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 the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, 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.