Car accidents are serious and often catastrophic events that can lead to severe injuries and lasting psychological damage. In many cases, these collisions are caused by one driver’s negligence, which could allow the injured party to file a claim for damages. The legal process surrounding Chattanooga car accident claims can be complex, and you may require skilled legal representation to understand all of the significant factors. Do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable attorney for help.
One of the most significant factors in Chattanooga car accidents is the short timeframe of Tennessee’s statute of limitations. Some states allow plaintiffs several years from the date of their accident to commence a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, but Tennessee dictates that all claims need to be filed within a 12-month window.
This 12-month window may seem like a lot of time at the beginning of the case, but in many moderate to more serious cases, it is not enough time for the injured party to fully complete the recovery process, making it extremely difficult to file a claim. The constraints of this deadline could make it even more crucial to enlist the assistance of a Chattanooga attorney as soon as possible after suffering a car crash.
Another important aspect of a Chattanooga car accident involves insurance coverage issues. In the course of evaluating a claim and examining the other driver’s insurance coverage, the limits of a driver’s insurance coverage may not be able to be obtained. This means that the individual may have state minimum coverage, which is $25,000.
However, many insurance policies are in the $100,000 to $500,000 range in terms of liability coverage, and umbrella policies can add millions of dollars on to the coverage in a particular case. Working with an experienced lawyer who has tools to circumvent the prohibition on the exchange of insurance limits in the state could provide a plaintiff a more complete view of their potential compensation. Their attorney could pursue a much greater amount if they can find available insurance coverage through alternative means.
Chattanooga is a comparative negligence jurisdiction, meaning that individuals who are involved in a collision are evaluated on the percentages of fault they displayed in an accident.
Judges or juries can apportion that fault between the parties, the plaintiffs and the defendant. For example, a plaintiff may be 25% at fault for a collision and the defendant may be 75% at fault. In this case, the total damages that a plaintiff can recover will be reduced by the amount of their own responsibility for their injuries.
If the amount of the plaintiff’s responsibility is 50% or greater, state law will completely bar them from recovery. This makes it essential to work with a lawyer who has the experience to defeat these comparative negligence defenses and build a compelling case early on.
Lawyers who are familiar with all the key factors of Chattanooga car accidents have a variety of ways of gathering evidence. They collect crucial information during the discovery process through depositions, written questions, and document requests, as well as interviews with experts in the field. The testimonies of those involved in the accident, such as the plaintiff, the other driver, and any witnesses, will also help the attorney out together a cohesive account of what happened.
An attorney could also collect information from the airbag control module that will show the speed of the cars immediately prior to the accident. Details like this can be used to disprove the statements of either party about how fast they were going right before the impact.
An accident reconstructionist could also examine physical data, such as skid marks broken glass impact, and measurements of the damage to the vehicles or fixed objects, to explain the physics behind the accident. Using these data points could help the judge or jury determine whether or not the plaintiff bears any comparative fault in causing the accident.
If you have recently been injured in a car wreck, you may be feeling overwhelmed as to how to file a claim for damages. Fortunately, a Chattanooga lawyer could guide you through all of the important factors of a car accident claim and clear up any confusion you have surrounding the legal process. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.