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 type of compensation is available for wrongful death claims in Tennessee?

    Headstone with flowers on itWhen a loved one suffers a fatal injury due to the negligence of another, it has a profound impact on your entire family. In addition to grief and loss, you may be burdened with the financial responsibilities of the deceased. In Tennessee, if a death is caused by an intentional, reckless, or negligent act, you may be eligible to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim.

    A wrongful death claim requires proof that the deceased’s fatal injuries were directly caused by the negligence of another. When fault is established, the next of kin can pursue a suit to collect damages on behalf of the deceased.  

    Wrongful Death Compensation Options to Pursue

    Tennessee allows next of kin to pursue wrongful death claims on behalf of their deceased loved ones. When pursuing such a claim, you can request compensation for the following:

    • Medical expenses. You can claim compensation for any medical expenses accrued between the time of the accident and the resulting death. However, you must be able to prove that the accident directly caused the fatal injuries.
    • Lost wages. You can claim compensation on behalf of the deceased for any lost wages the deceased was unable to collect between the time of the injury and his death. If an accident prevented your loved one from returning to work, whether he was hospitalized, bedridden, or disabled as a result of the accident, the liable party can be held responsible for the wages he was unable to earn.
    • Funeral bills. You can claim compensation for the cost of the funeral and burial. Funerals can easily cost thousands of dollars, and without compensation, you may have to dip into valuable savings accounts.
    • Potential earnings. You can claim compensation based on the deceased’s earning potential. In other words, if your loved one had not been killed in an accident, his life expectancy would have been somewhere around 75 years. In that time, he would have had the potential to make money and contribute to your family’s finances. Since the opportunity to contribute was taken from him, you have the opportunity to take it back by pursuing compensation from the liable party.
    • Loss of consortium. You can claim compensation based on the loss a fatal accident causes you and your family. Although difficult to put a price on, factors that are considered for compensation value include loss of love, companionship, social interactions, and relationships. For example, if a wife and mother is killed in a car crash, the father could pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver. In addition to medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost wages, this claim can also include damages for the personal loss of his wife as well as the children’s loss of their mother. In essence, the at-fault driver will be held accountable for robbing the husband of his relationship with his wife, and robbing the children of their mother. Again, putting a price tag on this can be difficult, but with the help of an experienced attorney, you’ll have the chance to recover at least some financial comfort.

    Pursuing Your Claim to Begin Recovering From Your Grief

    For more information about pursuing a wrongful death claim, feel free to browse our site and learn how our vast experience and knowledge can help you get the settlement you deserve. Need a more one-on-one approach? Contact our office directly at 877-959-8847 to speak with attorney John L. Griffith about how to begin your claim. The loss of a loved one is never easy, especially when financial hardships begin to stack up. Let us be the helping hand you need to overcome your grief and secure your financial future. Call now!

  • How long do I have to file my personal injury accident case?

    The clock is ticking graphicA statute of limitations is a designated period of time that someone has to take legal action against a liable party. Every state has its own filing deadlines for specific kinds of cases. It is important that you know how long you have to file a personal injury claim in Tennessee following a car accident. According to Tennessee Code § 28-3-104, personal tort actions (including injury claims) have a statute of limitations of one year from the date of the initial incident.

    There Are Exceptions

    Exceptions to the one-year statute of limitations can be made based on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of the injuries, as follows:

    • Instances of disability. If the accident in question results in permanent disability or mental incompetence of the claimant, whereupon the victim cannot make legal decisions based on his injuries, next of kin can file a claim on his behalf. However, since determining competency and surrogate rights can take time, Tennessee courts will consider the delay and potentially extend the statute of limitation by 120 days.
    • 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, in these situations, the statute of limitations will either be extended by 120 days, or reconfigured to begin not on the date of the accident, but rather on the date of death.
    • Instances of 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, he’ll be subject to penalties. Therefore, in addition to penalties, the court may also extend the statute of limitations deadline to compensate the claimant for time lost as a result of the defendant’s actions. 

    File Early for a Strong Claim

    Need more information and advice regarding your injury claim? Contact us today for a FREE consultation about whether you're entitled to damages or compensation for your injuries. We can help you build a strong claim. Remember, time is not on your side.

    Share this article via Facebook, Twitter, or email to provide them with the information they need to secure their claim. For additional resources, download your complimentary copy of John Griffith’s free personal injury case guide, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • What steps should I take to protect myself while driving when I am pregnant?

    Pregnant woman behind the wheel of a car looking worriedYou have a lot of things to worry about when you are pregnant, including the risk of being injured in a car accident. Learn more about how to keep yourself safe, what harm can be done in a car crash, and what legal options you have following a crash here.

    Staying Safe Behind the Wheel When You Are Pregnant

    Many health care providers overlook the importance of proper vehicle positioning during pregnancy. However, hundreds of expectant mothers suffer miscarriages as a result of improper belt and steering wheel placements putting too much stress on the baby. To protect yourself and your unborn child, make sure that you know how to safely position yourself and your restraints when driving and riding in a vehicle. The following are suggested belt and seat positions for pregnant women:

    • Never ride in a moving vehicle without a full lap and shoulder belt.
    • Sit as far away from the steering wheel as possible, while still being able to safely reach the pedals.
    • Wear the belt as tightly as possible while remaining comfortable.
    • Position the belt so that the diagonal strap rests on the shoulder (not neck) and lies between the breasts, but over the breastbone. The lap belt should rest on the thighs, above the pelvis, but beneath the abdomen. In no circumstances should the strap rest on or cross the stomach.

    Seek Care After A Car Accident While Pregnant

    A car accident, whether minor or severe, can result in serious pregnancy complications. In addition to external injuries, the trauma of a collision can cause after-effects which can include increased risks for:

    • Premature labor
    • Internal bleeding
    • Birth defects
    • Growth retardation (slowed growth rate)
    • Elevated stress levels and blood pressure
    • Pre-eclampsia
    • Placental damage

    Considering the risks involved, your number-one priority following a car collision should be the protection of your baby. It doesn’t matter if the collision was just a fender bender, if you or your baby suffered the jolting effects of a collision, you need to verify that everything is normal with your pregnancy.

    When you’re examined after a car accident, you should expect your physician to order tests, ultrasounds, and electronic fetal monitoring to check the position and health of the baby. Once the exams and tests are finished, your doctor may suggest bed rest for the remainder of your pregnancy to prevent any further trauma.

    Legal Options

    After seeking medical attention, you can begin to tackle the legal side of liability and damage compensation. A personal injury claim can not only help pay for medical bills and property damage but, depending on the circumstances, may also cover pain and emotional suffering that resulted from the trauma.

    For a more thorough discussion on your options for injury recovery following a collision, contact us directly at 877-959-8847. We’ll be happy to discuss your case in more personal detail and recommend the best options for pursuing a claim.

    Did this information answer your questions? Connect with us on Facebook and let us know. While you wait to schedule your review, feel free to download and read our FREE report, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case for more insights into how to handle your claim.

  • I was injured as a passenger in a car accident. What are my rights to a recovery?

    Three women passengers in the back seat of a carThe more passengers there are in a car, the higher the risk for collision injuries. In fact, the driver’s natural instinct for self-preservation often places passengers in harm’s way. To avoid a collision, a driver will instinctively turn the steering wheel away from the oncoming obstacle and inadvertently move the passengers directly into the obstacle’s path.

    According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over 20,000 passengers were killed as a result of car accident injuries, while driver fatalities numbered 15,000. Despite this discrepancy, accident injury information tends to be geared towards drivers, not passengers. In this article, we will help you understand your rights and options for injury claims as a passenger hurt in a car accident.

    Determining Fault

    To pursue a successful injury claim for any accident, the two fundamentals you need to prove are fault and injury severity. Tennessee law does not usually recognize passenger liability in car accidents (unless the passenger purposefully grabbed the wheel). Therefore, there is no need to prove your innocence. However, although you’re clearly not responsible, the insurance company will demand verification as to which party was at fault. In these types of situations, as a passenger, you have several possible avenues through which to seek compensation. These include:

    • Your driver. The driver of the vehicle in which you were the passenger could be held liable by all parties (other driver and other passengers) if his negligence led to the collision. Although you may not want to accuse a friend or loved one of causing your injuries, a claim against him may be your only option for recovery.
    • The other driver. If the driver of the vehicle that crashed into you is determined to be at fault, you are eligible to file a claim against him and his insurance company for damages.
    • Third party negligence. In a case where an outside factor (Construction, road damage) caused or contributed to the collision, you may be able to pursue a claim against a third party. For example, if a company did not install appropriate flashing lights, orange barrels, or other warning signs to indicate a hazard, the road construction company may be considered liable for your resulting injuries.
    • Personal insurance. By default, Tennessee auto insurance policies include coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists. Therefore, if the liable party does not have the insurance to cover his negligent responsibilities, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance to cover medical expenses and lost wages due to your injuries.
    • All of the above. Tennessee is a fault state; meaning that those responsible for your injuries are liable for your damages. It also means that liability can be divided among multiple parties, each party being responsible for the percentage of the damages for which he was found liable.

    Filing the Claim

    When pursuing a car accident injury claim, whether you were the driver, passenger, or pedestrian, as a victim, you’ll need help filing your claim, understanding your rights, and convincing the insurance company that your injuries require a fair settlement. At GriffithLaw, we’re here to give you the guidance and support you need to pursue a successful personal injury claim. Call 615-807-7900 to schedule your FREE consultation today!

    Need more information about traffic accident claims? Feel free to browse our site to see how our experience and knowledge can help you get the settlement you deserve.

  • What should I do if I am a victim of a hit-and-run accident while riding my bicycle?

    Bicycling should be a relaxing, healthy, and above all safe activity that you and your family can enjoy together. Unfortunately, safety takes a back seat when bicycling near traffic. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2% of traffic accidents are bicycle-related, accounting for 743 bicyclist deaths and 48,000 injuries.

    Sadly, some of these types of accidents are made even more painful when the perpetrator fails to acknowledge the accident and leaves the victim alone, in pain, and with nowhere to turn.

    What to Do After a Hit and Run

    Girl and bicycle in street after being hit by a carAs a bicycle victim of a hit and run, you can and must take certain steps to secure your recovery and legal options. Even though the person responsible for your injuries may not be identifiable, you can still receive compensation as long as you follow the correct procedures. To secure your claim following a bicycle accident injury, make sure you:

    • Report the accident immediately to the police. You need to begin a paper trail and record of the incident as soon as possible to show your insurance company. This record will show the time of the incident, why the guilty party’s insurance isn’t involved, and the general facts of the accident. Furthermore, if possible, you can tell the officer about the make of the car that hit you as well as any distinguishing features to help the police track the driver down.
    • Obtain witness statements. If possible, take down witness statements and information (name, address, and telephone number) of anyone who may have seen the accident or may be able to identify the driver. This information can be critical evidence for your claim as well as prosecution for the hit and run driver.
    • Seek medical attention. Depending on the severity of your injuries, getting appropriate treatment should be your number one priority. If your injuries are severe or life-threatening, do not wait to give a police report or waste time getting witness statements. Your immediate welfare is more important than a potential claim.
    • Call your personal injury attorney. A hit and run case can be extremely tough to prove when the police fail to identify the driver. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you build a strong claim, gather important evidence and documentation, and illustrate the point that your injuries were not your fault. Since you’re a victim of someone else’s negligence and criminal acts, he can argue that you shouldn’t be held personally responsible for the financial consequences of that person’s actions. Furthermore, an attorney knows the intricacies of insurance coverage and how uninsured motorist coverage may be able to cover the expenses caused by the hit and run driver.
    • Call your auto and health insurance companies. Your own uninsured motorist coverage may help cover your expenses for injuries and property damage even though you were not driving. However, since the coverage terminology is up to interpretation, you’ll need an experienced attorney to argue your case.

    Contact attorney John Griffith today for a FREE consultation and allow him to explain your coverage rights and claim options. Call us today at 877-959-8847 to get the support and guidance you need.

  • What should I do if I have been bitten by a dog in Tennessee?

    Ferocious dog showing teethAccording to the American Humane Association, every year an estimated 4.7 million people are injured as a result of dog bites, some of these cases even prove to be fatal. In response to this alarming number of preventable injuries, the Tennessee legislature has begun to rethink their dog bite laws. In fact, in 2007, after a multi-dog attack fatally wounded a 60-year-old woman, the legislature decided that laws needed a complete revision and passed an updated set of dog bite laws—revised again in 2015—that discounts the “first bite rule” in favor of circumstantial liability.

    What Does This Mean for You?

    The assumption under a "first bite rule" is that a dog owner cannot be held liable the first time the dog bites someone because there is no prior knowledge of the dog's aggressiveness. However, most states have rejected this rule and will hold dog owner's accountable for a dog's first attack. The revised law means that when you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a dog bite:

    • You may be entitled to compensation whether or not it was the first time that dog showed aggression.
    • You have one year to file an injury claim.
    • You will have to be careful about how you respond to the attack in order to secure a strong injury claim against the dog’s owner.

    Get a Free Evaluation of Your Case Now!

    Caring for the Bite While Securing Your Claim

    When you’re unable to subdue an aggressive dog and wind up suffering severe bite injuries, you’re entitled to injury compensation from his owner. However, there are several actions you must take after the incident to not only avoid further injury but to also protect your claim. These actions include:

    • Withdrawing to a safe place. The first thing you must do is increase your distance from the aggressive dog to prevent further attack and injury.
    • Treating the wound. When a bite breaks the skin and causes excessive bleeding, you should keep the area elevated to limit blood loss. If possible, wash the wound with tap water to remove debris and saliva.
    • Securing emergency care. Depending on the severity of the bite, you may need to call an ambulance as professional help may be required to treat your injuries.
    • Identifying the dog. Before leaving the scene of the attack, try to identify the dog, where he came from, who he belongs to, and where he lives.
    • Gathering personal information from the owner. Record the owner’s name, address, and phone number. Ask the owner for the dog’s license information and question him about any prior incidents in which the dog may have been involved.
    • Seeking medical care. Always seek medical care after a dog bite. Since bites tend to break the skin, the attacking dog’s saliva can easily make its way into your bloodstream and cause infections.
    • Photographing injuries. If possible, document your injuries and any damage by taking pictures of the wounds, where they took place, and any other results of the attack. These photographs can be used as evidence in your case and help illustrate the extent of the attack.
    • Filing a report. Once you’ve been treated, file a report of the incident with your city or county animal control or sheriff’s department. This report can be used as evidence in your claim as well as provides documentation of the dog’s aggression.
    • Contact an attorney. The best way to guarantee that your claim is just as vigorous as the dog who attacked you is to secure a respectable dog injury lawyer.

    Considering the complexities and restrictions of Tennessee dog bite laws, a local and well-respected lawyer can help you understand and fight for your rights. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, contact GriffithLaw today at 877-959-8847 to see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

  • Can I recover compensation if I am partially at fault for an accident?

    When it comes to car accidents, states handle liability differently. Some states have “no-fault” policies. If you’re involved in a collision in a no-fault state, your personal automotive insurance should cover the resulting damages, both physical injuries and property damage. Other states, Tennessee included, are “fault states.” Fault states rely on the liable party’s insurance to pay for damages sustained to all parties.

    These laws are pretty straightforward when the liability of a collision is obvious. However, the problem arises when partial fault comes into play. Who’s responsible for damages if both parties contributed to the accident?

    Sharing Blame and Sharing Liability

    Two people arguing over car accident

    State law determines who pays for what when a collision is proven to have been caused by multiple parties. These laws include comparative negligence, modified comparative negligence, and contributory negligence. Tennessee follows the modified comparative negligence system. 

    The modified comparative negligence system allows a person to be up to 50 percent liable and still receive partial damages from the other party. However, further stipulations include:

    • If the claimant is found to be 51 percent or more responsible, he isn’t entitled to recover any damages.
    • The awarded settlement will be calculated based on the final declaration of fault percentage. For example, if the awarded settlement is $10,000, but it was determined that you were 40 percent at-fault, your settlement will be reduced by 40 percent. Therefore, rather than receiving the full $10,000, you’ll be awarded $6,000 in damages.

    Under this system, then, you can recover damages even if you contributed in some way to the accident, but only if you are assigned less than half of the blame for the crash. Deciding upon the percentage of blame becomes a key factor in a car accident case. You will need to gather evidence to prove that you were less than 50 percent at fault. An experienced car accident attorney can assist you in this process.

    Get a Free Evaluation of Your Case Now!

    Does this information answer your questions? Connect with us on Facebook and let us know. For a more thorough discussion on your options for injury recovery following a collision, contact us directly at 877-959-8847. We’ll be happy to discuss your case in more personal detail and recommend the best options for pursuing a claim.

  • Which insurance company should pay my medical bills in my car wreck case?

    Insurance Claim Form Surrounded by Medical Bills

    When you're hurt in a car wreck, you probably expect the insurance company to pay your medical bills afterward However, victims of accidents in Tennessee may have several insurance options to cover the costs of their injuries. While this is helpful, it can be an extremely confusing process to sort through if you’ve never been in an accident before. If you aren’t sure which insurance company might be responsible for paying the costs of your care, here are some things that you need to know.  

    Types of Insurance That Might Pay Your Medical Bills After an Accident

    In Tennessee, there are three main types of insurance that might be involved in the payment of your medical bills. Each of these options has its own set of pros and cons, and making the best decision is all about looking at the unique details of your situation and finding the best fit for your needs:

    • Your health insurance. Your health insurance should pay for your immediate care, and the benefit is that it will generally pay you as expenses are incurred. This often means that you can avoid putting your credit in danger for financing expenses, or worrying about how to get the care you need. Some facilities may tell you they can’t receive payments from your health insurance for injuries related to an accident, but this isn't a law in Tennessee. If you need treatment for your injuries, you can—and should—push your insurance company on the issue, especially for any hospital or emergency care you received.
       
    • The medical coverage on your car insurance. The medical coverage on your car insurance may pay some of the costs of your injury. However, there are usually limits on your medical coverage. You should also be aware that you have to pay back that money when you settle with the at-fault driver's insurance company, so it’s really more like a loan until the settlement is complete.
       
    • The liability insurance held by the other driver. When another driver’s negligence caused your accident, that driver’s liability insurance should cover your medical costs. Be aware, though, that liability insurance only makes payments at the end of case. Although it’s possible to receive payments intermittently, it's extremely difficult to get them to pay your bills as they are incurred. You also need to beware of low settlement offers that don’t fairly compensate you for your losses.

    Many victims of car accidents struggle to understand their rights, take appropriate action, and get the compensation they deserve for their injuries and suffering. When multiple insurance companies are involved, or when there's a dispute about which one will pay your claim, it can seem almost impossible to get the simple answers you need.

    We Can Help

    Do you need help determining who is responsible for paying your medical bills after a wreck? The attorneys at GriffithLaw have decades of combined experience helping victims and families in Nashville get the legal support and compensation they need after they’ve been hurt, and we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. To get started, reach out to us at 877-959-8847 or request a copy of our free and informative book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

     

  • What Should I Expect in a Jury Trial?

    Empty jury box in a courtroomIf you’ve been in a car accident and are considering working with a personal injury attorney, you may be wondering how a jury trial works and what to expect. In Tennessee, a personal injury jury trial consists of five basic phases, each of which has a key role in achieving a favorable outcome for victims of driver negligence. We discuss each phase of a jury trial here.

    Voir Dire or Jury Selection

    During this initial phase in a personal injury dispute, each party participates in selecting an objective jury to ensure a fair trial for both the plaintiff and the defendant. Attorneys ask questions of each potential juror in an attempt to identify biases that may affect the outcome of the case. Each attorney is able to dismiss a certain number of jurors.

    Opening Statements

    During the opening statements in a jury trial, each party is invited to present factual information to support their later arguments. This allows each party to present the case and provide the jury with context for the discussion to follow.

    Plaintiff’s Proof

    In the plaintiff’s proof phase, key witnesses and subject-matter experts are introduced to provide proof that the defendant’s actions leading up to the accident were negligent. Expert witnesses could include:

    • Experts on the defendant’s negligence
    • Medical experts to clarify the severity and scope of injuries as well as personal, medical, and financial ramifications

    The plaintiff and supporting witnesses may also choose to testify to major changes in the victim’s life following, and because of, the accident. They may also provide information supporting the claim that the defendant acted with negligence. Witnesses may include:

    • Friends
    • Family members
    • Neighbors
    • Coworkers
    • Employers
    • Eye witnesses

    Defense Proof

    In this phase, the defense has the chance to dispute the plaintiff’s argument of negligence, as well as any claims for losses or harms to the plaintiff. The defense may similarly use the testimonies of witnesses and experts to support an argument.

    Closing Arguments

    During the closing arguments in a personal injury trial, both parties are invited to argue their sides one last time. With an understanding of relevant laws, the jury is then allowed to deliberate over the facts of the case. Tennessee law requires a unanimous jury agreement to deliver a judgement.

    Much preparation is needed to successfully navigate the process of taking a personal injury case to trial. For assistance with your case, contact GriffithLaw today.

  • 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 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.