Car Accident Lawyers Of East Tennessee
You’ve been seriously injured in a car wreck? Now what?
Being injured in a car wreck that is no fault of your own can be very frustrating. If you have been seriously injured in an automobile accident, it is likely that you will be contacted by the car insurance company of the individual that caused the accident; if you have not been contacted by them already.
It is imperative that you hire a lawyer to help you through the process of negotiating with insurance companies and if the insurance company does not offer you enough money to pay you the amount that you deserve for the way that your injuries have negatively affected your life, a lawyer who is willing to file a lawsuit on your behalf and take your case to a jury trial if necessary. Attempting to handle your car accident case by yourself could result in you being taken advantage of or bullied by insurance companies that attempt to pay you as low of an amount as possible.
At Barnes Law, we focus on listening to your goals in seeking legal representation for the car accident that was no fault of your own. We want to hear about all of the ways that the wreck has negatively affected your life because we believe that the other driver and his insurance should have to pay for your medical bills, property damage to your vehicle and pain and suffering for all of the ways that your injuries have affected you.
Our lawyers understand what insurance companies are looking for when determining how much to offer individuals injured in a car accident and we use that understanding to maximize the amount that an insurance company will offer you. If we believe that your case is worth more or less than the insurance company offered, we will tell you and help you make a well-informed decision on whether to accept the insurance adjuster’s offer or proceed by filing a lawsuit.
You are the one that was abiding by the rules of the road, so you should not be the one who has to pay the price for someone else’s negligence.
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Seek Necessary Medical Attention, Let Us Worry About Your Medical Bills
We understand that many individuals fear going to the hospital, a chiropractor, physical therapy, and surgery for the fear that they will have potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. However, if your doctor informs you that you need further treatment to go back to the pain-free life you were living before the accident, we urge you to seek that treatment. You should not have to suffer the long-term effects of not receiving adequate and necessary medical attention because of the fear of exuberant medical bills.
The attorneys at Barnes Law will do everything that they can do to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company and/or their attorney to settle your case in a way that fairly compensates you for your injuries and the resulting pain and suffering you must endure. If you fear racking up medical bills and avoid seeking the recommended treatment for months, the insurance company will try to claim that you did not need the treatment, or you would have gone earlier on. As such, we recommend doing what you have to do to get healthy and try your best not to worry about the medical bills. You did not cause the car wreck and we will advocate on your behalf to ensure that you do not get stuck paying the consequences of someone else’s negligence.
Make sure to have open and honest communication with your doctor. Inform your doctor about all of the different ways that your car accident injuries have affected your life, including all of the things that you could do before the accident but that you could no longer do without pain. This is important because there is no better way of showing insurance companies the way that your injuries have affected your life than showing them that you talked to your doctor about those things. Whether it is household duties, domestic duties, hobbies, school or work, be open and honest with your doctor about those things.
Also, ask your doctor questions about whether further treatment is necessary and then get the treatment that you need so that you do not suffer the long-term effects of receiving inadequate medical care. Our attorneys will thoroughly examine your medical records to summarize for the insurance company and prove to them why you needed each of the treatment that you received.
Liability: Proving the other driver is at-fault:
Although in some cases liability is clear and the other party admits liability for the car accident, most drivers and their insurance companies attempt to defend liability. It is important that you hire a lawyer that is able to prove that the other driver was liable for the car wreck and your resulting personal and vehicle damages.
Negligence requires you to prove the following elements: (1) that the defendant owed you a duty; (2) the defendant breached that duty; (3) causation in fact, or that but for the defendant’s negligence the accident, and your resulting injuries, would not have occurred; (4) proximate cause; and (5) damages.
In car accident cases, every driver owes other individuals on the road a duty to drive their vehicle as a reasonable person would drive under the circumstances. As such, to prove that the defendant is liable for the car accident, the first step is to show that the other driver drove unreasonably, or in other words, that they breached that duty. Your lawyer will have to convince the insurance company, opposing lawyer, and/or a jury that the defendant did not drive the way a reasonably prudent person would have driven which directly resulted in the accident and your injuries. This can be done in numerous different ways.
For example, in a rear-end accident, some common claims of negligence are that the defendant failed to keep a proper lookout ahead and, in the direction, that the defendant was operating its vehicle and that the defendant failed to alter its course of travel to avoid the accident. Your lawyer will make these claims when attempting to settle your case with the insurance company, in the complaint of your lawsuit if one is filed and your lawyer will prove these types of claims during depositions of the other party if your case proceeds through a deposition.
Medical bills and other expenses from your car accident:
As the innocent party in a car accident, you are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, property damage to your vehicle or its valuation in the event of a totaled vehicle, any lost wages or loss of earning capacity, pain, and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inability to complete duties because of duress and for permanent injuries or disfigurement.
Your lawyer should discuss each of these categories of damages with the insurance company and/or opposing attorney to justify the amount of money that your attorney demands. The amount of your medical bills and property damage are known as special damages, but those are not the only damages that you can recover. It is important to hire a lawyer who understands how to get you compensated for all of the different ways that your life has been negatively affected by the automobile wreck.
What If I was partially At-Fault For The Automobile Accident?
In Tennessee, you can still recover as long as you are less than 50% at fault. This means that the defendant in your case can claim that you are liable for the incident or that you contributed to the incident’s occurrence. However, as long as the jury finds that you are 49%, or less, liable for the incident’s occurrence, you will still be able to recover for the defendant causing the accident. However, your recovery will be reduced to the percentage of fault assigned to the defendant by the jury.
For example, if a jury finds in your favor and determines that you are entitled to damages in the amount of $100,000, but the jury also determines that you are 25% responsible for the incident’s occurrence, you will only be able to recover $75,000.
The attorneys at Barnes Law will advocate on your behalf to prove that the other person is primarily at fault for the car accident and to obtain as much compensation as possible for you.
I do not know who caused my accident or the individual is uninsured/underinsured, how can I pay my bills?
Every automobile liability insurance policy in Tennessee must provide uninsured motorist coverage for your protection from being involved in a motor vehicle accident with an individual who does not have insurance or is underinsured and cannot afford to pay your full claim. In fact, the limits of your uninsured motorist coverage must be equal to the bodily injury liability limits stated in your policy.
If your medical bills are above the state minimum coverage of $25,000 and it is possible that the other party’s insurance may not cover the full amount of your medical bills, it is important that your lawyer files a claim with your insurance company under your underinsured motorist policy. This will allow your lawyer to negotiate with your automobile company after settling for the maximum policy limits of the other driver’s policy. At Barnes Law, we understand how to receive underinsured compensation and we will help you get the compensation that you deserve.
For example, if you have $125,000 in medical bills (pre-adjustments) but the other driver has a minimum coverage of $25,000, you will be left with $100,000 in medical bills. Say you have $100,000 in bodily injury liability limits and your underinsured policy, we can negotiate with your insurance company under your underinsured policy. Of course, your health insurance likely did not pay the full $125,000 because health insurance companies have contracts with hospitals and medical providers to pay less than the quoted amount. However, you should still recover for the full amount, even if your insurance paid less than the full amount.
However, although you generally must have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance company is allowed to ask you to decline to have such uninsured motorist coverage. If you reject in writing the uninsured motorist coverage then you will not be protected in the numerous situations that will be discussed below, including when you are involved in an accident with an individual that does not have insurance, an individual that has minimal insurance coverage that will not cover your full claim, or in some circumstances, situations where you do not know who caused your accident, such as in a hit-and-run situation.
I do not know who caused or contributed to my accident, can I still recover?
You may be able to recover under your uninsured policy, even if you do not know who caused your injuries if the following conditions are met:
- Actual physical contact occurs between your vehicle and the unknown person; or
- Although there was no physical contact with another vehicle, the existence of the unknown motorist is established by clear and convincing evidence by evidence other than evidence provided by the occupants in your vehicle.
- You, or someone on your behalf, reported the accident to the appropriate law enforcement agency within a reasonable time after the accident’s occurrence; and
- You were not negligent in failing to determine the identity of the other vehicle and the owner of the other vehicle at the time of the accident.
Your insurance company will likely attempt to deny coverage in such a scenario, but our attorneys understand the uninsured motorist law and will be able to negotiate a settlement on your behalf by proving that each condition has been met in your case.
The attorneys at Barnes Law understand the process for filing a lawsuit against an unknown individual so that you can recover against the unknown individual under your insurance policy. You have been paying premiums for your uninsured/underinsured policy, so you should be able to receive the benefit of those premiums you have been paying when necessary.
Should I provide my insurance company with notice before filing a lawsuit against them under the uninsured or underinsured policy?
Absolutely. Yes, you must provide prompt notice, or notice within a reasonable amount of time under the circumstances that you may be filing a claim for them to cover your injuries.
At the end of the day, you have insurance to protect yourself in the event of an accident. That is exactly why it is mandated that your insurance company provide you with uninsured coverage, unless you opt-out, in Tennessee. If you are injured because of someone else’s actions, you should not have to pay your medical bills and property damage, and you should be awarded compensation for your pain and suffering. You should receive such compensation regardless of whether the other individual has enough insurance to cover the costs, or whether you even know who caused the automobile accident.
We regularly negotiate with insurance companies and file lawsuits on behalf of our car accident clients in Knoxville, Blount County, Sevier County, Anderson County, Loudon County, and Roane County, Tennessee, among other counties across East Tennessee.
CONTACT THE ATTORNEYS AT BARNES LAW TODAY TO SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION WITH YOUR CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER OF EAST TENNESSEE
We want to help you receive the financial compensation that you deserve for the car wreck that was caused by another driver’s negligence and inability to follow the rules of the road.
Call us today at (865) 805-5703 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation as soon as practicable so that we can start working on your case and doing everything that we can do to meet your goals in seeking legal representation.
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"John is amazing not only did he get the outcome he promised he did it in a shorter time than he originally said. He went above and beyond in returning my emails and phone calls. John and staff truly cared about me as a person. I highly recommend John Barnes."
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"Mr. Barnes and his staff are amazing. I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job with my case. At no point in the long process was I disappointed in any way with how things were handled."