Car Accident Attorneys in Knoxville, Tennessee
In 2022, there were 2,931 crashes in Knox County alone that resulted in injuries, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security. When this happens to you or someone you love, will you know what to do? Will you know who could be held liable? Will these individuals compensate you for your injuries?
These questions can be difficult to answer. When confronted with them, you should always enlist the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that your best interests are being looked after.
If you’d like to learn more about filing a personal injury claim after a car accident in Tennessee, reach out to us at Wykoff & Sikes, PLLC. Our team is proud to serve individuals and families in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the surrounding area, including Johnson City, Chattanooga, Crossville, and Sevierville. Set up a consultation today.
Liability for Car Accidents in Tennessee
Whenever you’re involved in an accident, one of the first things you’ll need to determine is car driver negligence—in other words, whose fault the car accident was. This will then help you determine your next steps. Tennessee is known as an “at-fault” state which essentially means that whoever caused the accident to occur is also the person who’s responsible for paying any damages related to the crash. This is in contrast to a “no-fault” state in which you’d first have to seek damages through your own insurance, regardless of whose fault it was.
In general, you have three options for seeking compensation after an incident like this.
File a claim with your own insurance: Even in a state like Tennessee, you do technically have the option of filing a claim on your own insurance policy to see what your plan will pay out. However, if the crash was severe, this will often not be enough to cover all your expenses.
File a claim against the at-fault driver: In most cases in Tennessee, when you’re in an accident that was caused by another driver, your first step will be to file a claim with their insurance policy.
File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver: If you’ve already completed the claims process with the other driver and you still have expenses that you haven’t been compensated for, you can then file a personal injury claim against them. Most people find it necessary to work with a car accident attorney at this time.
After a Car WreckContact Our Team
Tennessee Insurance Requirements
All drivers are required to carry auto insurance when operating a vehicle on the state’s roadways. At a minimum, this means you must carry:
$25,000 in liability coverage for a single person who experiences bodily injury or death
$50,000 in liability for total injuries or death
$25,000 in property damage per accident
There are other optional coverage options such as collision coverage that will pay for your own property damage if you caused the accident, but opting for this coverage is not required by law.
State Laws Addressing Personal Injury Claims
It’s crucial you understand all the state laws that can affect your personal injury claim. Because this process can be so complicated and time-consuming, it’s important to reach out to an attorney who can ensure you’re meeting all deadlines and are able to present a convincing case. For example, each state sets its own statute of limitations for how long you have after an accident to file a claim. In the majority of states, this is set at two years, but Tennessee generally only allows one year. This time will go by very quickly. If you fail to file in time, a judge will likely dismiss your case.
Additionally, you’ll need to know about Tennessee’s comparative fault rule which states that fault can be shared between parties. For instance, if you’re found to be 30% responsible for causing an accident, your final settlement will also be reduced by 30% to account for your share of liability. So if you were originally awarded $20,000 you would now only receive $14,000. Keep in mind that you must be 50% or less at fault to recover any damages.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
If you need to seek damages for a loved one who lost their life as the result of a car accident, consider pursuing a wrongful death claim. To do this, you’ll first need to show that you qualify to bring forward this claim. This means you’re either a surviving spouse, child, next-of-kin, parent, or the deceased’s personal representative as assigned in an estate planning document or will.
You will then need to prove that the incident occurred due to the negligence of the other party, their wrongful act, or their wrongful omission. Like a personal injury lawsuit, you only have one year from the date of death to file this claim. One year will pass by quickly, especially considering the time it takes to settle your loved one’s estate and to allow you and your family enough time to grieve. A skilled lawyer can help shoulder the legal burden during this process so that you have time to heal.
Car Accident Attorneys in Knoxville, Tennessee
No one should have to experience the aftermath of a car accident alone. If you’re in the Knoxville area and you’d like to learn more about your options for compensation after being hurt in a car wreck, contact our dedicated team at Wykoff & Sikes, PLL.