Car crashes are some of the most common accidents there are. While, statistically speaking, most crashes involve property damage only, many accidents in Tennessee involve mild, moderate, or severe injuries that could lead to expensive medical bills, time away from work, and immense pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, then you should not have to face these bills and costs alone. In fact, you should not even have to pay for these bills and other expenses if someone else caused your crash. Our lawyers can fight to get you reimbursed for any expenses and get your medical care paid for by the at-fault driver.
For a free case review, contact Howe Law’s car accident lawyers today at (844) 876-4357.
Who is at Fault for a Car Accidnet in Morristown, TN?
If you were injured in a car crash, then determining who was at fault for the accident will be a vital part of your case. In most cases, fault can be a contentious issue, with both sides denying blame. However, the law is objective, and there are cold-hard facts we can look at to determine who caused the crash in your case:
Who Hit Whom?
If one driver crashed into another driver who was stopped, the accident is almost definitely going to be blamed on the driver who crashed into the stopped driver. If you were literally doing nothing, you likely cannot be found at fault for that. There is an exception for drivers who were stopped in a place they should not be, such as drivers parked in front of a no parking sign around a blind turn or a driver stopped blocking an intersection.
This question of who did the hitting is not always controlling, though. In some car accidents, the at-fault driver might have jumped out in front of you, giving you no room to stop. Additionally, drivers who “brake check” someone behind them might be at fault even though the driver behind them “hit them.” It is important to have our car accident lawyers look at more details to make sure fault is assigned to the right parties.
Who Broke the Law?
If both drivers were doing everything they were supposed to do, then it is unlikely a crash would happen in the first place. The law places two kinds of obligations on everyone who gets behind the wheel: a general duty to drive in a reasonable way and specific duties put in place by traffic laws. Violations of either of these kinds of duties can put you at fault for a crash.
If a driver ran a red light and hit you while you were passing through a green light, that accident would likely be their fault. If a driver hit you while driving under the influence, that would likely be their fault. In any example, any violation of the law usually puts a driver at fault for the crash.
Were You Responsible?
The biggest hesitation that people have in calling a lawyer or making a claim for their car accident is that they will be blamed for the accident. You might be going through every little thing you “did wrong” before a crash, such as fiddling with the radio or looking down for a second.
In some cases, the victim is found to be partially at fault, but this is not usually a big problem. Courts often look at the totality of the circumstances and might ignore small things that do not really contribute to a crash. They also might ignore slight mistakes in the face of the other driver’s bigger violation, especially if the other driver was reckless or caused the crash intentionally and the victim only did something by mistake.
In Tennessee, under the case McIntyre v. Balentine from the Supreme Court of Tennessee in 1992, we use a “comparative negligence” system. Under this rule, you are only blocked from recovering damages if you are 50% at fault or higher. You can otherwise receive your fair share of damages from an at-fault driver even if you did contribute somewhat to your own accident.
Was the Vehicle’s Owner at Fault?
Sometimes crashes happen because of unsafe vehicles rather than the driver’s mistakes. If the driver was borrowing a car from someone else or they were using a company vehicle, the owner of the vehicle might be responsible for the crash.
Was the Driver a Commercial Driver?
In some cases, the driver who hit you will have been working in the course of their job duties when the crash happened. Commercial truck drivers, delivery drivers, and other people driving as part of their work might be sued directly for their accident, but you can often sue their employer in their place.
Types of Car Accidents We Handle in Morristown, TN
Our car accident lawyers handle all sorts of car accidents, including the ones on this list. However, if you were involved in a different type of crash, still give us a call to see if we can help you:
Low-Speed Crashes, Fender Benders, and Parking Lot Crashes
Accidents at lower speeds are less likely to involve serious injuries, but that does not mean that “fender-benders” never cause injuries. Back injuries, whiplash, and other injuries are quite possible, even at low speeds.
These low-speed crashes are quite common in parking lots where there is no room to get up to speed. Even if these crashes did not happen on the roads, you can still sue another driver for hitting you in an irresponsible way.
Drivers and passengers often suffer injuries when they are hit from behind. The force of impact can push your body forward, leaving your head to snap back into the headrest and then forward again. This motion is the primary cause of whiplash and other neck injuries, which can leave you with surprisingly long-term symptoms.
Low back injuries are often quite common, as are other back injuries in general. It does not even take a high-speed crash to cause serious injuries to the back and neck in a rear-end crash.
Head-on accidents are some of the most dangerous, as the speeds of the cars are essentially added together when they crash into each other, going in opposite directions. If you were hit by a wrong-way driver on the highway or when a driver tried to cross ahead of you to turn left, then you could face substantial injuries. Drivers and passengers can even be thrown from the vehicle in these cases, with the rate of survival going down drastically.
If a driver hits you while they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are likely going to be found at fault for the crash. First, our lawyers can wait and allow the criminal justice system to hold them accountable for the accident. Then, we can use the judgment against them in that case to help prove your civil case, where you can seek monetary damages for your accident.
Drivers who are under the influence cannot react as quickly to danger, often causing them to hit you without trying to brake or slow down. These drivers also have worse judgment, potentially meaning they will cause crashes that should have otherwise been avoidable by anyone who was not drunk or high. Always call a lawyer because these crashes are very serious.
Texting and Driving Crashes
If a driver hit you while texting or using their cellphone, they are in clear violation of Tennessee law. However, it is often challenging to prove that they were, in fact, texting. They could have been using their phone as a GPS or for some other purpose, so they will try to deny accusations that they were texting. Ultimately, we will need a combination of evidence to prove these cases, like your testimony that you saw their phone in their hand, along with phone records matching up a sent or received text with the time of the accident.
Do You File an Insurance Claim or Sue for Injuries in a Morristown, TN Car Accident?
How you file insurance claims and whether you have the right to sue after a crash is usually dictated by whether your state is a “no-fault” state or a “fault” state (also called a “tort” state). In a no-fault state, you file with your own insurance for medical bills and lost wages, and you do not need to prove fault. However, you cannot claim damages for pain and suffering and have to pay deductibles on your claims. In a fault state, you file with the at-fault driver’s insurance for any and all damages you can claim but may have some no-fault benefits like MedPay.
Tennessee is not a no-fault state, meaning that we use a fault system instead. In Tennessee, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance to claim damages that your insurance does not cover, but you might also still have some first-party MedPay benefits or other similar policies to cover you. In cases where the other driver did not have insurance, your policy might also cover you.
In at-fault states like ours, you can also sue if you want to. Many insurance claims are slow and hard to negotiate, but when our attorneys file a lawsuit, it can bring the other driver and their insurance companies to the table to negotiate your claim. Ultimately, we can also press the case forward and go to trial if they refuse to settle at a fair value, but most injury cases are ultimately settled before getting to that point.
How Do I Know if My Car Accident Case is Serious Enough to Call a Lawyer?
If you faced injuries in a car crash, you can rest assured that your case is likely serious enough to contact a lawyer. Any injury comes with pain and suffering damages at the very least. These damages are often enough to warrant an insurance claim and potentially even a lawsuit, especially if you faced other expensive damages.
If you had to go to the hospital for your injuries from a car accident, then you will have faced economic damages as well. The cost of getting medical care is expensive. If you were injured through no fault of your own, then there is no reason you should have to pay for this medical care on your own. Our lawyers can help you claim these damages against the at-fault driver.
Additionally, if you missed work because of your injuries, then you could face substantial financial harm. If you had to take time off to heal, that will result in potentially weeks or months of lost wages that you should certainly call a lawyer for help recovering. However, if you now have a disability or chronic pain that keeps you from doing your job at full capacity, that is a very serious issue that you should consult a lawyer about. Car accident injury cases involving ongoing lost wages could be worth quite high-dollar compensation.
While any injury case can involve pain and suffering damages, more serious injury cases involve higher compensation. These damages are commonly based on the severity of your injury as a general factor, and our lawyers can use different calculation methods to estimate these damages.
When to Call a Lawyer for a Car Accident in Morristown, TN
You should always reach out to a lawyer as soon as you can after a car accident. Before talking to any insurance companies or accepting any settlement offers, make sure to review your case with a lawyer. There could be huge areas of compensation the insurance company is missing, and any discussions with them might be attempts to draw out admissions that you were actually at fault. Seek help as early as you can, as the clock is always ticking on your deadline to file your claim.
Call Our Morristown, TN Car Accident Attorneys for a Free Case Evaluation
Contact Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357 to speak with our car accident lawyers about your potential case.