Auto Accident Attorney In Memphis Tennessee
Memphis Auto Accident Lawyer
Car accident lawyers, how can they help? Most of us drive our cars every day. We drive to work, we drive home after the workday, we drive to run errands like grocery shopping and take our children to their extracurricular activities, and we drive to visit with friends and loved ones. Cars and other personal vehicles are a ubiquitous part of everyday life in the United States. If you’ve been injured in a wreck, it is helpful to speak with an auto accident attorney in Memphis.
This ubiquity is also what makes accidents involving them so common. Every day, thousands of
car accidents occur on American roadways. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 100 people die and 1,000 are injured in car accidents every day. In 2013, a total of 167,831 car accidents were reported in Tennessee.
Car Wreck Lawyers – Overview
A car accident can be fairly minor, resulting in only a few scratches or a dented license plate for one of the cars involved. But not all car accident victims are so lucky. In many cases, car accidents result in serious injuries and vehicle damage for one or more of the drivers involved. The injuries that result from these more serious accidents can leave victims paralyzed or disabled for life or in some cases, dead. This is why it is always good to have an auto accident lawyer on hand.
If you have been involved in a car accident, you could find yourself facing significant expenses related to your losses, whether your losses are related to an injury or damage to your car accident. If the accident occurred on your property, you could also be facing property damage. For any of the losses you experience as a result of a car accident, you are entitled to seek compensation for their worth. For expenses related to injuries, you can do this with a personal injury claim. For damage to your vehicle, you can seek compensation through an automobile insurance claim. If you experienced property damage as a result of a car accident on your home or another piece of private property you own, you can seek compensation through a homeowner’s insurance claim. In any case where you file an insurance claim to seek compensation for your losses, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced auto accident attorney who can act as an advocate for you and your claim.
What Causes Car Accidents?
Car accidents can occur as a result of a variety of types of negligence. Sometimes, accidents occur without being caused by any one party’s negligence – for example, car accidents that occur because of poor weather conditions. Rain and snow can make it difficult for drivers to see out their windshields, putting them at risk of colliding with other cars and stationary objects. When the roadway is wet, it can be difficult for a vehicle’s tires to effectively grip the asphalt and when the road is icy, it can be easy for a car to slide on the ice. Other weather hazards can include hail, sleet, fallen leaves, and high winds.
In other cases, more than one party’s negligence can lead to an accident. As drivers, we have the responsibility to pay full attention to the road and avoid behaviors that can put ourselves, our passengers, and those with whom we share the road at risk. Examples of these behaviors include:
- Distracted driving. Driving while using a cell phone or tablet, eating, putting on makeup or other types of grooming, drinking coffee or other beverages, attempting to restrain a child or a pet, or even simply engaging in an intense conversation with a passenger can cause a driver to shift his or her attention from the task at hand and increase his or her chance of being involved in a collision;
- Drunk driving. In Tennessee and the rest of the United States, it is illegal for an individual with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher to drive a car. The legal BAC limit for individual under the age of 21 and those operating commercial vehicles is lower. Alcohol inhibits an individual’s ability to judge and perceive his or her surroundings and slows his or her reaction time. Drunk driving can result in a charge of driving under the influence (DUI), which can have civil and criminal penalties;
- Reckless behavior. Drivers who purposely engage in reckless behaviors like speeding and disregarding posted traffic warnings can easily cause car accidents;
- Driver error. Drivers are human. Humans make mistakes, sometimes because their faculties fail them and other times simply out of ignorance. On poorly-lit roadways, it can be easy to miss a sign or drift into the next lane. When an individual is driving through an area with which he or she is not familiar, it he or she might become lost or confused and make a mistake while merging or attempting to navigate. Drivers who are fatigued are especially susceptible to this type of mistake;
- Wild animals. Animals, like deer and wild birds, are unpredictable and can dart across a roadway or land in the middle of traffic without warning. Many drivers instinctively swerve to avoid hitting wild animals, which can result in a collision with another vehicle, a pedestrian, or the animal itself;
- Poorly-maintained roadways. In some cases, car accidents occur not because of a driver’s negligence, but because a roadway was poorly maintained or designed. For example, cars can suffer damage when driving through potholes or collide with other vehicles when the lanes on a roadway are not adequately marked. When a traffic light breaks or a sign falls and is not replaced, drivers can become confused and collide with each other and stationary objects; and
- Pedestrians. When pedestrians do not obey the posted signage, they can put drivers at risk of accidents. Pedestrians have the right of way in nearly all situations, but sometimes they can act irrationally or recklessly, causing car accidents.
It is not uncommon for a car accident to have multiple causes. For example, if Driver A was distracted because she was talking on her cell phone while driving and Driver B failed to yield when merging onto the highway, both can be found negligent for their collision.
What if I was Partially At Fault in my Car Accident?
This is a common concern for individuals who are involved in car accidents. Many recognize that although they were not solely responsible for their accident, they were also somehow negligent and could have potentially prevented it from happening. In other cases, an individual does not realize that he or she was partially at fault for his or her accident until the claim is filed and reviewed in court.
The good news is, you can still recover compensation for your damages even if you were partially responsible for your accident. This is because Tennessee follows the doctrine of modified comparative fault. This means that in any car accident where two or more parties suffer damages, the court can determine the percentage of the damages each party was responsible for causing and adjust his or her potential compensation amount accordingly.
To use the example above again, the court might find Driver A to be 70 percent responsible for the collision because she was distracted by her cell phone and Driver B to be 30 percent responsible because of his failure to yield to oncoming traffic. If Driver B is seeking $100,000 in compensation for his damages, he is only entitled to receive up to $70,000, or 30 percent less than he is seeking, because of his fault in the accident.
In Tennessee, a driver may only receive compensation for his or her losses in a car accident if the court finds that he or she is responsible for less than 50 percent of the accident damages. If a driver is even deemed to be 50 percent responsible for the accident, his or her claim may be denied.
Examples of Injuries That Can Result from a Car Accident
An individual can suffer from a wide range of injuries as a result of a car accident. Some of these injuries are minor, like scratches and small cuts. Others can require surgery and months of recovery time to full heal. Others yet can result in permanent disfigurement and disability for a victim in some cases, the injuries that a victim sustains in a car accident can end his or her life. If you would like to know more about person injuries and how our experienced attorines can help you with them, then make sure to look at our Person Injury page.
Examples of injuries that a victim can potentially suffer in a car accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. These are injuries that occur when the head suffers trauma and the brain is injured. They often do not have obvious physical symptoms;
- Broken bones. Small fractures and severe breaks can result from the trauma that the body can experience in a car accident;
- Burns. Drivers and passengers can be pushed close to a vehicle’s engine and suffer from severe burns as a result of a collision or other type of car accident;
- Lacerations. When a windshield or window shatters or a victim is close to a sharp object in a car accident, he or she can suffer from a cut, or laceration. Lacerations can cause profuse bleeding, which can result in oxygen deprivation or shock for a victim; and
- Soft tissue injuries. Whiplash, which is the whipping of the head forward, then back, is a type of soft tissue injury. Others include injuries where the body’s soft tissue is squeezed, crushed, or cut, requiring medical intervention.
These injuries can have life-altering complications, such as the following:
- Paralysis. This is the loss of the ability to move or feel sensation in a portion of the body;
- Muscle damage. When the muscles, ligaments, or tendons in an area of the body are significantly damaged, an individual might suffer permanent reduced use of that muscle group;
- Brain damage. When the brain suffers an injury, an individual could suffer permanent memory loss or reduced cognitive function;
- Disfigurement. When an individual’s face or other parts of the body suffer severe cuts or burns, he or she might never look the same again. This is known as disfigurement;
- Dismemberment. When a limb is caught between two objects or torn off in a collision, sometimes it can not be saved;
- Mental health problems. After a car accident, an individual might suffer from depression, panic attacks, or anxiety about the accident and driving again. These emotional injuries can have as large of an impact on a victim’s life as physical injuries and may require extensive psychological counseling;
- Scarring. Injuries can leave permanent reminders on a victim’s body in the form of scars.
Steps to Take After you are Involved in a Car Accident
If you are involved in a collision, pull off the road if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe, leave your car where it is and get yourself to safety if possible.
If you are able to do so, check on all other individuals involved in the collision. If anybody is unconscious or in need of emergency medical attention, call 911 immediately to have emergency medical services sent to the scene. If nobody is critically injured, call the local police to have an officer sent to handle the accident.
Once the police officer arrives, he or she will document the accident for the official police report. This report includes the date, time, and exact location of the accident, the weather when it occurred, the make and model of each car involved in the accident, and any other circumstances of note. Be sure to take a copy of the official police report to use later as evidence for your personal injury or automobile damage claim. Take down the attending officer’s name, badge number, and contact information in case you need to reach him or her again.
If you have a digital camera or a cell phone equipped with one, take as many photographs of the accident and the damage to your vehicle as possible. You want to be able to tell the story of the accident through pictures – take as many as you feel is necessary to do this.
You will also need the insurance information for all other parties involved in the accident. Take down their insurance providers and policy numbers and share yours with them. If any other parties involved in the accident do not have automobile insurance, note this – you might need to file an uninsured motorist claim to receive compensation for your damages.
If there were witnesses to your accident, take down their contact information as well. You might need to contact them for testimonies later. Only after you have the following should you leave the scene of the accident:
- The other driver’s insurance information;
- Witnesses’ contact information;
- The official police report and attending officer’s contact information; and
- Sufficient photographic evidence of the accident.
After leaving the scene, seek medical care for your injury in a timely manner. Even if you feel your injury is minor, seek medical care anyway to have a doctor confirm its extent. Some injuries are not apparent at first and can become serious if left untreated. By seeking medical care within a reasonable time frame after your accident, you are giving yourself a better chance of making a full recovery and a better chance of receiving the damages you seek by showing that you were truly in need of medical attention.
Once you have received a doctor’s diagnosis and appropriate treatment for your injury, contact an experienced automobile accident lawyer to discuss the next steps toward filing a personal injury claim. He or she can help you obtain all of the necessary pieces of evidence to support your claim and file it on your behalf. Once the claim is filed, your attorney can negotiate with insurance providers and medical professionals on your behalf to help you get the compensation you need.