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I Got In A Car Accident And My Back Hurts, What Should I Do?

A car accident can be a frightening, disorienting experience, especially if you suffered an injury as a result. If you were in a crash and are now experiencing back pain, follow these steps.

Do I need medical care?

You should seek immediate medical care if you have back pain following a car accident. Visit a doctor or the emergency room for an evaluation of your back, making sure your physician documents all symptoms and signs of injury. Make sure your medical records state that the reason you are there is for evaluation of back pain following the car accident. This will be your proof that the car accident was the cause of your back pain and not merely coincidental.

What if I felt fine at the scene of the accident?

Often, back pain does not show up at the scene of the accident. If you denied having injuries at the scene or refused medical treatment, it may be challenging to link your back pain to your accident. This is why it is important to visit the doctor or emergency room as soon as you experience discomfort and to make sure your doctor includes the date of the car accident in your medical history.

For example, Alan was in a car accident. He felt fine at the scene but woke up the next day with severe back pain. Instead of going to the doctor or emergency room, he tried to tough it out by taking over-the-counter medications. Finally, two weeks later, he went to the doctor and received a diagnosis of a dislocated vertebra.

Because of the delay in diagnosis and treatment, he also suffered complications and will not have an optimal recuperation. The insurance company denied coverage for Alan’s injury, claiming they were not caused by the car accident. Alan is now facing a stack of medical bills without the money to pay them.

On the other hand, Bernard was in a car accident, felt fine at the scene, but woke up the next morning with serious back pain. He immediately went to the emergency room, underwent a thorough medical evaluation, and received a dislocated vertebra diagnosis. His doctor treated his dislocation at once and Bernard recuperated quickly. His medical records clearly linked the back injury to the car accident. The insurance company did not fight Bernard’s lawyer on their claim and he received full compensation for his injuries.

What if I do not follow my doctor’s orders?

If you do not follow your doctor’s orders to mitigate your back injury, the insurance company may refuse to pay the full amount of your damages. Furthermore, any recommended treatment that you opt out of will not appear in the total calculation of your damages. If you postpone a treatment and reverse your decision later on, you will have to pay for it yourself. The insurance company will not give you more money after you settle your injury claim.

By way of example, Mary suffered a back injury in a car accident. After the initial medical procedure to treat the back injury, Mary’s doctor sent her to physical therapy. She found the physical therapy to be painful, exhausting, and time-consuming, so she did not complete the prescribed regimen. She settled with the insurance company. A few months later, she decided to try physical therapy again to relieve her chronic back pain. The insurance company refused to pay for the physical therapy because Mary had already settled her damages claim with them.

What else do I need to do after an accident?

Tennessee law requires that you file a report with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security if you are the owner or driver of a vehicle involved in a crash that resulted in an injury, death, or property damage of more than $400. This requirement is not satisfied by the police report of the officer at the scene of the accident. You must submit the report within 20 days of the crash. Failure to do so can result in the suspension of your driver’s license and registration.

This report may help you recover damages for your back injury by providing another piece of evidence linking your injury to the car accident.

What if I was partly at fault in the accident?

Tennessee follows a modified comparative fault law, which allows you to receive compensation for your injuries as long as you were less than 50% at fault in the wreck. The law reduces the amount of your recovery by the amount of your own negligence.

For example, Tim and Joe were in a car accident. Tim was speeding and Joe ran a red light. Tim was 20% at fault, while Joe bore 80% of the blame for the crash. Each has $10,000 in damages. In this case, Tim’s receives 20% less in damages—totaling to $8,000—due to his own negligence. Joe will not be able to recover anything from Tim because he was more than 50% at fault in the accident.

Should I consult a car accident lawyer?

If you suffered a back injury after a crash, you should contact a lawyer immediately. A car accident lawyer can help you with all aspects of your case, including filing your accident report with the state. It is essential that this form is accurate and filed within the 20-day deadline. Any mistakes or missing information may hurt your claim for damages and delay your recovery.  

A car accident lawyer can also investigate the scene of the accident and collect the evidence needed to prove your claim. It is important that your lawyer is able to do this quickly, since evidence can deteriorate or even disappear if you wait too long. Skid marks will fade and disappear. Government agencies can correct road hazards after the accident. Eyewitnesses can become hard or impossible to locate. The sooner you talk with an attorney, the better.

If you have suffered a back injury in a car accident, the attorneys OEB Law, PLLC can help. We offer experienced and compassionate legal advice and we will keep fighting until we get you everything you deserve. Call us today at 865-546-1111 to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.

Car Accidents

Should I Get A Lawyer For A Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?

You may need a lawyer if the other driver blames you for causing the accident and the driver’s insurance company refuses to pay you for damages to your car or for your injuries. In this case, you may want to get a lawyer for a car accident even if it was not your fault.

In Tennessee, the driver responsible for causing a crash has to pay the other driver’s damages. So, why pay damages for an accident that you believe you did not cause? While the law does not require you to get a lawyer, one may help you prove that you did not cause the accident and help you recover compensation for your financial losses.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me Prove the Accident Was Not My Fault?

An experienced car accident lawyer can help you collect crucial evidence to prove that you did not cause the car wreck. Besides your statement, a lawyer may use a police report that explains how the accident happened, photos of the accident scene and damages to the vehicles, surveillance video that captured the accident (if available), and eyewitness statements.

At the OEB Law, PLLC, we work with subject matter experts to prove fault and causation in car accidents. If you suffered a serious injury in the accident, we may have medical experts review your medical records and provide a professional opinion about your present and future medical needs. We will use our resources to help you build a solid case to present to the other driver’s insurance company or to your insurance company.

Should I Go to Court to Prove That the Accident Was Not My Fault?

This is a possible legal option to discuss with your lawyer. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, filing a lawsuit may be preferable over filing an insurance claim for damages, especially if the accident involved serious or fatal injuries.

What If I Prove The Accident Was Not My Fault But the Other Driver Is Uninsured or Underinsured?  

If you have Uninsured Motorist Coverage, a lawyer can help you receive compensation from your own insurance company to have your car repaired or recover wages you lost from work because of the accident, or pay your medical expenses. Uninsured motorist coverage also protects you when a hit-and-run driver causes you harm or damages your vehicle.

An Underinsured Motorist policy covers you when a driver’s insurance policy is not sufficient to cover all of your damages. In this instance, the driver’s insurance company only pays up to the driver’s policy limit. For instance, Tennessee requires vehicle owners to have a minimum of $25,000 in liability insurance for each injury or death per accident. So, if your damages totaled $30,000, and the at-fault driver has the $25,000 minimum liability amount, your underinsured policy will pay the remaining $5,000.

What Happens If the Other Driver’s Insurance Company Finds Me Partially Responsible for the Accident?

An insurance company will do whatever it can to hold you responsible for the wreck so the insurer will not have to pay full compensation for your claim. Nonetheless, you can still seek reimbursement for your damages even if an insurance adjuster finds that you contributed to the accident. But, your total amount of compensation decreases based on your percentage of fault. This is based on Tennessee’s comparative fault rule.

For example, if you are 10% percent at fault for the accident, and your damages totaled $30,000, you would receive $27,000 in compensation—a $3,000 reduction.

Can a Lawyer Help Me Determine the Value of My Insurance Claim?

Yes, a lawyer will total the expenses you incurred from the accident to determine the value of your claim. Your expenses may include costs to repair your car, medical bills for treating your injury, and mobility devices you purchased to assist you in recovering from your injury. You can also add non-economic damages to your claim, such as pain and suffering and the emotional stress the accident caused you.

When you have a lawyer on your side, you might receive more compensation than you initially expected to cover monetary losses from your car accident.

Contact Us Today

If another driver blames you for an accident that was not your fault, and you are not sure whether you can file an insurance claim, call OEB Law, PLLC at 865-546-1111 for a free case evaluation.

We can investigate your accident, help you file a claim and handle negotiations so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and the trauma of a car accident instead of disputing with insurance companies.

Car Accidents General

What Kind Of Settlement Should I Expect From A Car Accident In Tennessee?

Every car accident is different. There are different factors, participants, and types of injuries and damages. As such, each case will earn plaintiffs a different settlement amount depending on the specifics of the accident.

If you want an accurate estimate of a possible settlement after a Tennessee car accident, contact a lawyer today. A car accident attorney can review the distinct facts in your case, provide you with an honest assessment of your suit, and help you find short-term and long-term damages you may have previously overlooked.

What should I do after a car accident?

If you were in a car accident, the first thing you should always do is attend to any emergency medical injuries that resulted from the incident. Once you have assessed any injuries and contacted emergency medical services, you need to notify police and take steps to file a police report.

A police report can provide you with an important piece of documentation about your car accident. Police will note your account of the accident, as well as the other driver’s, and will take statements from any eyewitnesses in the area.

While you are waiting for police to arrive on the scene, you can also gather information that can help you prove what happened during the accident. This includes:

  • Contact information of any witnesses you can safely reach; and
  • Photographs of the scene of the accident, including the position of the vehicles, the area around the accident, and the damage to your vehicle.

Be sure to acquire a copy of the police report to document the extent of damages and injuries that resulted from the accident.

What compensation can I collect in a car accident?

After a car accident, you may face extensive property damage and mounting medical costs, especially if the accident resulted in injury or disability. You can seek compensatory damages to cover these losses. Tennessee law allows you collect economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages may include:

  • Actual property damages resulting from the car accident;
  • Medical bills resulting from the accident;
  • Lost wages;
  • Costs associated with loss of services, such as the price of child care or a maid service after a stay-at-home partner suffers a debilitating injury; and
  • Ongoing medical care costs, such as rehabilitation, home remodels to accommodate a disability, and more.

Non-economic damages offer compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional distress. State law caps these claims at $750,000.

In order to collect economic or non-economic damages, you will need documentation proving the amount of money you lost due to the accident. An attorney can help you collect medical bills, employee statements documenting lost wages, and other bills to prove your right to compensation.

How can I seek compensation for my damages?

Because Tennessee is a fault state, the at-fault driver’s insurance company—or the driver himself—is responsible for the damages that resulted from the accident.

If the other driver is at fault for the accident, you have several options to recoup the damages you suffered as a result of the accident. You may:

  • File a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, providing documentation for your property damages and medical expenses;
  • File a claim with your own insurance company, which can work with the driver’s insurance company or the driver to recover costs; or
  • File a lawsuit in civil court against the driver.

An attorney can help you file these claims and will ensure that your requested compensation covers all of the damages you suffered in the accident. In some cases, an insurance company may try to minimize the settlement of the claim by trying to offset the fault determination or deny your claim outright. In these cases, an attorney can serve as a zealous advocate to get you the compensation you deserve.

What if I was at fault for my accident?

If you were partially to blame for the accident, you may still be able to recover compensation for your damages. Tennessee law follows the modified comparative negligence model for determining civil claims.

Put simply, a determination of fault will offset your ability to collect damages. If you to have $10,000 in damages, but were 10% at fault for the accident, you can only collect $9,000. If you are more than 50% at fault for the accident, you lose any entitlement to collect for damages.

When should I file a lawsuit?

In some cases, the at-fault driver may not have had adequate insurance to cover the damages that resulted from your accident. In these cases, you may file a civil suit to collect the damages directly from the driver.

Time is of the essence when filing a civil suit for a car accident. In most cases, you only have one year from the date of the accident to file a personal injury suit. An attorney can help review the unique facts in your case, determine the extent of your damages, and gather the evidence you will need to proceed with your case.

Should I contact an attorney about my car accident?

Car accidents suits, like many other types of personal injury cases, have strict filing deadlines and require extensive documentation and expert witness testimony to prove the alleged damages. An experienced attorney can meet those deadlines and provide the evidence needed to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your losses.

The car accident lawyers at OEB Law, PLLC can help ensure that your claim or lawsuit is sufficient to cover the extent of your damages, help you navigate the courts, and fight to get you a fair settlement. Call us today for a free consultation at 865-546-1111.

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What are the Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?

If you suffered an injury in a car accident, there are several good reasons you should hire a car accident lawyer. A skilled lawyer can help you navigate the claims process to ensure that you receive the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.

At OEB Law, PLLC, our car accident attorneys can help you recover damages after your car accident. Call us at 865-546-1111 to schedule a case evaluation.

What are the benefits of hiring a car accident lawyer?

Car accident attorneys have experience navigating the legal process. They can help you file a claim with an insurance company or file suit against a liable party.  

An attorney may keep you from settling too early.

If you settle your claim too early—before you know the full extent of how your injuries will affect your life and your job—you may miss out on compensation you will need to cover future costs related to your accident. Insurance adjustors often try to get injured people to settle quickly without a lawyer to advise them. If you accept an early settlement, you waive all rights to additional money for the accident, regardless of whether you develop new complications.

If you were in a car accident, call our lawyers immediately. We can help you determine if a settlement offer is fair and keep you from losing out on money you may need in the future.

He or she will keep you from giving statements that will damage your case.

After a car accident, the insurance company of the at-fault party may ask you to provide a written or recorded statement regarding your case. If you divulge any information that may hurt your claim, the insurance company can use it against you to avoid paying damages.

Insurance companies use this tactic regularly, especially if you have not yet hired a car accident lawyer for your claim. The insurance company can ask trick questions and take your responses out of context. This may make it look as if the accident was your fault, and not the fault of the other driver.

If the insurance company of the at-fault driver requested a statement, it is important to contact our lawyers before divulging any information regarding your case. We can help make sure you provide the information needed without jeopardizing your right to compensation.

An attorney can stand up against strong-arm or scare tactics.

Insurance adjustors are under a lot of pressure from their supervisors to settle cases for as little money as possible. When you have suffered an injury in a car accident, you are vulnerable. You may be in pain and scared about your future. You may be on medication that makes it difficult to think clearly. A lawyer will protect your best interests while you recover.

The attorneys at OEB Law, PLLC will stand between you and the insurance company and protect you from strong-arm or scare tactics.

Your lawyer will collect the evidence necessary to prove your case.

In order to prove your case, you will need to present evidence related to your accident. This evidence may include police reports of the crash, medical records documenting your injuries, and photos of the accident scene, including skid marks and any dangerous or hazardous conditions that may change after the accident.

You may also need testimony from eyewitnesses, accident reconstruction experts, and other expert witnesses to prove what caused your accident or to prove other important aspects of your claim.

Our lawyers can assist by collecting the evidence you need quickly, before it disappears. We can also issue subpoenas to gain access to evidence that may impact your case, such as security camera footage and cell phone records. These pieces of evidence are often difficult or impossible to obtain without a subpoena. 

An attorney can help determine fault in the accident.

If you were partially at-fault for your accident, you may still qualify for damages. Some states follow the legal rule of comparative fault. This means that an adjustor will proportionally reduce the amount you receive in compensation by the amount of your fault in the crash. Certain states include a caveat that if you were 50% or more at fault in the accident, you will not receive any compensation.

Our lawyers will help you understand the fault rules in your state and determine if your fault in the accident will still allow you to collect compensation for your damages.

A car accident lawyer can calculate your compensation.

Many factors come into play when calculating your compensation after an accident. You must consider the current and future medical costs associated with your injuries, the cost of wages you lose while recovering, and the emotional costs of any pain and suffering you endure. The at-fault party may be liable for extra damages if they behaved in a grossly negligent manner.

Our car accident lawyers can take these factors into account to calculate a reasonable amount of compensation you should receive for your injuries.

We can also determine the sources of compensation after your car accident. In many cases, you will seek compensation from your insurance policy and the policy of the at-fault driver, but depending on the specifics of your case.

The car accident lawyers at OEB Law, PLLC can help ensure that your claim or lawsuit is sufficient to cover the extent of your damages, help you navigate the courts, and fight to get you a fair settlement. Call us today for a free consultation at 865-546-1111.

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Who Is Liable In A Car Accident Owner Or Driver?

If another person wrecked your car while driving it, determining whose insurance policy pays out can be a confusing process. Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to this question. It depends on the policies involved and on the situation that led to another driver being behind the wheel of your car.

If you loaned your car to a friend or family member and they caused a car accident while driving it, you may want to meet with a car accident lawyer. This is especially true if your friend or family member does not have auto liability coverage of their own.

At the OEB Law, PLLC, we can help you understand your Tennessee car insurance policy and its limitations when it comes to other drivers. Call us today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Will my liability insurance cover damages if I let a friend borrow my car and he caused a crash?

Many people believe the at-fault driver’s liability insurance always steps up and covers damages after a crash. While this is generally true, one of the exceptions to this rule is when that driver is behind the wheel of someone else’s car.

Liability coverage does not always follow the driver. In fact, the car owner’s policy is the most common insurance policy to pay out when a driver crashes a borrowed car.

How much coverage this policy offers, however, depends on its language. Generally, as long as you gave the other driver permission to drive your vehicle, your insurance will pay out. Some do offer limited coverage when someone else is behind the wheel, so it pays to know what your policy says before allowing someone else to drive your car.

It is true that many insurance policies cover drivers no matter what car they are driving. But this coverage is typically secondary to the car owner’s policy. These policies may also include limitations and exceptions. Some will only pay if the driver’s usual vehicle is unavailable, for example.

Imagine you loaned your neighbor your car. He did not stop in time and rear-ended another vehicle at a stop sign. Your insurance would cover the damage to the other person’s car and their medical bills up to its policy limits. If their damages exceed these limits, your neighbor’s auto liability policy should kick in to cover the excess. To repair your vehicle, you will need to carry optional collision coverage, file a claim, and pay your deductible.

The best way to understand how much liability coverage is available after a friend crashes your car is to discuss your situation with our skilled car accident attorneys. We can answer your car accident questions, help you understand the limits of your policy, and let you know what to expect during the claims process.

Am I personally liable for an accident a friend caused in my car?

If you are the owner of the car, your insurance company is likely the primary liability coverage after a crash. Your insurance will pay up to its limits before your friend’s coverage takes over. There are some cases, however, when you might be personally liable for any amount above your policy maximum or for the entire amount.

This is sometimes known as “owner’s liability” or “negligent entrustment.” Under some conditions, people who suffer damages in a car accident can file a lawsuit against both the driver of a borrowed car and the owner of that car.

Excluded Drivers

Auto insurance policies typically include all family members of driving age who live in the home. Occasionally, people need to exclude one or more of these family members from their auto insurance policy in order to bring costs down.

For example, having your 22-year-old son with a poor driving record on the policy covering a sports car may increase the cost of coverage dramatically. But if you exclude your son and he then borrows that car and wrecks it, the insurance company will deny any claims.

Unlicensed or Incompetent Drivers

You know your brother does not have a license but he needs to borrow the car to run a few errands. Or you know your friend has a history of reckless driving but you trust he will drive responsibility while behind the wheel of your car. If you knowingly loan your car to an irresponsible, incompetent, or unlicensed driver, your insurance company may deny your claim. Even if they pay out, the accident victims could sue you based on your negligence.

Drunk Drivers

Never loan your vehicle to someone who has been drinking or who has a history of drinking and driving. It pays to ensure anyone you allow to drive your vehicle is sober and not under the influence of drugs. This can even include over-the-counter drugs that make them drowsy. If you loan your car to someone who is drunk, drugged, or drowsy, you could be partially liable for any accidents they cause. 

Defective Vehicle

While this is rare, occasionally a problem with a car or car part causes an accident. If you knew—or should have known—there was an issue with your vehicle, you could be liable if that issue causes an accident.

If you believe one of these conditions may have played a factor in your case, contact one of our Knoxville car accident attorneys as soon as possible. You will need someone on your side to help you understand complex liability issues and to aggressively protect your assets.

How can I reach a knowledgeable car accident lawyer?

At the OEB Law, PLLC, we can help you understand how your auto insurance policy works. We can analyze the coverage available based on your policy and any other policies in play. We will work to mitigate the effect this accident has on your financial health and help you minimize your liability in the crash. Call our office today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a time to meet with one of our lawyers.