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

    two people in suits shaking handsWhile 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.

  • What risks do older people face after a brain injury?

    doctor showing older woman MRI brain scansOlder 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?

    billing statement pen and checkbookUnder 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.

  • Can I get in trouble for lying on interrogatories?

    lie detector printout with the word lies in red inkIn 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?

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

    Jurisdiction Laws Can Affect Your Vacation Accident Claim

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

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

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

    Our Tennessee injury attorneys fight tenaciously to get the maximum amount of compensation you need to recover—and we do not collect anything from you until after your case is won. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page or request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

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

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

    When Patients and Families May Be Owed Compensation for a Concussion

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

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

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

    As the nature of brain injury recovery can be costly and unpredictable, it is important to seek an attorney's advice to get the best continuing care for your loved one. Our Tennessee brain injury attorneys fight tenaciously to get the maximum amount of compensation you need to recover—and we do not collect anything from you until after your case is won. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page or request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • Will my settlement cover the costs of a permanent brain injury?

    pile of 100 dollar billsLawsuits involving traumatic brain injuries are often complicated because no two brain injuries are the same. Even after a victim’s condition has stabilized, the long-term conditions he or she may suffer can vary widely, and doctors may not be able to predict when (or if) these effects will improve. For this reason, it is vital that victims consult with a brain injury attorney to calculate their potential future expenses and costs of care before accepting a settlement.

    Estimating the Long-Term Costs of a Brain Injury

    The losses suffered by brain injury victims go far beyond the costs of medical care. Although patients typically require ongoing doctor’s appointments, rehabilitation, and therapy, they also lose control over their lives and are forced to forgo opportunities available to others. All of these losses should be considered carefully when negotiating compensation during a personal injury lawsuit.

    Brain injury victims should receive enough compensation to pay for the full range of losses their injury has caused, including:

    • Partial disability. Physical disabilities after a brain injury can range from vision and hearing problems to an inability to use the arms or legs. Many people are unable to earn a living after a head injury, and those who can work may not be able to return to the same job or type of work they did before the injury. Physical disabilities can also prevent victims from participating in activities they once enjoyed, such as traveling, exercising, or playing sports.
    • Cognitive impairment. Brain injuries can cause memory impairment, difficulty concentrating, sudden confusion, slowed cognitive responses, or attention deficits that affect earning capacity as well as the ability to engage in pastimes or hobbies.
    • Behavioral and emotional changes. Brain injuries can cause changes in a person’s behavior, while emotional suffering may result from the trauma of coping with life changes caused by the injury. Victims may experience mood swings, fatigue, sudden bursts of anger, or lost impulse control, which can significantly affect their relationships and quality of life.
    • Inability to perform self-care. A severe brain injury may require in-home nursing care, breathing assistance, or hospice care, further impacting the resources of the victim’s family.

    Severe brain injuries can affect every aspect of a victim’s life, and it will take experience and tenacity to ensure that victims are adequately compensated for their pain and suffering. Our Tennessee injury attorneys fight to get you 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.

  • What should I do if I was hurt on vacation in Tennessee?

    If you are injured in a car accident, slip and fall, or other injury while on vacation in Tennessee, your reaction may be to cut your trip short and return home as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the first 24 hours after an accident are the most vital to your injury claim, and failing to perform certain actions can come back to haunt you when seeking compensation.

    What to Do If You Are Injured on a Trip to Tennessee

    Whether you came to see a show at the Grand Ole Opry, hike the Smoky Mountains, or just needed a weekend getaway from winter weather, it is vital that you take steps to protect your injury claim before you get on a plane. If you are hurt on vacation, it is important that you do the following before returning home:

    • woman receiving emergency medical care after car accidentSeek medical treatment. It can be embarrassing to suffer an accident, and it is understandable that victims would want to wave away emergency responders in order to avoid unwanted attention. However, undergoing a medical examination is the most important thing you can do for both your health and your injury case. Not only will emergency care identify any potentially life-threatening injuries, it creates a medical record of your injury immediately after the accident occurred. Go to the emergency room—or at least a walk-in clinic—before you return home, and be sure to note any prior medical conditions or injuries on your intake questionnaire.
    • Gather evidence. Evidence begins to disappear in the days after an accident, and by the time you return home it may be gone forever. The best way to gather evidence is to take pictures of the scene of your injury, or record a video of the location and the people who were there before leaving the scene. Pictures of your injury, weather conditions, and any damaged property (such as a smashed rental car) can also help to identify the cause and severity of the accident. Write down the names and contact information of anyone who saw what happened or came to help you afterward. If police came to the scene, be sure to request a copy of the police report to take home with you.
    • Be careful when talking to those responsible. The person or company responsible for your injury may attempt to contact you after the accident, hoping you will say or do something that limits your ability to recover payment. Insurers may call and ask for a recorded statement to process your claim, while a manager of a store may ask you to sign the injury report after you fall. Do not agree to these requests without speaking to an attorney. In many cases, asking for your signature or your recorded interview is a way to gather evidence against you.
    • Speak to a Tennessee personal injury attorney. Waiting to find an attorney until after you have returned home can be catastrophic to your case for many reasons. First, Tennessee has an extremely short statute of limitations (SOL) to file a personal injury claim, so you should begin your case as soon as possible. Second, many laws that apply in injury cases are state-specific, meaning the laws back home will have no bearing on your case in Tennessee. Finally, a local lawyer will have an insider’s knowledge of many locations, including dangerous freeways or busy intersections, and have a network of local professionals who can be called to testify in your case.
    • Follow your doctor’s recommendations. In most cases, victims will be able to return home after they have been cleared by a doctor. However, you will need to notify your regular physician of your injuries and make an appointment to continue all necessary treatment related to the injury. Even if your condition is stable enough to travel, you should continue to attend all scheduled appointments until your injury has fully healed. You can also keep a diary during your recovery, making note of how your injuries affect your daily life, your mental state, your ability to work, and any comments made by your doctors.

    An injury on vacation can not only ruin your trip, it has the potential to ruin your health and your financial future. Our injury attorneys will fight to get you the maximum amount of compensation you deserve. 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 should I prepare for my first meeting with an injury attorney?

    person taking notes in notebook next to coffee mugYour first meeting with an attorney may seem daunting, but the truth is that you have just taken the first step towards putting your accident behind you. The right personal injury attorney can help you get the payment you need for your medical bills, missed wages, property damage, and other losses so that you can move forward with your life. With a little planning, you can leave the attorney’s office feeling stronger than you have in a long time.

    How to Prepare for an Initial Consultation with an Injury Attorney

    It can be stressful to meet with a stranger, especially when you aren’t feeling your best. Try to remember that he or she only wants to help you, and that you are in control of the meeting. In a free consultation, anything you say is protected by attorney-client privilege—even if you ultimately choose not to hire the lawyer—so there is very little risk for you and a great opportunity to learn more about your options.

    The key to overcoming all the fear and confusion you may be feeling is to be properly prepared for your first appointment. When you meet with the attorney, you should be sure to bring:

    • A written account of the accident. If you have not already done so, you should write down everything you can remember about the accident. Your memory of what happened can be invaluable to an attorney when building your case, as it will give him or her many leads to follow. For example, if you distinctly remember two employees arguing about who was to blame when you slipped in a grocery store, their words can be used as evidence that the store owner knew that a dangerous condition existed. Your account of the accident should include the date and time of the injury, the place where the accident occurred, the people who were there, what you were doing right before the accident, what you did afterward, how others responded to the accident, a description of the scene, and any other details you can remember.
       
    • Evidence. If you collected any evidence that you think could be useful, be sure to bring it with you. Pictures of the accident scene, an incident report or police report, names and contact information of witnesses, and emails or correspondence from the at-fault party can be invaluable in proving negligence in your case.
       
    • Documentation of your injuries. The amount you can receive in an accident case is based on the severity of your injuries, but it will take extensive proof to get full compensation for all you have suffered. Keep a file with copies of all medical records related to the accident, such as x-rays, treatment records, follow-up care, diagnostic test results, prescriptions, and invoices. The paperwork should be in order from your emergency treatment and initial diagnosis to and your current medical condition. You should also bring paystubs from the time of the injury and any correspondence from an employer about your time away from work.
       
    • Your insurance information. You should bring a copy of your available insurance policies (such as health insurance and car insurance) as well as any letters or notifications you have received from your insurer or the other party’s insurance company.
       
    • A list of questions. Your attorney will likely ask you questions to get a sense of your case, but you should come prepared with a few of your own. Don’t be afraid of asking silly questions; you don’t have the same experience the attorney does, and he or she should be gracious when listening to your concerns. You may ask whether you need an attorney, how long it will take to resolve the case, and how likely it is that you can resolve the case out of court—and even if the attorney cannot provide a definitive answer, he or she should tell you what you need to do next for the best outcome.

    Your consultation is a chance for you to see whether you and the lawyer want to work together—and if you do not, you should lose no more than an hour of your time. To set up your free initial consultation with a personal injury attorney, simply fill out the short contact form on this page. To learn more about personal injury cases in Tennessee, request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.

  • If I was hurt on vacation in Nashville, do I have to remain here until the incident is settled?

    Nashville Tennessee skyline river bridgeIf you suffered an injury as a tourist, you may be tempted to cut your trip short in order to seek medical attention back home. While it may seem like a good idea to go back to your own doctors and pursue an injury case in your home town, leaving the area where you have been injured can cause complications—especially if you live outside of Tennessee.

    What Vacation Injury Victims Should Do Before Returning Home

    The most important thing you should do after suffering an accident on vacation is to seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Not only will this ensure that it is safe for you to travel without further risk to your health, it documents the state you were in immediately after the accident occurred. This is vital for making an insurance claim or filing an injury lawsuit, as failure to seek medical treatment may be seen as evidence that injuries were not as severe as you claim.

    The next thing you should do before returning home is speak with a local injury attorney. Injury laws vary from state to state, and a local attorney will know the applicable procedures and requirements for a slip and fall, car accident, or other injury in Tennessee.

    Even if you are not sure you have a case, a local attorney can provide insight and guidance on your next steps, including:

    • Notification. Timeliness is an important factor in an injury case, and a local attorney can ensure that you take necessary steps to report the incident as soon as possible. This may include filing a police report, notifying a property owner about a dangerous condition, or making sure the incident has been properly documented before you leave town.
    • Investigation. A Nashville attorney will have a familiarity and understanding of the location where you were injured, as well as relationships with local accident scene investigators and credible expert witnesses. The sooner you speak with a local attorney, the more likely it is that he or she will be able to collect and preserve vital  evidence, such as pictures of the accident location, contact information for witnesses and property owners, and copies of your emergency treatment records.
    • Insurance claims. A local attorney can determine whose insurance policy should cover your injuries, as well as how to file the claim and deal with an insurance agent. An attorney can even deal with the insurer on your behalf, negotiating a fair settlement without the risk of the victim accidentally saying something that devalues the claim.
    • Filing suit. If your case cannot be resolved without filling a lawsuit, you can take comfort in the fact that your attorney is licensed to practice law in the city where the accident took place—and as an added bonus, a local attorney will be familiar with the Tennessee court system.
    • Recovery. Once you have a local attorney working on your claim, he or she can advise you of the best time to go home without risking the outcome of your case. An attorney will be able to tell you how your actions may be perceived by insurers, allowing you to avoid resistance to your claim. Your attorney should provide you with clear instructions on what your responsibilities are—such as following up on your medical treatment, taking time off work, and staying off social media—allowing you to protect your case after you have returned to your home state.

    Injury victims can often return to their home states while their Nashville attorneys go to work, keeping the victim updated on the progression of the case. At GriffithLaw, we are proud to provide initial consultations to victims free of charge, and we do not collect any legal fees until your case is resolved. To learn more about your rights, 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.