Car accidents are an unfortunately common part of life in northeastern Tennessee. Sullivan County averaged more than 4,000 crashes per year from 2012 to 2016, and more than 1,000 of those each year resulted in injuries. No matter how careful you are on the road, there is a strong possibility that you will end up in a crash, even if it is not your fault.
If you were in a car accident, you might be eligible for compensation for the hardships and expenses you have endured because of the crash. Contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, today to speak with a Kingsport car accident lawyer about your case. Call 865-546-1111 to schedule your free consultation.
Can I get compensation after a car accident?
This will depend on who was responsible for causing the accident. Tennessee employs a modified comparative fault system when it comes to awarding damages after a car accident. This means a court or insurer will assign a percentage of the blame to each party if it was not entirely one person’s fault.
The amount of damages a person is able to collect will correspond with his or her share of the fault. So if the court determines you are 10% at fault, you would only be able to recover 90% of the total damages. You may still file a claim as long as you are less than 50% at fault.
How can a lawyer help me get the money I deserve?
Our attorneys will begin by calculating your compensatory damages and informing the other driver’s insurance company through a demand letter of the compensation we will seek on your behalf. This compensation can cover a variety of costs associated with your accident.
We will put together medical records that document the suffering you have already endured from the accident, as well as the costs of your treatment and likely future expenses. When needed, we will collect expert testimony from a physician or other medical professional to provide a full picture of what your recovery will entail.
Time you spend recovering from your injuries after an accident is time you are not working. We can find documentation and testimony that will establish how the earnings you are missing are affecting your life and how lost benefits, promotions, bonuses, or pensions are likely to impact you in the future.
Pain and Suffering
Not all losses are as easy to quantify as medical expenses and wages. Long-term emotional or mental suffering can cause as much disruption to your quality of life as your immediate medical issues. There are a variety of ways to calculate the damages you may experience for your pain and suffering. We can review your options.
Additional damages may be available in cases where the defendant acted in an egregious manner. If we seek punitive damages on your behalf, state law requires proof that the other driver acted recklessly, maliciously, fraudulently, or intentionally. Our attorneys can perform the necessarily leg work to build this part of the case, including interviewing witnesses or reconstructing the accident scene.
Do I need to report my car accident?
According to code 55-10-106 of Tennessee state law, motorists must immediately report any accident that results in death, injury, or more than $50 in property damage. If police did not respond to the scene of your accident, you must report your crash as soon as possible.
Once you report the accident to authorities, they will document the details of your crash. This police report on the accident will likely be the official account that insurers or a judge will consult when determining liability and damages. The statements and evidence you provide will be important, so if you took any photos of the scene or collected the contact information of an eyewitness, pass this information along to authorities.
You will also need to notify your insurance company of what happened so the claims process can begin. All drivers in Tennessee must carry, at a minimum, the following insurance coverage:
- $25,000 to cover the injury or death of one person;
- $50,000 to pay for total bodily injuries or deaths per accident; and
- $15,000 in coverage for property damage.
How long do I have to file a claim or lawsuit?
Tennessee’s statute of limitations laws vary depending on the incident, but in most cases there is a one-year deadline to file a lawsuit for an injury or wrongful death claim resulting from a car crash. This means you must take action within one year from the day you realized you suffered a specific injury—or one year following the death of a spouse—even if that is not the same day the accident occurred.
The statute of limitations only applies to civil actions. Insurance companies might have different deadlines for filing a claim, but it is always a good idea to file a claim as quickly as possible.
Do I need a lawyer?
With everything else you will be dealing with in the aftermath of a car accident, the complicated process of filing an insurance claim or a civil suit can add stress to your life in a difficult time. The car accident attorneys with the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can guide you through the claims process to get you the compensation you deserve. We are ready to take your case and will fight to get you a fair settlement so you can focus on your recovery. Call 865-546-1111 for a free consultation.