Personal injury cases can arise out of accidents involving motor vehicles, bicycles, dangerous property conditions, or defective products, as well as medical malpractice, elder abuse, and many other situations. Most of these cases are the result of negligent actions by one or more people. At the Hartsoe Law Firm, attorney Mark Hartsoe understands how to help victims of car accidents and other preventable events in the Knoxville area pursue the appropriate amount of damages from all parties responsible for causing their harm.Bringing a Negligence Claim under Tennessee Law
Whether the defendant is a driver who runs a red light and T-bones a motorcyclist, or a hotel that fails to fix a broken railing and causes a guest to fall, the same principles of negligence generally will need to be proven. As a plaintiff, in most cases, you would need to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant owed you a duty of care, the defendant breached the duty, the defendant caused your injuries with the breach of duty, and you suffered actual damages as a result.
In motor vehicle accident cases, the first element is typically easy to establish. All drivers owe a duty to others on the road to drive using reasonable care given the road and weather conditions. A driver can breach that duty in a moment by choosing to text or apply makeup or fail to yield at an intersection. However, the issues of duty and breach may be more complex in a premises liability suit or nursing home abuse case.
Generally, in a premises liability case, a court would look at the reason you were on the property to determine the duty of care owed to you. If you were a customer of a retail store or patron of a restaurant, the highest degree of care was owed to you by the store or restaurant. It must take reasonable care to inspect its premises for foreseeable hazards and repair or warn of any risks that it discovers or should have discovered. Usually trespassers are owed no duty of care, except that a property owner cannot intentionally try to harm or trap them. The exception to this is children who are attracted by an "attractive nuisance" on a property and trespass onto it for that reason, only to get hurt.
If you are able to establish negligence, you can potentially recover compensatory damages. These are damages designed to make you whole, not to punish the defendant. They may be economic (medical bills, lost wages, and other tangible or documented damages) or noneconomic (pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and other intangible damages that naturally flow from the accident and injuries).
Sometimes multiple parties are at fault for a plaintiff's harm. Tennessee has mostly abolished the doctrine of joint and several liability with certain exceptions. That means that in most cases, each defendant is only responsible for his or her percentage of fault for an accident. For example, if you are in an accident on a road that was partly the fault of the city, partly the fault of a construction company, and partly the fault of another driver, the jury would evaluate your total damages and assign each party alleged to be at fault a percentage of fault. It then would assign damages to each of them that are proportionate to those percentages.Enlist a Knoxville Attorney to Seek Compensation for Your Injuries
Dedicated injury lawyer Mark Hartsoe is skilled in car accident, premises liability, and other negligence claims. Many Knoxville residents have sought his assistance in asserting their right to compensation. For a free initial consultation, call us at (865) 524-5657 or contact us via our online form.