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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  • Is there any way to protect children from dog bite injuries?

    woman teasing aggressive dog held by ownerHundreds of thousands of children are sent to emergency rooms every year as a result of dog-related injuries, making dog attacks the second-most common cause of child ER visits. While children will always be more likely to suffer dog bites than adults, there are many actions dog owners and parents can take to reduce the risk of bite injuries.

    Steps Owners Can Take to Prevent Dog Attacks

    Under Tennessee dog bite laws, a dog owner has a duty to keep a dog under reasonable control to prevent injuries to the public. If an owner violates these duties and the dog attacks, the owner may be liable for the costs of medical bills, reconstructive surgeries, trauma counseling, and other damages suffered by a child and his family.

    Dog owners can avoid being sued by doing everything they can to minimize accidents, including:

    • Supervision. More than half of dog bite injuries occur in homes with animals that are familiar to the child. Owners should never let small children play with a dog unsupervised, even if the dog has never acted aggressively before.
    • Training. Dogs should have a minimal level of training, such as responding to commands like “stop,” “leave it,” or a simple “no.” Dogs should never be trained or encouraged to fight or bite.
    • Restraint. Dogs should be confined to their own yards by secure fences or tie-outs, and should always be on leashes while in public.

    How Parents Can Protect Children From Dog Bite Injuries

    A playful child may yell at, run to, or grab for a dog, causing the animal to panic and bite on instinct. Teaching children how to interact with dogs can go a long way toward preventing injury, especially if the child knows:

    • Don’t provoke them. Even a restrained dog can be dangerous, and taunting or tormenting a dog can cause a violent reaction.
    • Always ask before petting. Some dogs react well to contact with strangers, while others (such as rescues or service dogs) are best left alone. Make sure your child knows to ask permission before petting someone else’s dog, and to allow the dog to sniff them first.
    • Beware of puppies. Dogs have an instinct to protect their young. A dog who is caring for puppies may be more aggressive than others.
    • Don’t sneak up on them. Dogs don’t like surprises, and may bite out of fear if they are suddenly disturbed while sleeping or eating.
    • Avoid unleashed dogs. If you see an unfamiliar dog roaming freely with no sign of an owner, let an adult know immediately.
    • Don’t run! If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, don’t try to run away—the dog may see you as prey. Instead, stand completely still and say “No” in a loud voice. If the dog stops approaching, take a few steps backward with your eyes on the dog, gradually increasing the distance between you.
    • Curl up. If a dog attacks or knocks you over, curl into a ball with your head tucked in with your hands covering your ears and neck.

    If your child was harmed in a dog bite incident, you should speak with an attorney immediately to protect your child’s future. Our dog bite injury lawyers can advise you on your next steps at no cost to you, and we do not collect any payment from you until we secure a recovery. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page to set up a free initial consultation.

  • Do I need an attorney to negotiate an insurance settlement after an injury?

    While you can legally accept an insurance payout without the help of a lawyer, it is only recommended for those who have minor injuries and losses or who have past experience handling their own legal matters. Negotiating with an insurance company can be a grueling process spanning several months, after which the company may offer a low settlement that you do not want to accept—and you may still need to hire an attorney in order to file a personal injury lawsuit in court.

    How to Send a Demand Letter to an Insurance Company

    If you choose to negotiate with an insurer yourself, you will have to estimate the full costs of your injury claim and send a demand letter for that amount to the insurance company. The demand letter will need to outline why the insurance carrier is liable for the injuries, the extent of your injuries, the medical treatment you received, and the financial losses linked to the accident for which you are seeking payment.

    It is worth noting that insurance agents are extremely skilled at reducing both liability and payments to policyholders, while victims may not have much experience in these matters. Without an attorney on your side, you may not get the full amount you need for your:

    • Medical bills. Your settlement should, at the very least, cover any medical expenses you have incurred as a result of your injury. It is vital to keep complete and accurate records of your medical treatment in order to provide the total amount charged by each in your demand letter.
    • Lost earnings. Lost earnings include the total amount of income you have lost since the day of the injury, but also the income you will be unable to earn in the future as a result of any disability. For example, if your injury has forced you to work part-time instead of full-time, an insurer may be responsible for making up the difference in your income for the remainder of your work life expectancy (until your date of retirement).
    • Pain and suffering. If you have experienced extreme hardship during your recovery or suffered long-term or permanent injury, you will have to show evidence of the negative effects of your injuries in order to get payment for your pain and suffering.

    Our personal injury lawyers can review your settlement offer, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, and file a lawsuit if an insurer refuses to cover your injury costs—and we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page to set up a free initial consultation, or learn more in our free book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • Is it true that I can accept a truck accident settlement without a lawyer?

    One of the biggest myths about truck crash cases is that it is always better to settle your claim yourself than to hire an attorney. While injury victims can legally accept an insurance settlement without a lawyer, it is rarely the best course of action. If you represent yourself, you will have to negotiate with an insurance agent who has years of experience undervaluing claims, wait through any delays in the claim, provide additional information to the insurer—and in the end, you may still not get enough to cover the full costs of the crash.

    When Consulting an Attorney May Be Wiser Than Accepting a Settlement

    If you have minor injuries and little or no property damage, you may be able to convince an insurance company to cover your expenses. However, you should not take a settlement offer from an insurer without first speaking to an attorney if any of the following apply to you:

    • There may be more than one person at fault. Truck accident cases can involve the potential liability of the trucker, the driver of the car, the trucking carrier, the loading company, an auto parts manufacturer, and others. If multiple parties share blame for the accident, an attorney can determine who may be responsible for your losses and protect your rights to file a lawsuit.
    • You have suffered significant financial losses. Most people struggle to pay unforeseen costs, and insurance adjusters take advantage of this by offering a low settlement that can be paid in a matter of days. Unfortunately, this often leaves victims with far less than they deserve for their injuries. 
    • You have sustained serious injuries that may affect your future. If your injuries have resulted in disability, inability to work, and ongoing medical treatment, an attorney can place a value on the amount of damages you could be owed to compensate you for the rest of your life.

    Unfortunately, once you accept a settlement, you give up the right to ask for more money later. With so much at stake, an attorney’s advice in these matters can be invaluable. Our injury lawyers serve truck accident clients on a contingent fee basis, meaning we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To set up a free initial consultation, simply fill out the short contact form on this page. For more information, you can also request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • What is a closed head injury?

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

    Complications of a Closed Head Injury

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

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

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

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

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

    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.