If you have been involved in a car accident in Memphis or elsewhere in Tennessee, you are likely feeling frightened and overwhelmed and wondering how you will be able to cover your expenses.
You might also find yourself feeling bitter about suffering injuries and property damage because of another driver’s failure to obey the rules of the road. All of these feelings are valid when you are recovering after a car accident.
The good news: You can file an auto accident claim to recover your monetary losses. It is important that you work with an experienced car accident attorney to determine your legal options after a collision.
Once you have received medical attention for your injury, you should contact a lawyer who has experience working with car accident victims in Tennessee. The lawyer can assess the circumstances present in your case and determine how best to proceed with your claim.
Remember: Every car accident claim is unique. The damages you can recover will depend on a variety of factors such the extent of the property damage that occurred and whether you were partially at fault for the accident.
Because the circumstances present in your accident can determine which damages you can recover, you might not be entitled to recover every type of damage. This is an issue to discuss with your attorney during your first meeting with him or her.
The damages that car accident victims typically can recover include:
In a car accident, the victim’s car is generally damaged as well as his or her body. Sometimes, other property can be damaged as well, such as his or her personal possessions inside the vehicle or the property where the collision occurred. When a car accident results in this type of damage, a claimant can seek compensation through a property damage claim.
The claim typically is handled separately from a bodily injury or wrongful death claim. The car accident victim seeks to recover from the at-fault driver’s insurance company the cost of repairing a vehicle or, if the vehicle is totaled, the fair market value of the vehicle.
Proving your property damage claim can be done through photographs of your car at the scene of the accident, photographs of any other property damaged by the collision and witness testimony about the accident.
If you had to bring your car to an auto body shop for repairs, the bill for these repairs must be included as part of your claim. Without a record of the cost of repairing your vehicle, an accurate compensation amount cannot be calculated.
If your car is totaled, sources such as the NADA guide, Kelley Blue Book or estimates provided by local auto dealers may be relied on to determine the value of your car and, in turn, what you may be entitled to receive in compensation.
If your car is substantially damaged, you may also be entitled to compensation for what is diminished value. This is the amount of value you suffered because your vehicle has been wrecked and repaired. Again, a statement from a car dealer will be important here to prove your loss.
Medical bills can be very expensive. These bills include your diagnosis, hospitalization and treatment costs. After you have received your initial diagnosis and treatment, you could be required to continue taking medication and going to physical therapy sessions. These costs, too, can be part of your medical expenses claim.
To prove your need for compensation for your medical expenses, you must provide documentation of your interaction with doctors and other medical staff, as well as your diagnoses. You can also provide statements from these individuals.
When you suffer a significant injury, you may have to spend time out of work to focus on your recovery. During this time, you are missing out on both wages and opportunities for career advancement. Both of these are considered when determining an appropriate amount of money to compensate you for your lost wages as a result of your injury.
In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for a car accident claim is one year from the date of the accident. Once this year passes, you are no longer entitled to seek compensation for your damages. In Mississippi, the statute of limitations is three years.
To demonstrate your need for lost wages compensation, you will need to provide pay stubs and, if a lost promotion is a part of your claim, evidence to prove that you were close to promotion. For instance, you can include recommendations from your supervisor and a copy of your company’s advancement schedule. A work excuse from your doctor will also be necessary to connect the time missed to your injuries.
Pain and suffering refers to the non-tangible ways you suffer after an accident. For example, it can refer to your need for psychological counseling to work through any mental issues that stem from your accident, such as depression or anxiety about driving again.
In order to determine a just amount that should be paid in pain and suffering damages, one must consider the nature of an accident and the extent of injuries that a person has suffered.
In Tennessee and Mississippi, different types of damages may be pursued when a car accident caused by another results in the wrongful death of a loved one. These damages generally include medical costs, funeral bills and compensation for the conscious pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life that your loved one experienced between the time of injury and the time of death.
Additionally, in a Tennessee or Mississippi wrongful death claim, you can seek the “pecuniary value” of your loved one’s life. Speaking in general terms, this amount represents what he or she would have earned over his or her expected lifetime minus his or her projected expenses.
If the victim was one’s spouse, you can typically seek damages for loss of consortium as well, or the loss of affection and companionship.
In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for a car accident claim is one year from the date of the accident. In Mississippi, the statute of limitations is three years. Once this time passes, you are no longer entitled to seek compensation for your damages. So, you should not wait to get legal help.
For legal guidance and representation tailored to your specific needs as a car accident victim in Tennessee or Mississippi, contact The Law Office of David E. Gordon. Mr. Gordon is an experienced car accident attorney who can determine the right legal strategy for you. You can count on him to seek the maximum amount of damages for you.