Articles Posted in Car Accidents

In an east Tennessee automobile accident case, an injured party may receive compensation for his or her medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by a negligent driver.

If the plaintiff is found to be partially at fault in the accident, his or her judgment for compensation will be reduced in proportion to his or her fault. For example, if the court finds that the plaintiff’s total damages are $100,000 but he or she was 10% at fault, the net judgment will be $90,000.

It is important to note that this rule only applies to cases in which the plaintiff is found to have been less than 50% at fault; if the plaintiff is 50% or more to blame for an accident, he or she will not recover any compensation.

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In a Knoxville personal injury lawsuit arising from a car accident or other vehicular collision, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant is legally liable for his or her medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages stemming from the accident.

In litigating his or her claim, the plaintiff will likely pursue the discovery of evidence from a variety of sources, including governmental entities. While the law of evidence provides a basic structure for the resolution of these issues, some matters must be decided on a case-by-case basis.

A recent, rather unusual case arising from an accident in military vehicle is illustrative.

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Many people labor under the mistaken impression that pursuing fair compensation is easier when the defendant in a car accident case is the victim’s own uninsured motorist insurance company. This is simply not true. As the case set forth below illustrates, an insurance company can likely align itself with the negligent motorist that caused the collision – not its own insured – and fight tooth and nail to pay out as little as possible on a claim, even when liability is clear.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a man who was involved in an accident with the defendant driver in Shelby County, Tennessee, in January 2016. The man was joined in the suit by his wife as co-plaintiff. The plaintiff’s uninsured motorist carrier was served with a copy of the complaint pursuant to the Tennessee Uninsured Motorist Act. The defendants did not dispute that the driver was liable for the accident in question; rather, the primary issues before the court were the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and their impact on the plaintiff’s earning capacity.

The plaintiff in a Knoxville car accident case must comply with several important deadlines, if his or her lawsuit against a negligent defendant is to be successful. One of the most important of these deadlines is the statute of limitations – that is, the deadline for filing a claim in a court with appropriate jurisdiction.

However, merely filing a claim is not enough to keep the plaintiff’s case on track for a positive outcome. The plaintiff’s complaint must also be served on the defendant, so that he, she, or it has an opportunity to respond to the plaintiff’s allegations.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent appellate court case was a woman whose car was allegedly struck by a vehicle owned by the defendant utility company. The accident happened on March 16, 2009, and the plaintiff’s suit was filed on March 12, 2010. Her suit was in the nature of a civil warrant filed in general sessions court by her then-attorney, who served the complaint on the defendant the next day via certified mail. According to the plaintiff’s then-attorney, he made a return-of-service to the clerk’s office after perfecting service on the defendant. The clerk, however, did not docket the case, and the defendant later claimed that the plaintiff’s then-attorney had failed to make the return-of-service as he alleged.

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Everyone wants to be paid for his or her work, including medical providers who provide treatment to those who have been injured in an east Tennessee automobile accident. However, there are limitations under the law with regard to what a creditor can and cannot do in his or her collection efforts.

A recent case explored how two Tennessee statutes – the Tennessee Healthcare Liability Act (THL) and Tennessee Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) – applied in a personal injury case in which a healthcare provider attempted to assert a lien.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the original plaintiff was a man who was allegedly injured in a car crash in Madison County, Tennessee, and treated for his injuries at a hospital in Dyer County (where the plaintiff resided). After a “professional account services” provider filed a notice of a hospital lien in his lawsuit against the allegedly negligent driver whose actions injured the plaintiff, the plaintiff amended his complaint to add a second plaintiff (who had been injured in an car accident in Obion County, treated at a hospital in Weakly County, and served with a hospital lien by the same account services provider as the original plaintiff) and to name the defendant account services provider as a party defendant.

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Most east Tennessee car accident lawsuits are filed in state court. There are several procedural and strategic reasons for this. However, when a federal question is involved in the case or when there is diversity of citizenship between the parties, the defendant(s) may remove the case to federal court.

“Making a federal case out of it” tends to result in more costly, complex, and time-consuming litigation, at least from the plaintiff’s point of view. Thus, if there is any possibility of having the case returned to state court after removal, the plaintiff may be wise to consider this option.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiffs were a husband and wife who, along with their minor child, were allegedly injured in an accident in Chattanooga. They filed suit in state court against the driver whose negligence they alleged caused the crash. They also named the driver’s employer as a defendant in suit, asserting a claim for vicarious liability. The employer removed the state court action to federal court, invoking diversity jurisdiction (the plaintiffs were not from Tennessee).

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Generally speaking, the defendant in a Tennessee car accident case “takes the plaintiff as he finds her.” In other words, if the plaintiff had medical issues at the time of the accident, any exacerbation of these conditions is taken into consideration in determining the money damages to which the plaintiff (assuming that the defendant is held liable for causing the accident).

This is not to say that the defendant is held liable for the plaintiff’s pre-existing condition itself, only that the defendant cannot argue that another individual who did not suffer from the plaintiff’s physical limitations would not have been harmed in the accident or would have received less severe injuries.

Facts of the Case

In a recently decided appellate case, the plaintiff filed suit in the Circuit Court for Davidson County seeking monetary compensation for injuries she suffered in a motor vehicle accident that she alleged was caused by the defendant’s negligence. The case was tried to a jury and resulted in a verdict of $70,000 in the plaintiff’s favor. The trial court entered judgment for the plaintiff for a slightly smaller amount, after reducing the jury’s award because the amount they awarded for medical expenses exceed that which was entered into evidence at trial. The defendant appealed. Continue reading

In an east Tennessee car accident in which someone is seriously hurt, the proper party to bring the action is usually obvious:  the accident victim himself (or herself). When someone is killed in an auto accident, however, there can sometimes be a dispute about who should be allowed to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. The resolution of this issue can hinge on several factors, including the relationship between the deceased and those who seek to file suit. In some situations, other case-specific factors may also need to be considered.

Facts of the Case

In a recent consolidated action, one of the would-be plaintiffs was the surviving spouse of a woman who died in a car accident. As the husband of the deceased, this plaintiff insisted that he was the appropriate individual to assert a cause of action for the wrongful death of his late wife. The accident victim’s daughter also filed a wrongful death action, and the cases were consolidated. The Circuit Court of Sumner County held that the husband was the proper plaintiff and dismissed the daughter’s case. The Tennessee Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the daughter was the rightful plaintiff because there were allegations that the husband was at least partially to blame for the “road rage” incident that caused the wreck. After the daughter’s claim was reinstated by the appellate court, the husband appealed the case further to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

People who have been injured in a Knoxville car accident caused by the negligence or reckless conduct of another person, business, or governmental entity may be able to recover damages such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and compensation for pain and suffering. However, calculating the exact amount to which the injured person (or a deceased person’s family) is entitled is a complex endeavor.

A recent case highlights one of the issues that frequently arises in such cases:  how are the reasonable and necessary medical expenses suffered by an injured person to be determined?

Facts of the Case

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a Knoxville car accident, three of the most important words to you right now should be “statute of limitations.” Failing to file your claim by this important deadline can seriously jeopardize your chances of recovering fair compensation.

For this reason, it is critically important to consult an attorney as soon as possible after an accident so that he or she can be investigating the case and preparing the necessary paperwork so that untimeliness will not be an issue in your case. It is important to note that Tennessee has a very short statute of limitations for personal injury claims – just one year. The deadline can slip past very quickly, especially in a serious accident in which the plaintiff’s physical recovery is ongoing or in a wrongful death case in which a family is grieving the loss of a loved one.

Facts of the Case

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