Chattanooga, Tennessee’s fourth largest city, has been nationally acclaimed for its riverfront and downtown redevelopment. The city is also well known for tourist attractions like Fall Color Cruise, Bessie Smith Strut, and the Riverbend Festival. Thrill-seekers love returning here because of its exhilarating caving, mountain climbing, bass fishing, and hand-gliding expeditions.
With all these beautiful things about the city, can you say it’s safe for motorists and pedestrians? Out of 95 cities in Tennessee, Hamilton County ranked fourth in overall crash rate from 2018 to 2022. It’s also among the top five counties in terms of the following:
- Injury crash rate
- Speeding crash rate
- Young driver crash rate (15 to 24 years old)
- Senior driver crash rate (65 up)
In late 2022, two people tragically died after a car running 95 miles per hour hit and wrecked their vehicle. The victims were an elderly couple who were out to celebrate their 54th anniversary. A BMW hit their Silver Buick while traversing Shallowford Road on the 27th of December. Reports later revealed that the driver of the BMW was driving under the influence of addictive substances.
All these suggest that one should be careful when driving on the roads and highways of Hamilton County, specifically Chattanooga. Motorists can prevent deaths if they remain diligent at all times.
If you’re an accident victim and don’t know what to do after a crash, visit The Personal Injury Center. Their legal resources will provide an eye-opener on your legal rights as a personal injury victim. Aside from that, the personal injury lawyers on their database can also help you claim compensation for your medical expenses and injuries.
Featured On Lawyer Monthly
The Medical Malpractice Center provides insights into the causes of deaths in the United States.
“According to the Medical Malpractice Center, the third leading cause of death in the United States is medical malpractice. In fact, statistics indicate that there are 80,000 to 100,000 deaths per year in the US as a result of errors in diagnosis. This reality is something that can’t go unchecked.”
Read more about it here.
Why do car accidents happen in Chattanooga?
Car accidents in Chattanooga happen for several reasons. Here are a few of the common causes of negligent car accidents.
Overspeeding is one of the most prevalent reasons for car accidents. Why? Because you are driving too fast, you cannot react quickly enough to avoid the crash. If you’re going over 80 miles per hour, you are at a higher risk of crashing into something. This is especially true if you’re in a low-visibility area.
Remember that speeding increases the kinetic energy of your vehicle. The faster you drive, the more likely you will collide with another car or obstacle.
Lack of proper instructional signals and road markings
Road markings direct traffic flow and indicate where drivers should go. On the other hand, instructional signals tell drivers how to proceed when the road changes. When these fail, drivers may not know what to do. This can lead to confusion and accidents.
Improper lane change
Many drivers fail to correctly judge the speed and distance of vehicles around them when making lane changes. This can lead to collisions with other vehicles. This type of accident can happen for many reasons, but often because drivers are distracted and not paying attention to the road.
Another reason improper lane changes occur is speeding, making it challenging to make an accurate turn or stop at the proper time.
Drivers should always check their mirrors before changing lanes. They should only turn into a busy street if there’s space to move into safely.
Drivers often have to make quick decisions to avoid hitting another vehicle at dangerous intersections. This can sometimes lead to accidents because one driver may not pay enough attention or see another car approaching them.
If you’re driving in Chattanooga, be careful of these intersections:
- Off-ramp, northbound towards Hixson Pike from Highway 153: There are safety signs in place, but most motorists still pull up, merge, and continue driving, overlooking the traffic from the bridge.
- Opposite of Number 1: This is notorious for accidents, so motorists should be careful when passing here.
- Left and right sides of I-24 at South and North Terrace and Germantown: Traffic gets congested here during rush hour, so it’s possible for auto crashes to happen.
- 23rd Street and 4th Avenue: Motorists should be careful driving here because this area is notorious for car accidents.
Bad weather conditions
Rain can make roads slippery and reduce visibility, causing drivers to lose control of their vehicles and make mistakes. These can result in head-on collisions and other car accidents. When strong winds accompany the rain, even experienced drivers can be at risk of losing control.
In addition to rain, winter storms can cause car accidents in Chattanooga. As snow piles up on roads and highways, it becomes more difficult for drivers to see clearly through their windshields. They may realize too late that they are approaching other vehicles or obstacles.
It’s not hard to understand why drunk driving can cause accidents. When you’re drunk, your reaction time slows, and your judgment becomes impaired. This makes it hard for you to drive safely, which can result in a car accident.
Most Common Injuries from Chattanooga Car Accidents
Car accidents can be severe and even deadly. If you’re in a collision, you could suffer from a wide range of injuries. Here are some of the most common injury types that occur in Chattanooga car accidents:
Whiplash occurs when your neck moves back and forth quickly, causing your cervical spine to become unstable. This instability can cause damage to the ligaments of the spine and muscles, resulting in pain, stiffness, or muscle spasms.
Whiplash is likely when colliding with another vehicle at high speeds. The impact can also cause serious damage to the bones and joints in your back. This can happen even if there’s no visible sign of injury afterward, like bruising or swelling.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
A TBI occurs when sudden acceleration or deceleration causes the brain to slam against the skull. This can result in damage to the tissues surrounding it. This can include bruising and bleeding, which may take several weeks or months to heal.
In addition, permanent damage to brain cells may cause memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and other cognitive issues.
Fractures can occur anywhere in your body but most commonly to the arms, legs, and spine. It can include broken elbows, knees, ankles, and wrists. They can also occur in the skull and ribs.
A fracture can be either open or closed. Open fractures are those that break through the skin, while closed fractures do not break through the skin. Both types are serious injuries that require medical attention as soon as possible following an accident.
Soft tissue injuries
Soft tissue injuries include sprains, strains, bruises, and muscle tears. These injuries can occur anywhere on your body but are typically found in the neck, back, and shoulders.
When you’re hurt in a car accident, it is essential to seek immediate medical treatment. You may recover from soft tissue injuries without surgery or invasive procedures.
Lacerations and abrasions
Lacerations are cuts made by something sharp, such as broken glass. Abrasions are scrapes and superficial wounds caused by something rough like the pavement.
Both lacerations and abrasions can be severe, especially if you don’t get them treated early enough. If not treated, they can become infected or lead to scarring.
Burn injuries can happen when an airbag deploys or when the heat from a fire ignites clothing or skin. The resulting burns can range from mild to severe and may require hospitalization or surgery.
Other injuries, including concussions, fractures, internal bleeding, and lacerations, often accompany burns. The best way to treat burns is to get them checked out by a doctor as soon as possible after your accident.
Internal injuries can range from mild bruising of the ribcage to severe damage to the spinal cord and internal organs. They can be tears and ruptures to your body’s muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissues. Injury to internal organs such as the spleen or liver often causes severe pain that will not go away without treatment.
Direct contact with a solid object due to a car accident can cause internal injuries. For example, if a driver loses control of their car and rear-ends yours, it can cause your body to slam into something hard.
What damages can you ask for your car crash injuries?
You can claim compensation for your injuries from an auto accident. These damages include economic or non-economic damages.
Economic damages are reimbursement for the actual cost of treating your injuries. On the other hand, non-economic damages are costs that you can’t easily quantify in monetary terms. These costs include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and reputational damage.
Specific examples of the damages you can pray for include the following:
- Medical bills: This includes payment for the medical treatment you underwent to heal from the injuries you sustained because of the accident.
- Lost wages: If your injuries rendered you incapacitated to work, you can pray for lost wages.
- Pain and suffering: If you suffer from pain or mental anguish after an accident, you can include this in your claim for overall damages.
You can also ask the court for punitive damages. The court awards these to punish the at-fault party for reckless, malicious, fraudulent, or intentional conduct. This also aims to set a precedent for other motorists and encourage them to always be diligent while driving.
How can an auto accident lawyer help you?
Being in a car accident may leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure about what to do next. A car accident lawyer in Chattanooga can help you deal with the situation. Below are specific ways a lawyer can ease your burden.
Establishing who was at fault in a car accident can be challenging. Consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer can help.
A lawyer is well-versed in negligence and how to establish them. They can help you understand your legal options once they determine liability. The knowledge and guidance they provide will help you decide whether or not to make a claim against an at-fault party.
Build your case
If you or a loved one sustains severe injuries in a car accident, you could claim compensation for current and future expenses. However, you must build a solid case to get a fair deal. A car accident lawyer can do this for you.
At your initial consultation, the lawyer will ask questions about the crash to establish legal standing for a personal injury case. They will also discuss potential compensation and how long it will take to complete all these things. They can tell you how they can help with your case based on the circumstances.
When you decide to pursue a case, a car accident lawyer in Chattanooga will start building a case. They will collect the required evidence and documentation to file a claim with the insurance company or court.
Rebut allegations raised by the opposing party
Aside from providing legal advice, lawyers can represent and protect your interests throughout the process. That includes refuting allegations raised by the opposing party by reviewing the evidence provided by both sides. After which, they’ll draft a strong case that lets you tell your story.
For example, the opposing party may falsely claim you were speeding to shift the blame to you for the accident. An experienced lawyer knows how to counter these claims to reduce any fault you may have to a minimum.
Minimizing fault is essential because Tennessee uses modified comparative negligence when determining personal injury awards. Suppose the defendant succeeds in proving you are 50% or more at fault for the accident. Under Section 29-11-102 of the Tennesee Code, you may be unable to claim damages for your injuries.
Calculate the amount of compensation
The compensation you receive depends on the severity of your injuries and the extent of your losses. A car accident attorney can calculate the amount of payment owed.
In most cases, calculating damages involves evaluating your medical records, including doctor reports and hospital bills. They will also speak with witnesses to the accident to establish what happened and determine possible compensation for non-economic damages. A lawyer will also consider other losses, such as lost wages or loss of enjoyment due to your injuries.
Negotiate with insurance firms
The insurance adjusters and their companies will want to settle for as little payout as quickly as possible. A car accident lawyer will ensure a fair settlement for your injuries. They will negotiate a settlement with insurance companies using evidence they gathered as leverage. Insurance companies are more likely to offer reasonable settlements when dealing with a personal injury lawyer.
Ensure adequate representation in court
Remember that you have rights as a car wreck victim under state and federal law. A car accident lawyer can help protect those rights and hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. They can take your case to court and fight for compensation for damages caused by an accident-related injury or death.
Get Help From a Seasoned Car Accident Attorney
The right of a person ends when the right of another begins. As a driver’s license holder, you have the right to drive a vehicle on state roads and highways. However, this right isn’t absolute. The state can penalize you when you violate another person’s right to safety by driving recklessly.
Suppose you get hurt in a car accident. In that case, you need the services of a personal injury attorney to prove the at-fault party’s negligence. The Personal Injury Center has the resources and network of legal professionals to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Visit the site to get a free consultation.
FAQs on Car Accident Lawyer Chattanooga
Several factors impact how much you pay for the services of a Chattanooga car accident lawyer. The most critical factors are the attorney's skill, reputation, and experience. A skilled lawyer with a good track record and years of experience typically drive up the costs.
Another factor is whether you work with a solo practitioner in their law office or a large law firm. The hourly costs may also depend on the type of personal injury case. On average, expect to pay $245 per hour for legal services. A lawyer working on contingency may actually cost more, but that arrangement means you only pay if you win.
Note that lawyer's fees are just one expense. The claimant must typically pay other costs like filing fees and court costs out-of-pocket.
The compensation depends on the case, but there are no caps for economic damages for personal injury cases in Chattanooga. You can claim reimbursement for all expenses you incurred, provided you can legally prove them.
However, a cap for non-economic damages in Tennessee is $750,000 for each plaintiff. Cases involving catastrophic injuries like the death of a child, loss of both limbs, and full-body burns raise the limit to $1 million.
Tennessee is an at-fault state. If you get hurt in an auto crash, and the other driver is negligent, you can recover damages from their insurance firm. You can also sue for additional compensation by filing a personal injury claim.