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If you were injured in a car accident, it might be time to consult with an auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN trusts. Many injured victims attempt to deal with the insurance company themselves. However, that can result in a settlement that is far less than the victim is entitled to receive. A seasoned auto accident in Memphis, TN former clients recommend knows that not having an attorney can even lead to having the insurance company denying your injury claim completely. Read about Common Causes of Vehicle Crashes.
At Wiseman Bray, PLLC, we have helped many auto accident victims receive justice and collect the financial compensation that made them whole. With one of our dedicated Memphis auto accident lawyers by your side, you too will be much more likely to obtain the compensation that will make you whole.
What You Need to Know About Car Accidents
If you have never been in a car accident before, you may not be sure what you should do after the fact. Can you go on your way if you don’t feel injured? Should you call the police? Are you allowed to talk with the other driver? The Memphis auto accident attorneys at Wiseman Bray, PLLC know that car accidents can be scary, no matter how many times you have been a victim in an accident, but if you remember a few steps after you have been in a car accident you can get the information you need when speaking with one of our attorneys. When you file a claim for a car accident, typically the at-fault driver’s insurance will be the one to pay for your injuries and any property damage. However, this can vary from state to state and even depend on how much you were involved in the accident.
Steps to Take After an Auto Accident
An experienced auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN residents call understands that many victims may be in shock and traumatized after an auto accident. However, in order to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries, it is important to stay calm and follow these steps:
Assessing Liability in Tennessee Car Accidents
An auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN chooses for representation following a car accident will likely focus on determining which driver or entity is liable for causing the accident. Liability determines which party’s insurer will be responsible for paying the damages.
Tennessee has a modified comparative fault-based system. This means that liability for any damages caused by the at-fault driver is the responsibility of that driver and the damages will be paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Damages are the total of personal injury-related costs and property damage costs resulting from the accident.
In Tennessee, when both drivers are at fault, the injured person who is deemed more than 50% responsible for the accident may not be entitled to compensation. The driver who is less than 50% at fault is entitled, but with a catch. In other “fault” states, liability is all-or-nothing; in Tennessee’s comparative fault system, the award is reduced for the driver who is less than 50% at fault by the percentage at which they are at fault. As an example, if one driver is 85% percent at fault, and another driver has been determined to be 15% at fault, the driver who is more at fault will be responsible for 85% of damages. No damages would be awarded to the driver who is 85% at fault.
How Is Fault Determined?
The fault is determined by whether you live in a “fault” or “no-fault” state. When you live in a fault state, the burden is on you and your attorney to prove that the at-fault driver was the one who directly caused your injuries or property damage by causing the accident. In many situations, fault may be very obvious and your claim might have no problem being accepted. However, many other circumstances may cause your claim to be rejected or may cause the insurance company to offer you a very low settlement. When you are attempting to prove who is liable for the car accident, there are a few elements you will need in your claim.
If, on the other hand, you live in a no-fault state, it means that you will need to go to your insurance before you can go to the other driver’s insurance. There are certain circumstances where you may file a lawsuit against the other driver, but your injuries would need to be severe or the amount of damage would need to be above a certain monetary threshold.
It’s important to understand that in normal accident claims, insurance companies have the final say in determining who is at fault. Insurance adjusters do not have to make the same determination as what is reflected in the police report. A good rule of thumb, however, is that when one driver is determined to have violated a traffic law and received a ticket for it, they are almost always held entirely responsible for the car accident. Every situation is unique, however, so it’s important to contact an auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN residents turn to if you have concerns about your case.
Some accidents provide clear evidence regarding who was responsible, as an auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN drivers trust may attest. Rear-end collisions and collisions during left hand turns are two examples. In a rear end collision, the following vehicle is almost always at fault unless they can prove that the leading driver slammed on their breaks unjustifiably. Accidents with drivers making left-hand turns are often caused by the turning driver.
In the absence of a clear-cut case, an auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN residents trust may attempt to prove that the other party was negligent in some way, and that negligence caused the accident. Negligence refers to when a driver fails to comply with certain duties required of them, and that breach of duty causes an accident. While reckless driving would be an obvious example of negligence, there are more subtle examples, such as driving with a broken headlight at night or driving with a broken turn signal. This is when an experienced Memphis auto accident lawyer may collect and present evidence to make your case. Some examples of admissible evidence are photos, statements from witnesses, video footage, car damage, skid marks, and police reports. If you were able to collect evidence at the scene, this evidence may be useful in your claim. If not, your auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN may collect evidence on your behalf.
How Much Is an Auto Accident Case Worth?
A seasoned auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN provides knows that every auto accident case is different. Some claims are worth more than others. The value of your auto accident case may depend on a number of factors, such as how much your medical bills cost, any future medical care you may require, lost wages, and your overall pain and suffering. For example, if you suffered a severe head injury that requires future medical treatments, you may be entitled to a significantly higher compensation amount.
Your auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN clients rely on can explain to you in detail what damages you may be entitled to receive from the at-fault party. In general, car accident victims can sue for economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages are those that have a hard dollar amount attached to them. For example, any costs associated with medical treatment are damages that you can pursue. This includes bills for:
Noneconomic damages are those types of damages that do not have an actual dollar amount. However, you are entitled to receive financial compensation as a way to “make you whole” again. You may be able to obtain noneconomic damages for:
What happens if I was in an accident while driving a company car?
When you’ve been injured in a car accident while driving a company car, determining who is liable for all damages can be slightly complicated. Depending on the circumstances, your employer may be liable and in other cases you or the other party may be to blame. In a situation like this it is advisable to retain an auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN.
Understanding Vicarious Liability
Vicarious liability, also known as respondeat superior, is a legal term that means to hold a party responsible for the actions of another person. When a company car is involved in an accident, vicarious liability would refer to holding the employer responsible for the actions of the employee who was driving the car. The reason an employer can be held responsible is because the employee is their agent – as long as they are on company time.
If your employer has paid for your company car, in order for the other party to recover from your employer, you, as the driver of the company car, must be at fault. If you are not at fault, then the other party will generally not be able to pursue your employer for damages.
When Vicarious Liability May Apply
Vicarious liability only applies in certain situations. An auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN might first determine whether or not the employee was acting within the scope of their job at the time of the collision.
For instance, let’s say that an electrician service dispatches an electrician for a standard house call. On the way to the house, the electrician becomes distracted and collides with another driver. In this case, the other driver will likely be able to file a claim against the employer under vicarious liability.
Vicarious liability typically applies when at least one of the following holds true:
Vicarious liability may not apply when:
Who Will Make the Final Decision
Whether or not vicarious liability applies will largely depend on the facts of the case. Sometimes it will take a trial by jury to decide whether it will apply. In other situations, the employer or other party will agree on the facts and come to a settlement through negotiations. As a general rule of thumb, you should have a good auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN trusts on your side if you were driving a company car or you were injured by another driver of a company car.
Contact a Memphis Auto Accident Lawyer Today
An auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN depends on can meet with you and determine the approximate amount of compensation to which you are entitled. At Wiseman Bray, the approach we take in handling car accident injury cases is what sets our firm apart from the average auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN. Other lawyers take on hundreds of cases and are often only interested in coming to a quick settlement of the case and avoiding litigation. Each auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN turns to at Wiseman Bray is committed to getting our clients the maximum amount of compensation that is possible.
Our firm’s legal team is available to discuss your case during a free initial consultation. If you are searching for a trusted auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN has to offer, contact Wiseman Bray at 901-372-5003.
“I was in contact with Chris Patterson regarding a legal issue. He’s very helpful and professional. Most importantly, he’s down to earth. Easy to communicate with. I know I’m not a big client, but Wiseman-Bray made it feel as if I was their only client. They got the job done. Very pleased.”