Due to the high speeds that are often involved, highway accidents can be devastating. After suffering injuries in a crash, you may be wondering how you will pay your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses, take time off work to recover, and manage household chores. The insurer for an at-fault driver may try to convince you that an accident is partially your fault, or even that certain medical treatment was unnecessary or unreasonable. Experienced car accident attorney Mark Hartsoe can aggressively represent Knoxville residents in negotiations with insurers or take a case to trial.Holding a Careless Driver Liable for Damages after a Highway Accident
As with other types of car crashes, most highway accidents are the result of negligence. If you suffer injuries and need to pursue compensation, in most cases you will have to prove the negligence of another driver. You would have to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant had a duty of care and breached that duty, the breach caused your injuries, and you sustained actual damages. Regarding the first element, all Tennessee drivers owe a duty to others on the road to drive reasonably for the weather and traffic conditions.
A "breach of duty" can involve a wide range of activities, such as distracted driving, fatigued driving, texting while driving, speeding, or aggressive maneuvers like cutting others off or failing to yield at an intersection. Anything that distracts a driver from the main task at hand—driving safely—may be a breach of duty.
Causation can be more challenging to prove than the other elements. It can be difficult to evaluate liability for highway accidents because often these are accidents involving multiple drivers and different accounts of what happened. Sometimes it is important to retain an accident reconstruction specialist to evaluate the debris, property damage, witness testimony, and other evidence to determine precisely what happened and whose fault it was.
When an accident is the fault of multiple drivers, principles of comparative negligence may apply. This means the judge or jury will evaluate the plaintiff's total damages, assign a percentage of fault to each of the parties alleged to be at fault, and then reduce the plaintiff's damages based on his or her degree of fault. In Tennessee, a victim of an accident can only recover damages if his or her fault for the crash is found to be 49% or less. These would be proportionate to the degree of responsibility attributed to any defendants found liable. If a judge or jury determines that the plaintiff's fault is 50% or more, he or she will be barred from recovering any damages under a modified rule of comparative negligence.Discuss Your Car Crash Case with a Knoxville Attorney
The Hartsoe Law Firm is dedicated to representing Knoxville victims of motor vehicle collisions in pursuing compensation for their injuries. A lawyer may be vital in asserting your rights. Sometimes part of the fault may lie with the government for failing to maintain the highway, or a construction company for failing to put up warning signs. We can determine which parties are responsible and hold them accountable for your damages. For a free initial consultation, call (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form.