Accidents happen all the time – or do they? We refer to scenarios wherein someone is injured as an “accident” without even considering the meaning of the word. While true accidents do occur, the reality is that more often than not and “accident” is not really an “accident” but is the result of negligence on the part of at least one party. When negligence caused, or contributed to, injuries suffered by a victim, the victim may be entitled to compensation. In order to secure all of the compensation to which a victim is due it is always best to work closely with an experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney. How though, do you know if you need a personal injury attorney? As the old adage goes, it is always best to err on the side of caution, meaning you should contact a personal injury accident attorney if there is any chance that you need one. It may also help, however, to ask yourself the following questions and consider the answers.
- Did you suffer actual injuries? While the extent of the injuries is not important, except when determining the value of a personal injury case, it is important that the victim suffered actual injuries. For example, if you slipped in a grocery store but were not injured in the fall, you cannot pursue a lawsuit simply because you are angry that you fell. In order to pursue a personal injury lawsuit you need to have suffered actual injuries. While those injuries are usually physical, psychological trauma may be sufficient. Simply being angry or distraught, however, is not enough. The emotional impact the accident caused will, however, be relevant when determining the value of the case down the road.
- Was another party directly responsible for those injuries? Sometimes it is fairly clear that another party’s negligence caused a victim’s injuries. For instance, if you are in a car accident with a drunk driver it is obvious that the drunk driver is directly responsible for your injuries and, as such, responsible for compensating you for those injuries.
- Is it possible that another party was indirectly responsible for your injuries? Negligence is not always obvious. This is why it is always best to consult with a personal injury attorney if you have suffered injuries in an “accident.” Ask yourself, however, if someone else contributed to the circumstances surrounding your injuries. For example, if you were injured falling down the stairs in a hotel and you realize the lights were not on or the handrail was loose, the hotel owner/operator could be held responsible, despite the fact that he/she was not even present at the time of the accident.
- Is the negligent party denying responsibility? In order to receive compensation for your injuries the at-fault party was acknowledge negligence, or be found to have been negligent at a trial. If the negligent party refuses to accept that he/she was at-fault you will need an attorney to prove negligence, either through negotiations or at trial.
- Do you wish more than a token amount of compensation for your injuries? There is no law requiring you to hire a personal injury attorney to help you. You can attempt to negotiate with the negligent party’s insurance carrier yourself; however, keep in mind that insurance adjusters spend all day, every day, trying to save their company from having to pay out any more than is absolutely necessary in claims. Therefore, the most you are likely to be offered is a token amount for your injuries. Your claim could be worth $100,000 and you might be offered $10,000. Unfortunately, seriously injured victims often take what they are offered and ultimately miss out on the majority of the compensation to which they are entitled. To prevent this from happening to you it is best to have an experienced personal injury attorney review your case and negotiate with the insurance adjuster on your behalf.
The bottom line is that there is no harm done by at least consulting with an experienced to Tennessee personal injury attorney, though there is much to potentially gain.
If you believe you are the victim of a Tennessee personal injury accident, it is in your best interest to consult with the experienced Tennessee personal injury accident attorneys at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.