We might expect people to consider others and act reasonably, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Each year, thousands of Nashvillians are injured in accidents caused by someone else’s reckless actions.
Thankfully, Tennessee law allows victims of accidents to pursue compensation from the at-fault party. This is known as a personal injury lawsuit.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by someone else, you have the legal right to pursue compensation. Call a top personal injury lawyer in Nashville today to learn more about how they’ll fight for you and your family.
Determining Fault in a Nashville Personal Injury Accident
In legal terms, the person who caused the accident that caused your injuries is “liable” for any damages incurred by you as a result of the accident. This means they’re responsible for paying you to make up for the losses you experienced due to their actions.
In most personal injury cases, liability is determined through the legal theory of negligence. To prove that the other party was negligent, you and your Nashville personal injury lawyer will have to demonstrate the following:
Duty of Care
You and your attorney will have to prove that the other party owed you a duty of care, or “reasonable care” to avoid causing you and others harm.
For example, traffic laws exist to keep everyone on the road safe. A driver acts with reasonable care when they follow the rules of the road, stopping for red lights, following the speed limit, and remaining sober behind the wheel.
Breach of Duty
Next, you and your attorney must show that the other party breached, or broke the duty of care by directly going against the measures meant to protect you and others.
For example, if a person is drunk and decides to drive, they’ve already broken the duty of care, as it’s illegal to drive while intoxicated.
The next thing that you and your top personal injury lawyer in Nashville will have to prove is that the other party’s actions directly caused your injury. You’ll have to show that your injury wasn’t preexisting or a result of your own driving error.
The last thing that you and your attorney must prove to establish negligence is that you suffered real damages, or real, calculable losses from the accident. Again, these losses can’t be unrelated to the accident or related to your own error. Real damages often include expenses like medical bills, property damage, and lost income.
It’s just as important to understand what is not considered negligence. Every case is different, but you may not have a viable personal injury claim if you weren’t where you were supposed to be or were negligent yourself.
- You weren’t where you were supposed to be – A group of teenagers decides to explore an old abandoned factory. There are several visible “No Trespassing” and “Stay Out” signs, but the teenagers ignore them and keep exploring. A member of the group trips on a broken rail and is injured.
- You were also careless – It’s unlikely that you’ll get full compensation for your injuries if you played a role in causing the accident. In situations like these, the legal theory of “comparative negligence” comes into play (in Tennessee it’s known as “modified comparative negligence”). Read more about comparative negligence in the next section.
Modified Comparative Fault in Tennessee
In some cases, victims play a small role in the accident that caused their injuries. While they may have been partially responsible, the fact remains that they suffered damages and are still eligible for compensation.
In these situations, Tennessee law allows injured victims to recover damages as long as they are 50% or less at fault for the accident. If they are 51% at fault, they will recover nothing.
If a victim is eligible for compensation, their settlement will be reduced by the percent that they were at fault. Both the percentage of fault and verdict (amount of compensation) will be determined by a judge or jury. For example, if a jury sets the verdict at $100,000 but finds the victim to be 20% at fault for their accident, the victim will walk away with $80,000 instead of the full $100,000.
Our attorneys believe that injured victims deserve the greatest possible amount of compensation, and we’ll fight to get you every cent to help you pay medical bills and make up for lost income. Even if you were partially at fault in your accident, we’ll work hard to get you the money you need.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in TN
A statute of limitations is a deadline for filing a personal injury claim. Meeting this deadline is integral to the success of your claim. If you don’t meet it, you lose the right to sue the person who caused your accident. Judges often throw out cases that were turned in even a day late.
In Tennessee, injured victims have one year from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. This deadline is shorter than most states’, so if you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you must file a lawsuit as soon as possible, even if you don’t have initial plans to sue.
Your best personal injury lawyer in Nashville will explain these and other requirements for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee. Call us to learn more about the process and what you can do to make it successful.
Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Nashville
With dozens of personal injury lawyers in the Nashville area, how do you know which one will provide the best representation? We understand that it’s overwhelming to hire an attorney, but we have reasons to believe that we’re the best.
We only get paid if you win.
Our lawyers work by contingency fee, meaning they’ll only get paid if and when you receive a settlement. We won’t charge you anything before you win your case, and we’ll even pay for your court costs and related expenses.
We know you have a lot to worry about after being in an accident; we’re here to make your situation as painless as possible.
We prepare every case for trial.
Not every lawyer prepares to fight for you in court. Many lawyers assume you’ll be offered a settlement and will accept a payout that is far too small for your needs.
Not preparing for trial is a grave mistake. Sometimes, the other party and their attorneys won’t budge on their low offer. If your attorney isn’t ready to fight for you in court, you might end up accepting an amount that won’t even cover all of your bills.
Our lawyers are different. We investigate and prepare each case for trial, meaning we’ll be ready to represent you in court if the other party refuses to offer the amount of compensation that you need.
We earn maximum compensation for your injuries.
Our attorneys investigate every aspect of your case, leaving no stone unturned. This helps us get a full idea of the money that is owed to you from every doctor’s appointment, every prescription, and every bill you’ve received that’s related to your injury since the day of the accident.
We don’t accept low offers, and we don’t settle for anything less than you need. You can trust that we’ll earn you maximum compensation.
Common Types of Personal Injury Claims
Davidson County saw 23,835 car accidents in 2020. Of those, 7,393 resulted in injury, and 108 were fatal.
It might make sense that Davidson County would have the most car accidents, but it doesn’t make life any easier for the victims. Car accidents can cause a host of injuries ranging in severity. Even “mild” car accidents can cause burns, fractures, and mental health disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
More serious accidents can cause more serious injuries, like spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and neck and back injuries.
In 2020, the state of Tennessee saw 4,001 crashes involving large trucks. Almost always, the occupant(s) of the passenger vehicle are the ones who suffer injuries. It’s no wonder why semi-truck accidents are so devastating; with a maximum weight limit of 80,000 pounds, these are enormous vehicles that take far longer to stop and slow down than passenger vehicles.
In many personal injury claims related to truck accidents, the trucker’s insurance agency or employer can be held liable for their employee’s negligence.
Motorcycles are often ignored or intentionally pushed out by drivers of passenger vehicles. Instead of checking their side and rear mirrors, many passenger car drivers simply merge to the other lane where a motorcyclist is riding.
Situations like these are one of the most common scenarios for motorcycle accidents, and unfortunately, these crashes continue to occur every day in Nashville. In many situations, drivers who hit motorcyclists can be held liable for their negligence.
Slip and Fall
Slip and fall accidents don’t happen exclusively to the elderly. Unfortunately, some businesses and homeowners are neglectful in their duty to keep up their property, causing dangerous conditions where people can be injured.
Lawsuits are usually the last step in a series of falls, and it’s important that victims hold the business or homeowner accountable for their failure to keep the property safe.
Wrongful death cases are some of the most sensitive and emotional cases in the legal world. Unfortunately, negligence and other types of recklessness often extend beyond injury and cause someone’s death.
If your loved one was killed in an accident, you’re likely seeking answers and closure for the rest of your family. A wrongful death lawsuit can help you accomplish that and can earn you compensation to pay for your loved one’s funeral, lost income, and other expenses related to their death.
Potential Damages in a Nashville Personal Injury Lawsuit
You may be able to recover one or more of the following types of damages in your personal injury lawsuit: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages are financial losses that are easily calculable because you’ve been billed or received invoices for them. It’s very likely that you’ll receive some kind of recovery for economic damages, which include:
- Medical bills, including hospital visits and doctor appointments
- Diagnostic studies, including MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays
- Medication and prescriptions required because of the accident
- Medical equipment
- Replacement or repair costs for property damage (rental car, car repairs, etc.)
- Lost income
Non-economic damages are available to victims of accidents when calculable economic damages don’t cover the mental and emotional pain caused by the accident.
These damages take more time to work through and assign value to. They must be decided upon by a judge or jury, but are often awarded to victims who show signs of mental and/or emotional pain as a direct result of their accident.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Mental distress or anguish
- Physical impairment
Punitive damages are designed not to compensate the injured victim, but to punish the perpetrator to prevent them from repeating the action.
Punitive damages are usually only awarded in cases where the defendant acted especially recklessly or caused intentional harm. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to recover punitive damages if your case follows a typical personal injury track, but you shouldn’t rule it out.
Speak with the best personal injury lawyer in Nashville to find out which types of damages you may be able to recover.
Get in Touch with a Nashville Personal Injury Attorney
When you’re injured in an accident, you’ll have plenty of questions. Will you be able to pay your bills on time? Will you recover from your injuries? Will you be able to work?
With the help of a top personal injury lawyer in Nashville, you won’t have to ask whether or not someone is in your corner fighting for you. Our attorneys have decades of experience fighting and winning for clients, and we’ll represent you with dedication and resilience.
Call today to learn more about our approach.
Personal Injury Questions and Answers
Should I call the police at the scene of a personal injury?
Emotions are high at the time of an accident. If you have the faintest suspicion that someone else caused the accident, call the police. Police create reports that could prove valuable to your case, and they can also call on any witnesses to be included in the report. Police reports cannot be used in court, but they’re extremely helpful when dealing with insurance.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit for a personal injury?
A “statute of limitations” is a law that sets a time limit on how long you have to file a claim after an accident or injury. In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for personal injury is one year. That means you have one year from the date of the accident to file a claim or risk having your case thrown out.
It’s extremely important to meet this deadline; a Nashville personal injury attorney will make sure you file the claim on time and will keep the whole process in check.