When you are injured in an accident, you may have a few options for seeking compensation. One is to accept whatever settlement offer you receive from insurance. The other is to hire a lawyer to assist you who can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. The severity of your injury—among other factors—will determine which course is best.
Insurance settlements may be adequate for minor injuries or those that won’t have long-term physical or psychological consequences. But when an accident you didn’t cause results in serious injury, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI), or disfigurement, legal action is typically the better option.
When it comes to navigating the complex landscape of personal injury law in Tennessee, it’s advisable to have an experienced attorney on your side. At The Haynes Firm, our Tennessee personal injury lawyers have more than 70 years of combined legal experience helping individuals and families dealing with the aftermath of serious injury receive the compensation they truly deserve. Call us today at 423-928-0165 to schedule your FREE case review and learn more.
With offices in Johnson City, The Haynes Firm serves individuals and families living in Kingsport and all nearby areas of the state.
Personal injury law is designed to allow victims of serious injury to seek compensation through legal action. These injuries can be physical, emotional, or psychological in nature, but typically have consequences that will extend for months or perhaps even years.
Like insurance claims, personal injury lawsuits may revolve around car accidents, medical malpractice, slip-and-fall incidents, defective products, and much more. However, compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering often make up a large part of personal injury lawsuits. Insurance companies will often place little or no value on these types of damages until a suit is filed.
In Tennessee, personal injury cases are influenced by a modified comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, your compensation can be reduced by a percentage equal to your fault for the accident.
If you are found to be 50% or more at fault, you are not eligible to receive any compensation through legal action in Tennessee. However, if you are found to be less than 50% at fault, the compensation you are awarded will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. For example, if you were awarded $100,000 in damages but are 10% at fault for an accident, your award will be reduced to $90,000 (see Tennessee Code § 20-1-119).
The time frame for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee, also known as the statute of limitations, is exceptionally strict. In our state, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within one year of the date of the accident. If a lawsuit is not filed within this period, the court will typically refuse to hear the case, preventing you from receiving compensation through legal action. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as for cases involving minors, but these are very rare (see Tennessee Code § 28-3-104).
In motor vehicle crashes, the statute of limitations may be extended if the at-fault driver is charged with a crime. In medical negligence cases, the statute may be extended based on the ‘discovery’ rule. Speak with an experienced lawyer about your claim before concluding that you are barred by the statute of limitations.
Navigating personal injury claims can be a complex and frightening process, particularly when you are trying to recover from a life-altering injury and time for legal action is running out. An experienced Tennessee personal injury lawyer can help to ensure your rights are preserved while seeking the total compensation your injury demands.
There are several ways a personal injury lawyer can assist with a claim. First, and perhaps most importantly, an experienced attorney can act as a source of reliable legal information—right from your initial consultation—helping to ensure you are fully aware of your rights.
During your initial consultation, your potential lawyer will listen to your story to develop a better understanding of your situation, review the facts of your claim, and evaluate the legal merits of your case to help you determine how to proceed.
Your initial consultation with the Tennessee personal injury lawyers at The Haynes Firm is free of cost and obligation, giving you the opportunity to determine your confidence in our abilities without risk. It also gives us the opportunity to help you understand all of your legal options, the personal injury claims process, and the best course of action for your particular case.
If you have a viable claim and the legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer will:
Collecting and analyzing evidence related to the accident is one of the most important roles your personal injury lawyer will play. This typically involves poring over medical records, police reports, witness testimonies, and any other documentation that can prove the defendant’s negligence.
In some cases, outside experts, such as accident reconstructionists, medical professionals, vocational rehabilitation experts, and more will be brought in to assist in building the case. This can help to ensure all underlying causes and liable parties are identified, which will be needed to properly assess damages.
After liability has been established, it will be important to evaluate the current and future damages related to your injury. Your lawyer will calculate these damages based on medical expenses and other financial concerns—like lost wages due to time off work—along with non-economic issues, such as the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident.
Many insurance settlements are insufficient to cover the long-term costs of catastrophic injury, let alone address the physical and emotional consequences these injuries cause. In some cases, personal injury lawyers in Tennessee can fight for compensation beyond the limits of insurance to help ensure you are awarded the full amount your injury demands.
Dealing with insurance companies after an accident can be very challenging. Your personal injury lawyer will act as your advocate in negotiating with these companies, helping to ensure you are treated fairly, taken seriously, and compensated appropriately.
Your attorney’s skill in negotiation can result in a more substantial settlement than you could achieve on your own. However, reaching a settlement is not always possible, even with an experienced attorney on your side. In these situations, a lawsuit will need to be filed and the claim may proceed to trial.
The Tennessee personal injury lawyers at The Haynes Firm have more than seven decades of combined experience negotiating with every major insurance company in the United States. We know their tactics and are skilled at countering insufficient offers, building each case for the possibility of a trial should negotiations fail.
While a vast majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court, some require a trial. In these cases, having an experienced litigator on your side is essential. Insurance companies and their clients will have defense attorneys representing their best interests. Without legal representation on your side, you will be at a distinct disadvantage.
When settlement negotiations fail, your personal injury lawyer will prepare your case for trial. The results of a personal injury trial are typically decided by a jury. While they may require one to two years to resolve, jury trials can result in more substantial compensation for victims of serious and life-altering injuries.
At The Haynes Firm, our Tennessee personal injury lawyers prepare every case for the possibility of a trial. This helps to ensure you receive the most effective representation no matter the direction required by your claim. Both of our attorneys have been selected as Top Trial Lawyers in Tennessee by the National Trial Lawyers Association, and Attorney Olen Haynes Sr. is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers®—a distinction held by only one percent of trial lawyers in our state.
At The Haynes Firm, our experienced trial attorneys have helped countless individuals and families suffering from the consequences of defective products, negligent healthcare providers, distracted drivers, and more get fair and full compensation. In our tireless pursuit of justice, we have secured some of the region’s highest awards in both state and federal courts.
Our personal injury lawyers have been recognized repeatedly for their exceptional skills in the courtroom and their ability to manage complex litigation—all while maintaining a strong commitment to the rights and interests of our clients. This unique blend of professional excellence and client-focused representation makes us the top choice for anyone seeking legal assistance for their personal injury claim in Johnson City, Kingsport, or a nearby area of Tennessee.
To schedule your complimentary case review at The Haynes Firm, please contact us online today. Our Tennessee personal injury lawyers are here to answer your questions, assess the details of your case, and help you determine the best course of action.