Man with broken leg on cellphone with a personal injury lawyer

Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

August 15, 2023

If you have recently suffered a significant injury due to the negligence or carelessness of someone else, you may be asking yourself, “Do I need a personal injury lawyer?” The answer to that question may surprise you.

Not all personal injuries necessitate or even qualify for legal action. However, determining which type of claim you have is no easy task. Even seemingly minor injuries—like whiplash, for example—can result in long-term and life-altering consequences. Having a personal injury lawyer review your claim is the best way to determine if legal action might be the most effective option.

The Johnson City personal injury lawyers at The Haynes Firm have decades of experience evaluating injuries and calculating their true worth. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you, FREE of cost and obligation, to listen to your story, review your claim, and help you determine if filing a suit might be beneficial.

Call The Haynes Firm at 423-928-0165 to schedule your complimentary case review today. We serve individuals and families living in Kingsport, Johnson City, and all nearby areas of Tennessee.

What Is a Serious Injury?

There are varying degrees of injury that can be sustained in an accident. Many are inconsequential, causing more inconvenience than true suffering. Others, however, are much more troublesome, with consequences that can last for a lifetime.

A serious or catastrophic injury causes significant physical harm, often with long-term or permanent effects. These injuries typically range from traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord damage to severe burns and loss of limbs, but even a fractured bone can be severe under certain circumstances.

Severe injuries can drastically impact your quality of life. They often require extensive medical treatment, therapy, and rehabilitation. What’s more, serious injuries can prevent you from working and supporting yourself and your family, all while causing untold amounts of personal suffering. These injuries demand the attention of a qualified personal injury lawyer who can evaluate current damages and project future needs to determine what your claim should be worth.

Leading Causes of Severe Personal Injury

Any accident can result in injury, but not all injuries are severe. Some of the most common causes of serious injuries include:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents. Car crashes, motorcycle accidents, and wrecks involving large trucks are among the top causes of severe, debilitating injuries.
  • Defective Products. Dangerous toys, poorly manufactured vehicles, improperly designed medical devices, and more can all cause traumatic injury.
  • Dangerous Premises. Improperly monitored swimming pools, poorly maintained amusement parks, unsecured overhead stock, and so much more can make a property dangerous and lead to life-long injuries.
  • Medical Negligence. Medical malpractice places all patients at risk of serious or even deadly injury.

When you sustain an injury in an accident, due to malpractice, or through someone else’s intentional wrongdoing, an investigation can help to determine where fault should lie. Our Tennessee personal injury lawyers have the resources and experience necessary to establish proper liability, enabling us to seek the full compensation you are due.

How Does Insurance Handle Catastrophic Injury?

Insurance companies are designed to help cover the financial burdens of accidents and injuries. However, when it comes to catastrophic injuries, the cost of care can be astronomical, often exceeding the maximum limits of typical insurance policies.

According to the National Institutes of Health, when considering medical expenses alone, costs for serious but non-fatal injuries can range from approximately $2,000 to just over $81,000 in the first year. Throughout a lifetime, these injuries can require hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars to treat. And this is for medical expenses alone. Lost wages, personal suffering, and other issues will only add to these expenses.

It is important to remember that insurance companies are businesses. By minimizing payouts, they can maximize their profits and please their shareholders. This is drastically unfair to people struggling with life-altering injuries. Having a skilled personal injury attorney on your side helps to protect your interests while allowing you to seek compensation beyond the initial offers from insurance.

Remember: Once you accept an offer from insurance, you are barred from seeking additional compensation. Always discuss your claim with a personal injury lawyer before deciding on the best course of action.

During your FREE case review at our Johnson City office, we will carefully review the details of your claim to help you understand its true worth.

What Happens When Insurance Fails Victims?

When an insurance company fails to provide the necessary coverage or unjustly denies a claim, victims can find themselves facing financial ruin. With medical expenses and lost income, it can become a struggle to pay for necessities and care for your family—and this is to say nothing of the physical pain and psychological suffering that can accompany an injury. Protecting you from being treated unfairly by insurance is one of the primary services a personal injury lawyer provides.

The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer

Advocating for victims of serious injury is the most basic role a personal injury lawyer performs. They provide legal advice, prepare and file necessary legal documents, represent clients in court (as necessary), and negotiate with insurance companies and opposing counsel. Their ultimate goal is to secure the best possible compensation for damages related to an injury.

The lawyers at The Haynes Firm have decades of experience conducting investigations, interviewing witnesses, working with experts, and building solid cases on behalf of our clients. Skilled negotiators as well as proven litigators, our personal injury lawyers prepare every case for any eventuality, helping to ensure that no matter which direction your claim goes—settlement or trial—you will have the most effective representation.

Types of Damages in Personal Injury Cases

In Tennessee, victims of personal injury can seek two broad types of damages through a personal injury lawsuit.

Having a skilled personal injury lawyer on your side is the best way to seek the total compensation you are due, which may include:

Economic Damages 

Economic damages (special damages) have a clear and direct financial impact. They can be quantified and substantiated by bills, receipts, or financial statements. These damages cover things like:

  • Medical bills (past and future)
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation costs

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages (general damages) refer to compensation for non-financial losses that are nevertheless real and significant. They include:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium (relationships)

Tennessee law has imposed a cap on the amount of non-economic damages a victim can recover in a personal injury case at $750,000 for most injuries (see Tenn. Code § 29-39-102). However, for catastrophic injuries—including spinal cord injuries, severe burns, or wrongful death —the cap is raised to $1 million.

It’s important to note, however, that these caps do not apply to economic damages. There is no limit to the compensation that can be recovered for quantifiable financial losses. 

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages—meant to punish particularly egregious behavior and act as a deterrent to others—may be awarded in certain cases. These are capped at twice the total amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater. However, punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury claims.

Understanding damages, including the total amount of damages you can seek, can be incredibly complex and is one of the more compelling reasons to have a Tennessee personal injury review your claim. The attorneys at The Haynes Firm will work tirelessly to ensure that all damages, both economic and non-economic, are correctly calculated to reflect the full extent of the harm you’ve suffered.

Contact a Tennessee Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Today!

At The Haynes Firm, we understand the toll a serious injury can take on all aspects of your life. Our dedicated Johnson City personal injury lawyers are committed to protecting victims of serious injury and working tirelessly to secure the compensation they truly deserve. Whether you’re dealing with an uncooperative insurance company or facing complex legal challenges, we are here to help.

To schedule your complimentary consultation at our Johnson City office, contact The Haynes Firm today. We proudly represent people dealing with catastrophic injuries throughout Tennessee.

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