Personal injury law is the most common litigation, accounting for 97% of the US District Courts’ civil filings in 2020. It aims to protect individuals from the harm caused by someone else’s negligent or intentionally harmful acts.
These cases come in various forms. But many personal injury claims in the US, including Tennessee, involve motor vehicle accidents.
With the deadliest roadways in Tennessee, Shelby County has unsurprisingly recorded 84,949 traffic crash injuries in 2022. As one of its cities, Memphis is also home to many congested and dangerous intersections. This contributed to the number of personal injuries and fatalities in the state.
Accident victims can get compensation for their injuries and other losses through a personal injury claim. However, not every injury qualifies as a personal injury claim and results in damages.
Suppose you or a loved one sustained harm in Memphis, Tennessee, because of another person’s negligence. In that case, you need a Memphis personal injury lawyer to establish that you have a valid claim.
Since personal injury law covers various practice areas, finding the right attorney for a specific case can be challenging. That’s where The Personal Injury Center comes in. With a free consultation, we can help injury victims find a reputable personal injury law firm specializing in their accident cases.
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“Medical malpractice among doctors, hospitals, and surgical offices has surged in recent years. In fact, according to the Malpractice Center, medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in between 80,000 and 100,000 deaths per year.”
Most Common Personal Injury Cases in Memphis, Tennessee
Choosing a lawyer with experience and knowledge in specializing cases similar to yours is essential. It will help maximize your odds of a successful personal injury claim.
The circumstances that lead to an accident case vary. But here are the most common situations that give rise to a personal injury claim.
Motor vehicle accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of many severe injuries and fatalities worldwide. This type of personal injury case can happen in several ways. Sometimes auto accidents result from reckless driving behavior. Still, at other times it’s because of poor road and weather conditions.
The injuries sustained in motor vehicle collisions can have a lifelong impact. Depending on the severity of personal injuries, accident victims may be unable to return to work and their normal life.
Suppose the crash and the resulting injuries occur due to another party’s negligent actions. In that case, accident victims can pursue damages from the at-fault party.
However, not all motor vehicle accident cases have a viable claim. Every state has different requirements to prove liability after a collision.
According to § 55-12-110 of the Tennessee Code (Code), personal injury victims must show proof of the damages they suffered from a motor vehicle accident. This includes submitting an affidavit or an accident report specifying the damages they sustained.
Almost any type of vehicle has the potential to get involved in a collision. But most motor vehicle accident cases include the following:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
Negligent behavior from medical professionals can also lead to life-changing and serious injuries. As a hub for many healthcare facilities, Memphis is not vulnerable to medical malpractice cases.
If you or a family member suffered an injury because a doctor acted carelessly, you might hold them responsible. However, these specialized personal injury cases are often more complex and difficult to prove.
All states have corresponding laws and procedures to block the filing of frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits. In Tennessee, medical malpractice victims have to fulfill the following requirements to have a viable claim:
- Pre-lawsuit notice requirement
Section 29-26-121 of the Code requires injured patients or their authorized agent to send a pre-notice to health care providers. They must provide this written notice of claim at least 60 days before filing a lawsuit. Failing to give this pre-notice may result in the dismissal of the case.
If you bring a healthcare liability claim against more than one healthcare provider, you must also provide HIPAA-compliant medical authorization. It’s a document that allows providers to obtain medical records from each other.
- Certificate of good faith
In most healthcare liability actions in Tennessee, claimants need to file a certificate of good faith with the complaint that starts the case.
Based on Section 29-26-122, the certificate must confirm that the plaintiff or their attorney has consulted a medical expert. The signed written statement should also certify the following elements:
- They’re competent to express an expert opinion under Tennessee law
- They believe that good faith of basis for the claim exists based on the available medical records and other evidence
The court may dismiss your case for lack of a certificate of good faith unless you can show extraordinary cause. One scenario is when the defendant’s healthcare provider fails to give you the requested medical records on time.
This type of personal injury case deals with harm caused by unsafe conditions on someone else’s property. You may hold the owner accountable if you sustained an injury because of the existing hazards on the premises.
Individuals who own, occupy, or lease property have a legal duty to maintain reasonable care to keep visitors safe. But that’s only applicable to those who are on the premises legally.
Under Section 29-34-208, the property owner owes no duty of care to a trespasser. These people don’t have direct or implied invitations from the owner.
Trespassers typically may not claim compensation for physical injuries under premises liability, with some exceptions. One is when the property includes an attractive nuisance, and the trespasser was a child. Another is when the property owner willfully causes harm to the trespasser.
Numerous situations can lead to a personal injury claim based on premises liability. But common scenarios include slip and fall accidents, negligent security, and dog bites.
Note that Tennessee has a strict liability rule for specific dog bite injuries. According to Section 44-8-413, the owner may be held strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs under the following conditions:
- The incident occurred in a public place
- The injury is to a person who has a legal right to be on the premises
Consumers expect the products they purchase to be safe to use and work properly. However, there are instances where a product causes harm because of manufacturing, design, or marketing defects. In those situations, the injured person can file a personal injury claim under product liability.
Under Section 29-28-105, the manufacturer or seller may be liable if the product was unreasonably dangerous or defective when placed on the market.
Like many personal injury cases, the burden of proof in a product liability rests on the injured party. This means you’ll need to show that some product defect directly caused your injuries or losses.
Many injuries result from workplace accidents. In 2021, Tennessee private industry employers reported 53,400 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. You may be entitled to obtain worker’s compensation benefits if you’ve sustained a workplace injury.
Workers’ compensation is the employer’s insurance. It provides medical and cash benefits to workers who sustain injuries or develop illnesses as a direct result of their job. This type of personal injury case rarely requires significant legal action.
However, some states have strict limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This means the right to receive its benefits is only available for a limited time.
Under Section 50-6-203 of the Code, injured workers must file a Petition for Benefit Determination to protect their rights. The deadline for filing it is typically one year from one of the following:
- The date of the injury-causing event
- The date of the last payment of medical or temporary disability benefits made to the employee
Wrongful death is available for personal injury cases that result in the loss of an injured victim’s life. No monetary settlement can compensate for the death of a loved one. But a successful claim can give family members the financial resources they need to move forward.
State laws govern who can file this type of personal injury claim. Under Section 20-5-107, the following individuals can bring a wrongful death action.
- The surviving spouse of the deceased
- If there’s no surviving spouse, the deceased person’s child or next of kin
- The personal representative of the deceased person
- The surviving parents, if the deceased was dependent on them at the time of death
Tips for Filing a Successful Personal Injury Claim in Memphis, Tennessee
Obtaining fair compensation for a personal injury will require the legal assistance of an experienced attorney. But there are things that injury victims can do to help ensure their case goes more smoothly.
Below are a few tips if you’re looking to file a successful personal injury claim.
Get medical treatment promptly
Getting medical attention immediately after an accident is crucial to your health and well-being. It can also protect your claim as medical records are concrete evidence of your injuries.
Insurance companies may argue that your injuries were due to the delay in treatment. They may also question the severity of your injuries if you wait too long to get medical attention. That can affect the compensation you can claim.
Collect the necessary evidence
Collecting as much evidence as possible can boost your chances of making a successful personal injury claim. It will help strengthen your case and prove your injuries directly resulted from the other person’s negligent actions. Highlighted below are the types of evidence to collect for your personal injury case.
- Photographs and video footage of the accident scene
- Police reports
- Medical records and invoices
- Eyewitness statements
- Documentation of any lost earnings
- Estimates of any property damage
Notify the insurance company
Notifying the insurance company is also crucial. Most insurance policies have notification obligations, specifying the time you must give them proper notice. They may deny coverage if you fail to inform them of an accident that involved injuries or property damage.
However, be careful what you say when talking to an insurance adjuster. Only give them basic information, such as the date, time, location of the accidents, and the personal details of all parties involved.
Seek advice from a personal injury attorney
Although it’s possible to settle a personal injury claim on your own, seeking legal advice from a personal injury lawyer is better. Attorneys know the legal guidelines and can assess if you have a viable claim. This will also help you avoid costly mistakes that may adversely affect your claim and prevent you from recovering compensation.
How can a Memphis personal injury lawyer help you?
Personal injury cases can be complicated to navigate. While only some accidents will result in a valid claim, a knowledgeable attorney will ensure you have a strong case. A Memphis personal injury attorney will guide you every step of the way and specifically help you with the following:
Establish legal standing
With a Memphis personal injury attorney by your side, you don’t need to worry about complex court rules or legal processes. They know what elements to prove and whether you have sufficient cause to initiate legal action. A personal injury lawyer will take all the other burdens off your plate while you focus on your recovery.
Negotiate a fair settlement
The goal of insurance companies is to offer the lowest settlement possible. In some cases, they may even refuse to settle claims. But a personal injury lawyer has specialized skills to negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement. They also know what information to collect and provide to convince the insurance adjuster.
Identify the full range of damages
Knowing all the types of damages available to you is also critical for maximum compensation. Many victims may assume they can only seek compensation for their medical expenses. That’s where a skilled personal injury attorney comes in. They know how to determine the full value of your claim for a wide range of losses.
File your personal injury lawsuit
There are instances where the at-fault party’s insurance company does not respond with a reasonable offer. If that’s the case, an experienced accident lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf. They will build the case, go through discovery, and represent you in your court. Lawyers can ensure you get the amount you legally deserve.
Get the Best Legal Help for Your Personal Injury Case
Trying to handle your personal injury case without an attorney will likely result in a lower settlement. Remember that you cannot rely on insurance companies to respect your legal rights. Ensure fair compensation for your injuries and other losses by working with an experienced Memphis personal injury lawyer.
Visit The Personal Injury Center today to get a free case evaluation. Based on your answers, we refer you to established law firms and lawyers for the most reliable legal representation.
FAQs on Memphis Personal Injury Lawyer
How long should victims wait to file a personal injury claim in Tennessee?
In most personal injury claims, victims have one year from the date of the initial incident to file a lawsuit. But there are exceptions to this statute of limitations, depending on the specific details of your case.
What’s the average award for personal injury cases?
Determining the likely awards for personal injury cases depends on numerous factors. But in Tennessee, the maximum amount that personal injury victims can receive for non-economic damages is $750,000.
How do you choose the right Memphis personal injury attorney?
Choosing the right personal injury attorney in Memphis can be challenging. But here are a few considerations to help you make an informed choice.
- Has extensive experience handling personal injury cases similar to yours
- Work on contingency, meaning they won't charge any legal fees until you obtain a settlement or verdict
- Has an excellent track record of satisfying clients and winning cases
- Knowledgeable in local laws and the court system
- Available to respond to your questions in a timely manner