Memphis Car Accident Lawyer

Auto accidents are a fact of life. It can happen no matter how cautious you are. While some result from force majeure, others occur due to plain negligence. You can avoid the latter if the other party exercises the necessary diligence. 

Memphis, Tennessee, has some of the deadliest streets in the US, where many fatal car wrecks happen. The city ranked third among those with the most pedestrian fatalities in 2020. One reason is the significant rise in automobile ownership in metro areas. The local government built the Memphis streets to accommodate high-speed travel.

Another aggravating factor is the area’s inclement weather. Earlier this year, several accidents happened around the mid-South of Tennessee due to slick and icy streets. Because of the harsh climate, three car accidents occurred along I-55 and S.Third, involving 12 vehicles. Apart from that, two vehicles collided along Summer Avenue and another three cars at U.S.-64 and I-40. 

When you or a loved one gets in a car collision in Memphis, it’s best to speak with a car accident lawyer. They can guide you in collecting evidence proving the at-fault driver’s liability. They can also help you receive the compensation you truly deserve. 

If you need help finding a Memphis car accident attorney, contact The Personal Injury Center. They can introduce you to a seasoned car crash lawyer in the area. 

Have you recently been injured in an accident?

Featured On Dolman Law Group

According to the Medical The Personal Injury Center, medical errors cause serious injuries to or the premature deaths of up to 200,000 people a year. Fewer than 20 percent of the victims of medical malpractice file lawsuits against the providers who injured them.” 

Read the full article here.

Two Common Causes of Car Accidents

Car accidents, for the most part, are unintentional. If all drivers follow road rules diligently, these accidents won’t happen. Most of the time, a mistake must have been made, whether conscious or not. These mistakes cause accidents, which could be minor fender-benders or crashes involving numerous serious injuries and casualties. 

Most of these wrecks don’t just have a single cause attributed to one car, one driver, or one-third party. In most cases, there are various causes involved. Allowing a thorough investigation reveals the facts of the accident lets you build a strong compensation case. 

Here are two of the most common causes of car accidents in Memphis. 

Distracted driving

Distracted driving is when a driver engages in activities that draw their attention and focus away from the road. This distraction can either be manual, visual, or cognitive. Texting while driving is a particularly hazardous form of distracted driving, as it simultaneously involves all three types of distractions.

  • Cognitive distraction

This happens when the driver is not entirely focused on driving because they’re busy thinking about something else. Examples include talking to passengers, listening to loud music, or zoning out and thinking about personal problems. 

  • Visual distraction

This occurs when the driver’s eyes are not fixed on the road ahead because they’re looking for something else. Examples include looking for objects inside the car, checking a GPS device, or watching a video on a mobile phone.

  • Manual distraction

This occurs when the driver removes one or both hands from the steering wheel for any reason. Examples include eating, drinking, reaching behind, or handling a mobile device.

Local officials proposed and passed the Hands-Free Law to lessen the casualties from distracted driving. Also known as Public Chapter No. 412, the law took effect on July 1, 2019. It amended the traffic safety provisions in Chapters 8 and 10, Title 55 of the Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA). From that date onwards, the following acts, provided under Section 55-8-199 of the TCA, became illegal in Tennessee: 

  • Use any body part to hold a mobile device
  • Compose, read, or send any form of text message 
  • Reach for your mobile device in a way that requires you to leave a seated driving position or release your seat belt
  • Watch movies or videos on your cellphone 
  • Broadcast or record videos using your mobile device

Driving under the influence (DUI)

Drinking under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is prohibited in Memphis and all of Tennessee. This refers to operating a motor vehicle impaired by alcohol, drugs, or other addictive substances. A DUI is a serious offense as it endangers the lives of the driver, passengers, and pedestrians on the road.

DUI laws vary by jurisdiction. In most cases, if a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit, authorities can charge them with DUI. DUI convictions can lead to steep fines, license suspension or revocation, fines, jail time, and other legal consequences.

BAC threshold 

Memphis follows Tennessee’s .08 per se BAC, which presumes the driver is drunk. You’re also liable for enhanced penalties if your BAC is extremely high, like above .20.

Tennessee’s “Zero Tolerance Policy” applies to children and adults under 21 years old involved in DUI. This means that if a minor has a .02 BAC while driving, they’re guilty of DUI even if they’re not drunk. If the said individual is within the 16 to 20 age bracket, they will receive the following punishments: 

  • Community service 
  • $250 fine 
  • License revocation

Sentences and penalties

You can go to jail even if you’re a first-time DUI offender in Tennessee. Offenders usually spend a minimum of 48 hours in prison. This can go longer to seven days if your BAC is .20 or higher. 

In more severe cases, a first-time offender can spend almost a year and pay a $350 to $1,500 penalty. The authorities can also revoke your license for a year and have you attend a drug and alcohol treatment program. 

The penalty is worse for repeated offenses. Aside from jail time, fines, and other liabilities, the judge may also order restitution for every individual you harmed because of the DUI incident. 

Suppose a police officer flags you down, requests a BAC test, and you refuse. In that case, your license can be revoked for at least a year if you’re a first-time offender. Again, the length of revocation increases depending on the frequency you commit the same offense.

Have you recently been injured in an accident?

Standard Procedure After an Accident

A car accident can be overwhelming, whether or not you have severe injuries. Car crash victims should do the following right after an accident to ensure everyone’s safety and claim the correct compensation. 

Check everyone involved

The priority in a car accident is ensuring the safety and welfare of the parties involved. Be sure to exit your vehicle and document the situation by taking photographs, regardless of the circumstances. 

As soon as you can ensure your safety, check other people involved in the accident. Someone could be fatally wounded. In this case, call emergency personnel right away for anyone needing medical attention. When you can move your vehicle, take it to a safe place out of traffic and park it there.

Contact local authorities 

You should call the police to report the accident, even if there’s no one injured. Do this even if it seems like the accident only incurred minimal damage. This is especially true if you or another driver is drunk or on drugs. The drunk driver can be held responsible for any damages resulting from the impairment they caused.

Remember that a police report is vital when claiming insurance. If you cannot contact the local authorities, you should head to the nearest police station.

Gather photo and video evidence 

Modern phones enable everyone to document everything, including car crashes. Documenting the accident is vital to prove who’s liable.

If using your smartphone, take pictures of the scene from multiple angles and include other details that help support your story. If you have a digital camera, use its zoom function to capture details that might not be obvious from far away.

Aside from photos, video recordings can also determine the sequence of events during an accident. You can configure the video footage with timestamps and dates to verify the accuracy of the recording. Capture audio along with the video. This may include relevant voices or sounds that may further explain the accident.

Collect vital information 

It’s vital to gather everyone involved in the accident’s name, address, phone number, and driver’s license. It’s also essential to know the car’s manufacturing year, make and model, color, license plate number, and vehicle identification number.

If any injured individual or witnesses can offer insight into the circumstances of the incident, collect their contact information as well. Follow up with them later when you’ve settled in.

Avoid making deals about the damage

Car accidents may cause traffic and inconvenience other motorists, but drivers shouldn’t let that rush the process. Drivers should stop making deals about damage payments with each other and go for an insurance claim. 

You should not try settling with another driver or repairing your car without contacting your insurance company first. You might risk losing out on what could have been a much larger payout. Suppose you agree to receive $1,000 for repairs but later find out the actual cost is closer to $10,000. In that case, your insurance company will not cover any extra cost. The deficit will likely be an out-of-pocket expense. 

Call your insurance company 

It’s vital to call the insurance company right after the accident and before fleeing the accident scene. You should also call the other driver’s insurance provider if the people involved don’t contact them. Your insurance company can help you start the claims process and inform you of what steps to take next.

Get in touch with your lawyer 

It’s vital to call a personal injury lawyer immediately after the accident. A personal injury lawyer can help car accident victims in various ways. 

First, they can help you understand the situation and answer any questions. Second, you can ask them to explain your legal options and how the accident may impact your future. Third, your lawyer is there to help you recover damages from the responsible party and ensure your rights are protected.

In addition to all these, your lawyer will also help guide you through the legal process. They’ll ensure that all the proper steps are taken.

Why Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

No law prohibits you from handling the after-effects of a car accident yourself. The law also doesn’t demand a person to hire a car accident lawyer to deal with the at-fault party and insurance firms. 

However, working with a legal professional can lift the burden off your shoulders. Whether settling with the at-fault party and their insurance firm or filing a lawsuit, it’s easier with a lawyer.

If you’re still on the fence about hiring a legal representative, here are reasons to convince you. 

Thorough claims investigation

A personal injury victim can claim three types of damages in Memphis – economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Economic damages 

Economic damages are one of the compensatory damages an accident victim can claim against the at-fault party. Also known as “specials” or “special damages,” this damage type intends to compensate the victim for all the accident-related monetary losses. 

Documents like your medical records, hospital bill, or estimate from your mechanic must back these alleged losses. Here are examples of economic damages from a car accident case. 

  • Medical bills 

This includes everything from physical therapy to surgeries. In Memphis and the rest of Tennessee, plaintiffs can recover medical expenses from the time they file a case and future medical costs. 

  • Lost income 

This claim includes the income you failed to earn because you were recuperating from your car accident injuries. This can also include income losses when you had to take a lower-paying position because of your injuries.

Like medical expenses, a plaintiff can also claim income from when they incurred the injury until they filed the case. Additionally, they may be entitled to lost future income due to the accident. 

  • Property damage 

Plaintiffs may recover the cost of replacing or fixing damaged property because of the accident. Car repair or replacement is this category’s most common type of damage.

Non-economic damage

On the other hand, non-economic damages aim to compensate the victim for all the non-monetary repercussions of the accident. The most common types of non-monetary damages are the following: 

  • Pain and suffering

Due to the subjective nature of physical pain, it’s challenging to prove. Insurance companies, judges, and juries must consider various factors to determine the worth of one’s pain and suffering. These factors may include the injury type, prescribed medication, recovery duration, and injury permanence. 

  • Emotional distress

Also known as “mental anguish,” emotional distress can be as impactful as physical pain. Like pain and suffering, measuring and assigning value to this kind of loss is also challenging.

  • Loss of consortium

Suppose a loved one was in an accident and consequently lost their ability to provide affection and companionship; In that case, you may receive compensation for these losses. 

Non-monetary damages are difficult to prove. In addition to testimony from people familiar with your accident and recovery, keeping good records can help.

Punitive damages

The aim of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party for bad behavior and discourage it in the future. To get punitive damages in Tennessee, the plaintiff must prove through clear evidence that the defendant acted recklessly, fraudulently, or maliciously.

Malicious conduct refers to intentional actions meant to harm the victim. Fraudulent conduct, on the other hand, involves deliberate deceit to deprive victims of their legal rights or property. Reckless conduct involves grossly negligent behavior, such as driving under the influence or firing a gun in a public place.

Your lawyer can help establish all these types of losses and calculate reasonable and fair compensation for each. They will include these claims in your pleading and argue why you deserve maximum compensation in court.

Represent you through negotiations and trials

Hiring a personal injury attorney can ensure that you receive the full compensation owed to you by the insurance company promptly. Your lawyer will work on your behalf to negotiate with the insurance company, preventing delays or attempts to evade payment.

If necessary, they will represent you in court to protect your rights in an injury claim. They are your advocates throughout the negotiation or litigation process until you reach a final settlement.

Let the Personal Injury Center Help 

Most liable parties in personal injury cases intend to hurt anyone. However, that is not a defense against civil or criminal liability. The law safeguards one’s right to life, liberty, and property. There are legal consequences if anyone disregards these safeguards by overt act or omission. The at-fault party may be tried, ordered to pay restitution to the injured, or even sent to jail.

The law punishes wrongdoers and protects the innocent. If you sustained harm due to someone else’s negligence, act now. Visit The Personal Injury Center for help. 

We offer legal resources that educate personal injury victims about their rights. It also has an extensive database of Memphis personal injury lawyers and law firms  to help with their cases.

Have you recently been injured in an accident?

FAQs on Memphis Car Accident Lawyers

The duration of car accident settlements depends on several factors, including the following: 

  • The complexity of the accident
  • Injuries of the victims
  • Admissibility and weight of the evidence submitted to support the claim 

Suppose the liability is clear, the injuries are serious, and the evidence is substantial. In that case, the chances of promptly receiving a fair settlement are high.

However, the process may take longer if there are doubts about the extent of the injuries or the victim's fault. If the insurer unreasonably delays payments on the claim, the victim may have grounds to pursue a bad faith claim against the insurer.

You can choose not to work with a lawyer in this case. However, remember that even seemingly minor injuries can have far-reaching consequences. You may not return to your previous job or participate in your favorite recreational activities.

Additionally, your relationships with family members may also be adversely affected. These factors can be taken into consideration when determining a settlement.

Minor injuries may also result in subsequent complications or damage that may not be immediately apparent. This can cause a loss of income from work or career, which factors into settlements.

You can anticipate these scenarios better with the help of a lawyer. Subsequently, they can assist in obtaining the necessary compensation.

If a car accident leaves you disabled for the rest of your life, you can include lost earning potential in your accident claim. It's best to discuss with your lawyer the appropriate way to determine the value of your lost earning potential.