Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury
Nashville Personal Injury Attorney Answers FAQs
- How do I know if I have a personal injury claim?
- What is the Tennessee statute of limitations on personal injury cases?
- What damages can I claim in a Tennessee personal injury lawsuit?
- I may be partially responsible for my personal injuries. Do I still have a case?
- I already talked to the insurance company. Can I still file a lawsuit?
- Can I file a personal injury claim for my child?
- What is my personal injury claim worth?
- How long will my case take?
- What should I bring to my initial consultation with an attorney?
- How much does it cost to hire a Nashville personal injury attorney?
How do I know if I have a personal injury claim?
In general, if you sustain personal injuries in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills and expenses through insurance claims and/or a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, for a successful personal injury claim, the elements are as follows:
- The person responsible for the accident owed you a duty of care. For example, every driver must respect the rules of the road, pay attention and exercise caution when necessary to protect everyone from a car crash.
- The at-fault person breached that duty. Usually, this means that the other person was negligent in some way. In car accident cases, for instance, negligence can include driver mistakes, drunk driving, carelessness and driver distraction, like texting while driving.
- This negligence was a direct cause of your personal injuries. Additionally, multiple parties may be to blame for your injuries. For example, if a drunk driver caused your car crash, he or she will likely be at least partially liable for your injuries. However, if your car has defective airbags, such as a Takata airbag, you may sustain even worse injuries than you would have otherwise. In a case like this, you may be able to collect compensation from both the driver and the airbag manufacturer.
- The accident resulted in actual damages. Even if someone’s negligence caused your accident, you likely will not have a personal injury claim unless you sustained monetary damage to your property or health. For example, if someone backs into your car in the parking lot, but you are not hurt and your car is undamaged, you likely do not have a claim.
What is the Tennessee statute of limitations on personal injury cases?
In Tennessee, the statute of limitations on both personal injury and wrongful death cases is one year. This means that you generally have one year from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. You also generally have one year from the date of a loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim. However, in some situations against government entities, there may be even less time to give notice of a claim. The only way to know for sure when the time limit runs on your claim is to personally speak to an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
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What damages can I claim in a Tennessee personal injury lawsuit?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may recover the following damages through your personal injury claim:
- Medical expenses, including bills for medication as well as ongoing treatment and therapies
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages and benefits
- Loss of quality of life, including loss of companionship in wrongful death cases
- Punitive damages
I may be partially responsible for my personal injuries. Do I still have a case?
Tennessee uses a modified comparative fault system for personal injury claims. This means that the courts will consider the circumstances of your accident and assign a percentage of blame to each person involved. Then, you are free to file a lawsuit as long as you are less than 50 percent responsible for the accident that caused your personal injuries.
Even if you contributed to 49 percent of the accident, you can still recover compensation. The court will reduce the amount of compensation you receive by the percentage the judge and/or jury determines was your fault.
I already talked to the insurance company. Can I still file a lawsuit?
After an accident like a car crash, the at-fault person’s insurance company may try to contact you about your settlement options. These insurance adjusters are often pushy, and may give you misleading information. Their main concern is protecting the interests of the insurance company, not you, the victim. Therefore, it is best that you refuse to speak to the adjuster until you have time to consult a car accident lawyer.
However, even if you have already given a statement to the insurance company, all is not lost! You likely still have time to speak to an attorney and file a car accident claim and/or lawsuit. Calling a lawyer is often the best way to ensure that you get a fair settlement from an insurance company after an accident. Most attorneys, including Stanley Davis, offer free initial consultations, so that you can learn your legal options, free of charge, whether you already spoke to the insurance company or not.
Can I file a personal injury claim for my child?
Child injury cases often include unique challenges, and different laws may apply. When a child is hurt by someone else’s negligence, a parent or legal guardian must file a claim on the child’s behalf.
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What is my personal injury claim worth?
Every personal injury case is different, so there is no way to know how much you may recover in compensation unless you speak to a Nashville personal injury attorney yourself. However, in general, the amount you can recover will depend on the amount and severity of the damages you suffered. In car accident cases, the amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy may also limit your recovery.
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How long will my case take?
The time necessary to settle a personal injury lawsuit can vary widely depending on the circumstances of your particular case. If your claim is relatively simple and your attorney can negotiate a fair settlement from the insurance company, you may receive your settlement within a few weeks or months. However, more complex cases that are brought to trial can take much longer.
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What should I bring to my initial consultation with an attorney?
Our personal injury lawyer offers a free initial consultation so that you and the attorney can determine whether you have an actionable claim. Therefore, if you are preparing for a first meeting with your lawyer, make sure to bring:
- Relevant documentation. Bring everything relating to the accident as well as your injuries and damages. This can include hospital and doctor bills, a police report, photographs or a video of the accident scene and/or information about eyewitnesses. For car crashes and other relevant accidents, bring all information you have about the other driver and his or her insurance policy. You should also bring any notes or journals you kept about the accident, as well as your own account.
- Your questions. Write down any and all questions you may have in the days before your consultation so you do not forget any of them. Write down the answers so you remember.
How much does it cost to hire a Nashville personal injury attorney?
Nashville personal injury attorney Stanley Davis offers contingency fee arrangements for personal injury cases. This means that you pay nothing up front, and owe no attorney fees unless your case is successful.
Stanley Davis has been representing Tennessee personal injury cases for decades, and is a Certified Trial Specialist. His record of success has been recognized across the state, including by the Tennessee Jury Verdict Reporter, which has named him among the most prolific trial lawyers in the state for multiple consecutive years. If you have questions about your personal injury claim, Stanley can answer them today.
“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” (Matthew 7:7, NRSV)