Motor vehicle accidents can happen at any time, anywhere. In 2021, more than 1,300 car crashes with fatalities occurred in Tennessee. In Franklin, Tennessee, 1,359 vehicle accidents resulted in more than 300 injured victims and five deaths.
Each auto accident is different, but some occur more often than others. Data from the National Safety Council revealed more than 41 percent of car crashes in the US are rear-end collisions.
Often, rear-end collisions occur when a car follows too closely behind another vehicle. A rear-end collision can happen when the leading car suddenly stops. Generally, this type of accident does not result in severe property damage. However, passengers can sustain mild injuries that might go unnoticed and result in future complications.
The NSC further reports the type of car crash with the most fatalities are angle collisions. It happens when a car hits another vehicle at an angle, like a side-impact or t-bone collision. This type of accident occurs in residential neighborhoods, intersections, interstates, and highways.
On the other hand, head-on collisions represent more than 26 percent of fatalities. Head-on collisions occur when two vehicles from opposite directions smash each other. The consequences of a head-on collision can be severe in terms of injuries and property damage. It is especially true if the crash happened at high speeds.
If you or a loved one suffered harm in a vehicle accident, the best approach is to hire a car accident lawyer. Personal injury law firms usually provide free consultations for car accident victims. Car accident attorneys can guide you in building a solid accident claim to receive maximum compensation for your losses.
Why should I see a Franklin car accident lawyer?
Attorneys with personal injury cases as their practice area have the experience and expertise to navigate relevant legal processes. Moreover, studies show injury victims get maximum compensation with a car accident attorney present.
Suffering a serious injury or a permanent disability is another reason victims seek legal representation. Paying thousands of medical bills and rehabilitation is no easy feat. In addition, a persistent injury can trigger a lifetime of pain and suffering.
Another instance is when multiple drivers are involved, and you are unsure who is at fault. A car accident attorney can help you create a credible claim to avoid being stuck with the bill. It is particularly true when the other party’s insurance company attempts to redirect the blame to you.
Sometimes, the insurance company will refuse or delay paying a settlement offer. You want to ensure that you have a reliable legal team to protect your interests and represent you in negotiations.
Further, having a personal injury lawyer will be advantageous if you file a lawsuit against the other party. They are knowledgeable about court processes and will assist you until a judge or the jury renders a verdict.
Lastly, you only pay a lawyer’s contingency fee once the car accident case is won and settled. You should not need to worry about legal fees while the insurance company processes your personal injury claim.
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What To Do After an Auto Accident
The injury victim’s primary goal after a vehicle accident is to stay safe and alert. The moments after a vehicle accident can be disorienting, especially if you sustained injuries. It is essential to prepare yourself for the worst.
Stay at the accident scene
Do not leave, but move to a sidewalk or other safe area to avoid further injuries. Be sure to secure pets, kids, seniors, and the disabled. If a toddler is in a car seat, wait for medical professionals before moving them as much as possible. They might have sustained injuries that can worsen if you move them.
In addition, keep your hazard lights on and set up reflective emergency triangles. It is to notify other drivers of a car crash and that they need to slow down.
Call the police
Once you are in a safe area, call 911. Calling law enforcement officers is essential and legally required in some states. The officer will file a police report detailing the vehicle accident and document the accident scene. Be sure to take note of the officer’s badge number, name, and contact information.
Police reports are essential in car accident cases as they can help with the claims process with your insurance company.
Depending on your area, police may not respond if you were in a minor collision. In this case, go to the nearest police station as soon as possible to file a report.
Seek medical treatment
Even if you do not see any injuries, seek medical care as soon as possible. You should do this when the victims are children, older adults, or incapacitated people.
Additionally, some insurance companies consider how soon you had your injuries checked. It affects how much compensation they will award to injury victims. Delaying having your medical needs checked can be used against you regarding the severity of your injuries.
Exchange contact information with other drivers
Get the name, contact information, and insurance of other drivers. If their name does not match their vehicle registration or insurance documents, ask about the driver’s relationship to the car’s owner.
If witnesses are at the accident scene, reach out and obtain their names and contact information. If permitted, you can also record their account of the accident on video or audio.
Document the scene
Take photos and videos of the accident scene from multiple angles. Aside from capturing all four corners of each car, take pictures of any property damage and leaking fluids. Note the vehicle information of all the drivers involved. It includes make and model, year, color, license plate number, and vehicle identification number.
In addition, take pictures of any damage in the car’s interior, including broken windows and deployed airbags. Also, document the surrounding area, especially if a missing traffic sign or broken traffic light caused the accident.
Be sure to take photos of your injuries, mainly cuts and bruises. It can serve as evidence when you start the claims process.
Common car accident injuries
The NSC stated car accidents are one of the most typical causes of preventable injuries. In 2020, they revealed that medically consulted injuries from vehicle accidents amounted to more than $4 million.
Specifically in Tennessee, more than 25 percent of car crashes result in an injury. These statistics prove how auto accidents can be debilitating to passengers.
Vehicle accidents might result in serious facial, back, and neck injuries. But the aftermath of an accident does not always lead to physical losses. There have also been instances where a crash led to emotional injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Whiplash is the most typical car crash injury. It occurs when the neck whips back and forth. It is dangerous as the neck provides thin support for the much heavier head. Car passengers can sustain whiplash regardless of whether the vehicle hits them at high speed or not.
Warning signs of whiplash generally develop several days after the accident. It includes neck pain, loss of range of motion, headaches from the base of the skull, dizziness, and fatigue. Sometimes, numbness or tingling in the arms and tenderness or pain in the upper back, shoulder, or arms can also happen.
Whiplash injuries can take a few weeks to heal. However, there have been cases where people endure pain between several months and years after the accident.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
Like whiplash, sudden rapid head movement can result in traumatic brain injuries (TBI). There are two types of TBI: closed and penetrating brain injuries.
Closed brain injury occurs when the brain moves inside the skull and causes brain tissue and blood vessels to bruise or tear. Meanwhile, penetrating brain injury happens when a foreign object breaks into the head, like a bullet piercing the brain.
Car accidents often result in closed brain injury unless shrapnel lodges onto the head and puncture the skull. Data from the National Library of Medicine state one out of 61 occupants suffers from concussions in tow-away crashes. Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries when the brain jostles from external trauma.
Symptoms of concussions may appear anytime between a few minutes and several months after the accident. It includes difficulties concentrating, blurred vision, anxiety or depression, and irregular sleep patterns.
Cuts, lacerations, bruises
Loose objects in the vehicle scatter upon impact, leading to penetrating injuries like cuts, lacerations, and bruises. Likewise, a broken windshield or window can lead to this type of injury.
Suppose you suffered cuts or lacerations during an accident. In that case, the best approach is to wait for a medical professional to remove it. It is to avoid further bleeding and possible infections.
Similarly, bruises are common after a car crash. Most bruises can heal on their own. But internal organs like the heart might also bruise with compression to your chest. It may lead to complications, so do not ignore bruises that may seem harmless and have them checked immediately.
This type of injury can happen even if passengers wear seatbelts and might not be readily noticeable. A lot of different factors contribute to passengers suffering bone fractures. It includes being ejected from a car upon impact during a vehicle accident and slamming forward into the seatbelt.
The most common bones to break after a vehicle collision include the arms and the wrists. A passenger’s instinct is to place their hands on the dashboard or throw their arms out during a crash. It increases the risk of arm and wrist fractures. When a fracture occurs, there will most likely be swelling, and the victim cannot move the injured part.
Who is at fault in a Franklin car crash?
Insurance companies carefully evaluate the police report and other relevant evidence before determining who is at fault. They may also speak with all the drivers involved to obtain a reliable and complete account of what transpired.
Determining fault is crucial when filing a personal injury claim. It dictates the damages a victim can receive and how much the driver at fault needs to pay. Generally, insurance companies look at several factors when evaluating who is liable for a car crash.
Usually, one of the drivers involved is liable for an auto accident. But when both drivers share responsibility, the insurance adjusters assign fault percentages to them. There will also be times when a driver not involved in the accident is liable. This situation is common in multi-vehicle crashes.
For instance, a driver swerves out of the way when they see a speeding vehicle about to rear-end them. It causes the vehicle to side-swipe another car in the next lane. In this case, the speeding vehicle is at fault for the collision. They ignored their responsibility to follow traffic rules and drive safely.
Drivers are not only those who can be liable for an accident. The car manufacturer could be at fault if a malfunctioning car caused an auto accident. Injury victims from crashes due to defective vehicles can file a product liability claim for their losses.
Three types of defects pose a liability to manufacturers: design, manufacturing, and marketing.
Design defects describe inherent flaws that existed before the product was even manufactured. In Tennessee, the victim has the burden of proof. It means they have to prove the defect’s existence instead of the manufacturer proving it does not exist.
Manufacturing defects are flaws that occur during the production of the product. In this case, only a few similar products are flawed.
Lastly, marketing defects define improper instructions and a lack of warnings to notify consumers of the product’s dangers.
Local and state government contractors
Government entities or their contractors can be at fault when poor road conditions cause a vehicle accident. It includes potholes, missing traffic signs, and malfunctioning traffic lights.
Governments are legally required to keep public roads in top condition. For example, a city in Tennessee fails to repair a significant road obstruction. The jury can make presentments for a misdemeanor against the municipality’s officials and the mayor for their oversight.
Recoverable Damages in a Car Accident Claim
Tennessee has financial responsibility laws that ensure defendants can compensate injury victims in case of accidents. Liability car insurance does not pay for the policyholder’s injuries. It covers both bodily injury and property damage of the other party.
Each liability insurance has a minimum of $60,000 applicable to one accident. Specifically, a split-limit policy applies to the coverage based on the outcome of each accident.
- $25,000 for physical injury or death of a person
- $50,000 for physical injury or death of two or more persons
- $10,000 for damage to property
Comparative negligence rules
Each state follows a comparative negligence rule that dictates the damages a plaintiff can receive in personal injury claims. This rule depends on the degree of fault each party contributed to the accident.
When a victim is partially liable for the accident, the court assigns a percentage of fault to the plaintiff and the defendant. For example, the court gives 70 percent of the responsibility to the defendant and 30 percent to the plaintiff. Then, the victim may only recover 70 percent of the damages.
Tennessee follows modified comparative negligence rules. It means the plaintiff will not recover damages if the court finds them 50 percent or more at fault.
Each personal injury claim can recover compensatory damages for an injured victim’s losses. There are two types: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages provide the monetary amount to replace financial losses an injury caused to a victim. It includes medical bills, medical treatments, lost wages, rehabilitation, transportation, and property damage.
Non-economic damages compensate for other losses. It covers loss of earning capacity, mental anguish, trauma, disfigurement, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
Find an Expert Car Accident Attorney in Franklin, TN
Personal injury claims can be overwhelming, especially for car accident victims with serious injuries. Confusing legal matters tend to intimidate people and discourage them from filing a case. Car accident lawyers can bear this weight off them so that they can focus on their speedy recovery,
The Personal Injury Center has the resources and knowledge to help you with your car accident claim. You may browse through The Personal Injury Center’s comprehensive collection of legal articles for information on how to address your concerns.
You may book a free consultation if you wish to have a case review. The Personal Injury Center has a database of personal injury lawyers to handle your case.
FAQs on Car Accident Lawyer Franklin
Personal injury claims, like car accident cases, must be filed within one year of the accident. If the timeframe has lapsed, victims may no longer file a lawsuit related to the car accident.
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) ensures compensation if a hit-and-run driver or an uninsured driver is liable for an accident. This insurance covers medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and funeral expenses. The minimum limits of UM in Tennessee are similar to the liability car insurance limits discussed earlier in this blog post.
While each car accident case is different, settling usually takes a few weeks to several months. Depending on your claim's severity and complexity, it can take longer.