When an individual is injured or killed in a car accident, accurately determining fault on the part of another driver is necessary before the victim or the surviving family can pursue compensation for their injuries or loss. Determining fault in a Tennessee car accident case is not always a simple task. Many factors may have contributed to the accident, while others may be the underlying cause for certain injuries or permanent damage.
If you have suffered serious injuries in a car accident here in Memphis or elsewhere in Tennessee, you should seek legal representation at once. A skilled car accident lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation into the true cause of the accident, help you gather the evidence necessary to determine fault, and work closely with you in an effort to seek the compensation you deserve.
CAR ACCIDENT STATISTICS
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), 32,719 people across the United States lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents during a single recent year. This works out to a rate of 10.3 fatalities per every 100,000 people and 1.11 fatalities for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
In Tennessee, 911 fatal collisions took place that year, resulting in 995 fatal injuries. That means Tennessee’s fatality rate was 15.3 deaths per 100,000 population, which is higher than the national average. The number of motor vehicle fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in Tennessee exceeded the national average at 1.41. Tens of thousands more were injured in car crashes.
If a negligent driver plays a role in a Tennessee car accident, the victim may be eligible to pursue damages for medical bills, lost income, rehabilitation costs, and pain and suffering, among other damages.
FACTORS THAT MAY BE USED TO HELP DETERMINE FAULT IN A CAR ACCIDENT
When determining fault in your car accident case, your lawyer will need review a number of factors and access specific documentation that may help reveal whether negligence played a role, which driver was at fault and ultimately establish liability.
The process of determining fault may involve the following:
- Citations for traffic violations. Citations for traffic violations, either prior to or at the scene of the accident, may be able to give you an idea of factors which could have led to the accident. Although these will not absolutely determine fault, they could be a starting point for a more in-depth investigation.
- Police reports. Police who respond to the scene of a car accident can be expected to interview the parties involved, investigate the accident and use their training and investigatory skills to offer an informed assessment. Police reports often contain evidence or insight essential in determining fault. It is important to remember, though, that the police do not determine fault for purposes of recovering compensation.
- Eyewitness statements. Each party involved in a car accident may have his or her own individual perspective and viewpoint about the events leading up to the accident. Eyewitness statements can help prove what you believe caused the accident or bring new insight into negligence on the part of the other driver, which could be the actual cause of the accident.
- Accident reconstruction. Accident reconstruction is an invaluable tool attorneys, investigators and trained experts may use to help determine fault in an accident. Once an accident is reconstructed, it may be helpful in resolving questions about the true cause of the collision. It many cases, accident reconstruction can unveil exactly how and why an accident took place.
- Expert testimony. In certain situations it may be beneficial to bring in an expert witness to testify in your accident case and provide an expert opinion about the cause of the car crash. Medical experts, accident reconstruction experts, financial experts, engineers and other professionals could be valuable resources in proving fault and liability.
- Vehicle malfunctions and recalls. Not all accidents are the result of driver error. Vehicles can malfunction due to manufacturer negligence, defective parts, design flaws, improper maintenance or faulty repairs. If the vehicle you were driving or the other driver’s vehicle was defective, the defect may have triggered the accident or made the resulting injuries worse than they should have been. If so, the manufacturer and others may bear responsibility.
- Road defects. Cities, counties and states are required to build and maintain roads that don’t pose an unreasonable hazard to drivers. Some accidents may require investigation into whether road defects contributed to the accident. Should this be the case, the entity responsible for road maintenance and repairs could be held liable for some or all of your injuries and losses.
WHY YOU NEED TENNESSEE CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER
If you have been involved in a car accident in Tennessee, hiring a car accident lawyer may significantly improve your chances of being able to accurately determine fault, prove negligence and seek the maximum damages you deserve.