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 are the dangers of a brain bleed caused by a head injury?

    woman with head injury after car accidentBleeding 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?

    time is running out clock 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?

    wrongful death clipboard and stethoscopeIf 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?

    aggressive dog baring teethIf 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.

  • Could a traumatic brain injury have long-lasting effects?

    man with headache holding head in handsWhen a person suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the brain immediately takes action to repair the damage how ever it can. Some patients will lose consciousness, while others will experience memory lapses or headaches as the brain undergoes the healing process. While many of these symptoms will resolve with time, some patients will be forced to cope with brain injury complications long after the initial accident.

    Conditions More Likely to Occur in Patients With Traumatic Brain Injuries

    Brain injury complications can have a profound effect on your life. They can interfere with every aspect of your daily life, preventing you from earning a living, maintaining personal relationships, and doing the things you used to enjoy.

    Complications that might be more likely after a brain injury include:

    • Vision disturbances. Even if the eyes were not directly damaged in the accident, the patient could suffer vision problems due to the brain’s inability to “read” information taken in by the eyes. TBI patients may suffer eye complications years after the initial injury, including blurry vision, double vision, or problems getting their eyes to focus.
    • Seizures. Patients with TBI are at high risk of developing seizures in later life, and a few may develop sustained seizure disorders (such as post-traumatic epilepsy).
    • Spasticity. Severe brain injuries can cause a painful tightening of certain muscles in the body, such as a contracture of the arm that forced a victim's hand up to the shoulder. Spasticity not only often prevents the use of the affected body part, but it also makes certain tasks administered by a caregiver (such as dressing or bathing) more difficult.
    • Depression or anxiety. The trauma and emotional upheaval of a brain injury can lead to increased depression, anxiety, and mental suffering. Some patients may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that can require cognitive behavioral therapy.

    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 my Tennessee personal injury accident case?

     

    The clock is ticking graphic

    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.

  • What kinds of damages could I get if I file a personal injury lawsuit?

    personal injury compensation graphicTennessee 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?

    child riding scooter down park pathChildren 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.

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  • How do I choose an attorney if I was in an accident with a tanker truck?

    tanker truck driving down the roadThousands 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?

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

    An Automaker May Be Liable for a Roof Crush Injury

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

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

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

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