee Highway Patrol officials, or even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to get to the root cause of your collision with a tanker truck.
An investigation into your collision could determine liability on the part of:
- Commercial truck drivers. Any truck driver who transports hazardous materials must have a hazmat endorsement on his or her commercial driver’s license (CDL). This endorsement is only issued after the driver passes a Hazardous Materials Endorsement Knowledge Test, vision screening, and a Transportation Security Administration criminal background check. Even if properly licensed, the driver may still be found guilty of negligence if he or she was speeding, driving recklessly, or did not get enough rest between shifts.
- Trucking carriers. Both state and federal laws set forth codes of conduct for commercial trucking carries. Owners of these companies must follow the rules created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the State of Tennessee, including keeping accurate records of their drivers, conducting extensive background checks on employees, and training drivers on how to properly operate the truck.
- Maintenance providers. Roadway spills and explosions are often caused by a failure to maintain the tank, trailer, or cab properly. A truck crash attorney can examine repair records to determine if your injury resulted from a maintenance issue, and can also take steps to prevent potential spoliation of evidence.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a tanker truck accident, please 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.
Who can I sue if my car roof collapsed in a rollover accident?
A 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?
Pilot 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?
One 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?
The 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?
About 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?
It 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.