Motorvehicle crashes can happen in only a matter of seconds but crashes have the power to change
lives forever. We never expect accidents to occur. We never plan for them.
Most of us think that it will never happen to us. This can leave us with
overwhelming uncertainty and without the financial means necessary to
pay for the medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
If you’re injured in Tennessee due to another’s negligence,
whether it be a car or commercial truck crash, medical malpractice, or
injury due to a dangerous condition on another’s property, you’re
may need to file a
personal injury claim. Sometimes filing a claim is the only way to best ensure that you
receive the compensation you need to pay your medical bills, make up for
lost wages, and heal.
How Insurance Works in Tennessee
The first part of filing a
personal injury claim is knowing how the insurance process works. Tennessee uses fault
auto insurance. This means that the insurance company of the at-fault
driver should pay for any damages incurred in the accident. However, the
at-fault driver’s insurance has a contract with their insured, not
with you—the injured party. As such, the at-fault insurance will
not likely pay anything towards medical expenses, lost time from work,
or other expenses for your bodily injury, until your case is ready to
be resolved in full. This means that you typically have to undergo all
the medical treatment that you need to heal as best you can before you
can expect to receive any compensation from the at-fault insurance company.
This can be incredibly difficult, particularly if you do not have medical
insurance or other means to obtain the necessary care for your injuries.
In these circumstances, you may need to rely upon your own automobile insurance,
assuming you have paid a premium for underinsured motorist coverage or
uninsured motorist coverage. Navigating through the laws applicable to
underinsured motorist insurance can be incredibly difficult and you may
want to speak with a Tennessee Auto Crash lawyer to better understand
Determining Fault in an auto or truck crash
There may be more than one driver who is determined to be at fault in a
vehicle accident. Under Tennesee’s
modified comparative fault rules, an injured party may still be able to obtain compensation for damages
if they are found to share
less than 50% of the responsibility for the accident.
For example, let’s say that a driver was at a stop sign. After coming
to a complete stop, they turn left without signaling and another driver
runs the stop sign, ending in a collision. The first driver then files
a personal injury claim against the driver who didn’t stop.
If the jury determines that the driver who ran the stop sign is 85% at
fault for the crash, while the plaintiff is determined to be 15% at fault
(the percentages must add up to 100% between all drivers responsible),
then the judge will reduce the jury’s damages verdict accordingly.
Thus, if the plaintiff is then compensated $20,000 for damages, the judge
would then reduce the damages by the percentage of fault allocated to
the plaintiff. In this hypothetical, the total verdict would be reduced
by 15% to the sum of $17,000.
Statute of Limitations
It’s essential to act fast when pursuing your
personal injury claim.
In auto crash claims, Tennessee’s statute of limitations only allows
an individual 1 year to file a claim. However, before you conclude that your case is barred by the statute
of limitations, you should speak with one of our lawyers. If the driver
that caused the crash faced criminal charges for his or her conduct, your
statute of limitations may be extended to 2 years. Even so, it is best
to speak with a Tennessee auto/truck crash lawyer before relying upon
Other types of personal injury cases, such as medical malpractice, have
their own set of rules that apply to determine when the limitations period
begins and ends. You should always speak with a knowledgeable attorney
about these limitations period early after an injury.
Damage Caps in Tennessee
An injured party may be awarded compensation for various damages in Tennessee
personal injury claims, including:
Economic damages. This includes medical bills, lost wages, future lost wages, property damage,
damage to personal property, cost of adaptive housing, and the cost of
the value of the spouse’s household services.
Other damages—sometimes referred to as ‘non-economic damages’. This includes pain and suffering, emotional distress, psychological injuries,
loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
For certain types of damages, there are
caps for the amount of compensation one may be awarded in a personal injury
claim. The limits on damages in Tennessee are:
- Economic damages: No cap
- Non-economic damages: $750,000 per person
- Non-economic damages in catastrophic injury cases: $1 million per person
Hiring a Seasoned Personal Injury Attorney
If you need help understanding your rights, or if you have questions about
personal injury claim, don’t hesitate to reach out to
The Haynes Firm for seasoned legal representation. We understand that an auto or truck
crash can leave you feeling like your world is turned upside down. We
want you to know that you are not alone in this process.
compassionate attorneys come prepared with the knowledge and experience you need to ensure you
receive the full compensation you need to heal.
The Haynes Firm is here for you. Contact our firm at (423)451-4999 for
help pursuing your personal injury claim.