How to Handle the Aftermath of an Auto Accident

Hopefully, a car accident is a rare occurrence in your life. But nearly everyone will go through an auto accident, large or small, at some point in their life. You need to know what to do, not just for legal purposes, but also for insurance purposes. Here are some tips you need to know to handle the aftermath of an auto accident:

Check for Injuries 

If it is possible, pull over to the shoulder of the road to stay out of traffic. Then, check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If it is safe to do so and you are able to, go to the other car and check on the other occupants. Call 911 to report the accident and any injuries that happened. Follow the instructions of the operator.

Exchange Information 

The next step is to exchange information with the driver. You will need their name, phone number, and insurance information. This will allow you to file a claim for the accident. Give them your information as well. Make a note if any of the drivers do not have insurance.

Do not claim that the accident was your fault, or their fault, to the other driver. That’s for the auto insurance people and the courts to determine. Claiming an accident was your fault could jeopardize your claim.

Document the Scene

Take photographs of the scene and the damage to your vehicle. This can serve as evidence for the insurance companies, and any potential court case you might file, about what happened. It will also help the insurance companies make a better estimate of what needs to be covered.

Give a Report

When the officer arrives, give your report of what happened. Be truthful and complete about the facts of the situation. Assuming nothing has happened that would require an arrest, such as a DUI, the officer will give you information that will let you contact the police station for progress on the investigation. The police should also be able to help tow your vehicle if needed.

Gather Financial Documentation

Once your car is at a mechanic, get an estimate for the repairs. If there were injuries, get an estimate for medical bills as well, if you can. You may wish to call a lawyer at this point. They can advise you on what other documentation you might need to make a strong case to the insurance company.

Call the Insurance Company

Either on your own with good documentation, or with the help of a lawyer, contact the insurance company to report the incident and make a claim to cover the costs. Be prepared for a lot of questions and to file a statement. You might have to wait while the insurance company does their own investigation by calling the other party and the police to get their sides of the story.

When the insurance company comes forward with a settlement offer, your lawyer can help you determine whether or not it is a fair offer. Their first offer isn’t always the best one, but having a lawyer on your side can improve the likelihood that they won’t lowball you. If the offer is really unfair or violates the policy, your lawyer can assist you in fighting the offer in court.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Did you know that distracted driving is one of the most dangerous things you can do on the road? Yes, even more than drunk driving! One day, texting while driving might be as socially unacceptable as drunk driving. But that day hasn’t arrived yet, which is why we’re seeing cases like these:

  • Four bus drivers in Knox County have been charged under a new law that prohibits school bus drivers from using electronic devices while on the road. The new law now mandates 30-day jail sentences for people convicted of this crime. Hamilton County was the first test of the law, but that case also involved vehicular homicide charges when six children were killed in the crash.
  • You know that solar eclipse coming up soon? TDOT has issued a public service announcement warning people not to stop their cars on the interstate or otherwise interfere with traffic while the eclipse is occurring. They are worried that people will wear eclipse glasses and drive down the roads. They are also expecting a huge increase in traffic volume since Tennessee is within the eclipse totality path.

On a much more serious note, traffic fatalities are up in Chattanooga over last year due to distracted driving. The city has the second highest traffic fatality rate in the state this year. So far this year, 65 traffic deaths have occurred, which is 13 more than this time last year.

What can be done to control distracted driving? These days even our vehicles seem like they’re designed to distract with new touchscreen interfaces and all sorts of connectivity options to our wireless devices. From the individual driver standpoint, there are a lot of things you can do:

  • The best thing is to turn off all wireless devices in the vehicle and ask your passengers to do the same. We’ve trained ourselves to feel like we need to respond to every buzz and beep, so shutting a device completely off is the best route. Consider your car like you would a movie theater.
  • If you must keep your phone on, use hands-free devices so you’ll never have to pick up your phone to use it. Keep your calls short and to the point. If traffic starts to get heavy, hang up. It’s better to stay safe.
  • Don’t eat in the car if you can help it. While it may not be illegal like texting, it is a form of distraction.
  • Keep your eyes out for other distracted drivers. Just because you’re safe doesn’t mean that the other drivers around you are!

If you are injured in an accident, any evidence that the other driver was distracted at the time will help your case considerably. The chances that your contributions to a percentage of fault in the crash will be much lower, which means more potential compensation. Likewise, if you’re shown to be distracted before an injury accident, your compensation will be at risk.

Don’t think you can hide it, either. Police are working on ways to detect whether you were using an electronic device prior to a crash. New York is examining a new device they’re calling a “textalyzer” that does just that. It’s still under development, but if it works well and holds up in court, it could create a chilling effect on distracted driving. Ultimately, that makes us all safer.

Is Motorcycle Lane Splitting Safe?

Have you ever driven down a road and had a motorcycle come up between the lanes? It’s common in California and in several other countries, but it’s not so common here. It looks really dangerous to a driver, but motorcyclists say that this practice, called lane splitting, can actually save lives.

An article from Clarksville Online talks about the practice. Basically, if the traffic is slowed or stopped, it’s very dangerous for motorcyclists. People get quite distracted during traffic jams and put riders at risk. Also, it is hard to start and stop quickly on a motorcycle.

In fact, around 60% of the motorcycle crashes in the country happen in moderate to heavy traffic. This is from the Hurt Report, a comprehensive motorcycle crash study report that is still the best of its kind despite its age. But if riders are able to split lanes, so the theory goes, then they can get out of the way of dangerous slow-moving traffic and clear up spaces for others on the road.

There are other advantages as well, according to proponents. Riders going between lanes are much easier to see inside mirrors rather than moving in and out of a blind spot. Motorcyclists will also be less fatigued from starting and stopping all the time. Also, they will be at less risk for exhaust exposure and heat-related conditions that can injure a biker caught in a traffic jam with no AC. Finally, the chances of a rear-end collision are greatly reduced. Even at low speeds, a collision with a motorcyclist can cause life-long injury or death.

However, as of this writing, lane splitting is only explicitly legal in one state, California. A few other states have pending legislation on it. Tennessee had a bill in 2015 to allow the practice but it died in the legislature. Studies done in California have suggested that motorcyclists who do practice lane splitting, also known as lane sharing or filtering, are at a much lower risk of trauma.

But if it were to happen, American drivers would have to go through an adjustment period. What may be normal practice in other countries (and California) could be a shock to a driver who doesn’t expect to have motorcycles passing them to the left and right between vehicles. Also, not all motorcyclists approve of the practice because it can seem rather dangerous. And there is the chance of some motorcyclists taking unnecessary risks or showing off between the lanes.

Right now, if you are a motorcyclist and got into an accident and you were lane splitting, it would be difficult to achieve a favorable outcome. Lane splitting is prohibited by Tennessee law. If you believe that this is a safe practice, you will need to continue the fight to get the law changed. Until then, please take care when you’re out riding by following these safety tips:

  • Always wear full protective gear, including leathers and a helmet, to minimize the risk of injury
  • Hydrate yourself well before you get onto the road, and take into account the heat. Carry extra water if necessary.
  • Familiarize yourself with the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Pull over if you feel them coming on and seek help.
  • Take care in traffic jams to avoid rear-end collisions. If you feel sick from exhaust fumes, try to leave the traffic jam at the earliest opportunity and seek fresh air.

Stay safe while riding, and don’t lane split until it’s legal!

What Role Do Attorneys Play In Trucking Accident Cases?

When you are in a trucking accident, there are often special circumstances that only an experienced attorney can handle effectively.  Truck accident lawyers use a combination of traffic laws, insurance laws, and personal injury laws to get the most out of the justice system to ensure that the victims involved can receive the most out of their claims or cases.

How a Trucking Accident Case Works

If you have been injured in a trucking accident you will get more protection and feel more secure when you hire an experienced attorney to handle your case.  Attorneys who specialize in personal injury cases dealing with trucking and car accidents are assigned to your case and can negotiate with the other parties involved and they can determine who should pay for the damages that incurred. An attorney can work with the insurance and company if the truck is a commercial vehicle.

Court officials and insurance companies will collect all of the data together in order to conclude exactly what happened when the accident occurred.  This can be completed using police reports, photos, and other evidence, and then use the local traffic laws as well as legal concepts such as to determine who caused the accident.  Whoever is determined to be at fault for the accident is the person who will have to pay for any lost wages, medical and property expenses, as well as any harm related to pain and suffering.

There isn’t an exact science to calculating what a person will be entitled to receive since there are cases where both drivers are at fault for the accident and all states have slightly different rules associated with certain situations where there is more than one person responsible for the accident. Some states require that one party pays all the bills while other states require the two parties to split the damages and fees according to the amount each party is to blame, per the accident history.

What Role Does Auto Insurance Play?


Thanks to insurance policies put in place, most people do not pay for all of the damages stemming from a trucking collision out of pocket. Automobile insurance may pay to repair at least some of the damages or replacement cost for all or some of the vehicles involved and may pay for some medical expenses as well. Insurance companies may also pay for an attorney, if necessary, although in most of these cases the clients have an attorney selected by the insurance company rather than choosing their own attorney to represent them.  State laws also vary widely on the extent and types of insurance coverage that is required for a person to drive a commercial truck.

How To Determine Who Is At Fault?

Determining who pays for the damages after a collision with a truck is slightly more complicated than other kinds of accidents because trucks are often commercially owned, so the liability insurance policies may rest not only on the driver but on the owner of the truck as well.  The laws regarding who is at fault may vary depending on the types of vehicles involved and the coverage.  Most semi-truck drivers are usually professionally trained and certified and have to drive more carefully than most other drivers.  Determining who pays for the damage after a collision with a semi-truck or commercial truck is slightly more complicated than other kinds of accidents due to the particulars involved in trucks that are commercially owned.

For more information regarding personal liability and trucking accidents, contact Chattanooga law firm Dennis & King today!

Factors That Affect Compensation for Your Injury Case

If you want to shorten the amount of time you spend on a personal injury claim it is best to hire an attorney to work through all the details for you so you can be sure the claim is settled fairly. Contacting your auto insurance company immediately after you are in an accident without the advice from an attorney can affect your compensation.

Some important factors that your insurance adjuster will review include:

  • The information from the police report.
    Tip: 
    Make sure you make a police report immediately after the accident occurs.
  • If and how long it took for you to seek medical attention.
    Tip: Visit the emergency room or your physician as soon as possible after an accident if you are injured.
  • All pre-existing injuries that you listed as being a result of the accident.
    Tip: 
    Be sure to have your physician take new x-rays of the injuries you’ve listed as a result of the accident so these can be compared to the pre-existing injuries.
  • Any DUI/DWI charges or citations related to the accident.
  • Statements that you make to other drivers or passengers after the accident.
    Tip: 
    Avoid making promises or statements of blame and keep any comment you make factual about what happened during the accident.
  • All witness testimonials.
  • Photographs that were taken during the scene of the accident.
  • Valid copies of paychecks and other documents that validate any wages you lost due to the accident.
  • Details regarding the limitations of your insurance policy.

The Importance Of Collecting Evidence

Solid evidence of the accident makes your case for a personal injury claim stronger. You want to prepare as much documentation as possible when preparing to submit a claim to the car insurance company. You can gather evidence in the days after a car accident.

Some helpful tips that are sure to help you prepare enough evidence to support your personal injury claims.

  • Witness statements and contact information. If there were any witnesses, be sure to collect any information witnessed at the time of the accident. If you can contact them as soon as possible and get them to write down what they observed down on paper that would work in your favor as well.
  • Record your injuries by taking photos, getting medical attention, and collecting all medical evidence of your injuries.
  • Take notes of the accident as soon as you are physically able to, preferably right after the accident.
  • At the scene of the accident,  make sure to take pictures of damages, tire markings on the pavement, and anything else that would be useful to use as evidence of your claim. You may notice something, such as a faded or missing traffic sign that led you to make a driving mistake, or if you were injured, make sure to take pictures of where you were injured, if possible.
  • Keep physical evidence if it contributed to the accident. Examples include torn pieces of clothing, rocks or debris that made you swerve out of the way, etc.

How Injury Attorneys Help With Insurance Adjusters Assigned To Your Claim

It is not uncommon for people to be unsure of what to do after a car accident.  Insurance companies are often the first contact you call after you are in an accident.

Although the insurance company’s job is paying for your damages, they also try to save money on insurance claim payouts.

Dealing with the insurance company on your own can be a tricky situation, especially if you’re at fault for the accident.  In most cases, whether the accident is your fault or not, it is a good idea to have an injury attorney to speak to the insurance agents assigned to your claim.

When hiring a Chattanooga injury attorney, all aspects of your insurance claim are handled by the attorney.  Hiring an attorney protects you from any potential problems and being taken advantage of.

In contrast to hiring an attorney, insurance agents try to get you to make a decision right away.  This is unfortunately how injured victims are manipulated into agreeing on a lower settlement. In the end, victims of a car accident end up settling your claim for far less money than what you should be compensated for.

The Insurance Company Is Not Obligated To Be Fair Or Fast-acting

The other driver’s insurance company only has an obligation to their insurer.  They have no responsibility to treat you well or address your needs.  Instead, they may even ignore you completely.

Unfortunately, there is virtually nothing stopping an insurance company from doing this. They may offer you a settlement far lower than what your case is worth, delay payments, and even deny your claim.  It can be difficult to stick up for yourself in these situations.

Insurance Agents Will Almost Always Low-Ball Your Compensation

It’s important to remember that insurance adjusting agents see cases like yours every day.  Insurance agents can generally estimate the worth of a claim by reading the facts.  They also know how to negotiate with victims who are not represented by an attorney.

Unfortunately, the insurance agent’s experience in working on so many claims enables them to get victims to agree to as little as possible for compensation for their claim.

This sometimes means that insurance adjusters will take advantage of victims if they can get away with it while paying less on a claim.   Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can prevent you from having to deal with insurance agents altogether.   Get the compensation you deserve for personal injuries and vehicle damages.

You do not have to use the body shop that the insurance company recommends.

Some insurance companies will tell you that you must use a particular body shop to receive compensation for your property damage.  In most situations, this simply isn’t the case.

In fact, you may want to avoid the shop the insurance company recommends because they may undervalue your vehicle or provide decreased estimates on how much it will cost to get things fixed.  If you have a body shop that you like better, it may be a good idea to use them instead.

You likely do not want the first settlement offer.

In most situations, the first settlement offer is an opening point.  It gets the bargaining process going.  However, some victims will take the first offer, so the insurance company may try to low ball you first, just to see if it works.  Unfortunately, some victims see mounting medical bills, vehicle repair bills, and time away from work, so they are eager to accept anything the insurance company will give them.

Getting an experienced accident lawyer can help you determine what your case is really worth.  Your attorney will also help you get the most out of your car accident. After all, you were injured, and you deserve to be compensated for your losses.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Insurance After An Accident

It is often painful to financial health to be in a major car accident when personal injury claims are not properly processed, leaving victims of car accidents in a pit of debt.  One of the first steps to take when you incur injuries is to have a quality legal team of attorneys who can guide you through the recovery process.

Dennis & King Law is one of Chattanooga’s most well-known firms that specialize in personal injury claims for automobile accidents and trucking accidents.

Sometimes accidents are not our fault. Sometimes they partly are. Having car accident lawyers to help work through the mess that often follows an accident can remove some of the burdens that you might be feeling. Dennis & King specialize in helping clients after they experience a major accident on the roadway. There are different types of accident cases that might happen.

Car Insurance Coverage Types For Injury Claims

Before seeking compensation for your car accident claim, you should understand which types of coverage will apply to your personal injuries.

The different types of insurance claims you may be covered under include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: Bodily injury liability coverage is provided is applied when the other driver is at fault for the car accident. In cases like these, your own liability policy will NOT cover your personal injuries.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): PIP is most commonly called “no-fault insurance”, which differs from liability, where PIP insurance pays for your medical costs up to the policy’s limits (regardless if you are at fault or not).
  • Medical payments coverage (MPC): MPC pays for medical expenses (medical bills only) regardless of who is at fault. MPC is similar to PIP with the exception that it does not cover funeral expenses, lost income, or loss of services.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This type of insurance is applied to bodily injury claims when you’ve been either the victim of a hit and run accident, or hit by a driver who possesses either no insurance or all or limitations for paying personal injury compensation that does not cover the personal injury expenses you’ve incurred.

Dennis & King Law will speak with you over what you are entitled to receive during the trial.  If the accident was not your fault, having the facts of the case clearly noted will put you at an advantage when determining your case in court.  Dennis & King have an info page on their website that refers to steps that you can take to keep your body healthy after an accident.

Protecting Your Finances After A Car Accident

Saving some money on the side in an emergency fund can help when these things occur.  The insurance company can often get you some reimbursement payment for car damage. Having the information about the accident very clear is good for the insurance call as well.

Dennis & King look forward to serving you and your family.  Our goal is that you will walk away from this accident much better and in a healthier condition.  A vehicle accident is a tragedy that no one likes to see happen.  Lawyers like Dennis & King are in business to make sure that your needs are not ignored.

Ready to get your personal injury claim handled by the best attorneys in Chattanooga? Contact Dennis & King Law today by filling out the form here or calling (423) 892-5533!

How Much Compensation Are You Entitled To After A Trucking Accident?

When you are injured in a semi-truck accident (trucking accident), you are often entitled to receive compensation for more than just the repairs to your truck. Compensation could also include lost wages, medical bills, and other related expenses from the auto insurance company or from the other driver’s car insurance company. So how do you know how much you are entitled to receive in a trucking accident claim?

The following information can help you get the most out of your truck accident claim.

DETERMINING FAULT

In some situations, like a rear-end collision where you hit the vehicle in front of you, the other driver will almost always be considered at no fault. However, other types of trucking accidents are not so clear and with the tables turned you may be the driver who is not at fault for the damages.

The best way to assist the process of your auto insurance company in determining who is at fault is to give information to your claims adjuster. This information includes a thorough explanation of what happened. If you don’t believe you are at fault, presenting a reasonable argument with details regarding why you are not at fault that includes supportive details can ensure your claim works in your favor.

CAN YOU PROVE CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE?

Negligence involves any careless behavior that contributes to an accident. A few states allow contributory negligence evidence when determining whether someone is entitled to compensation for an injury caused by a truck accident. When contributory negligence is concerned, if the other driver can prove that you are partially at fault for the accident you will not be compensated for payment of your personal injury claim.

HOW WILL COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE AFFECT MY CLAIM?

Comparative negligence is used by most states and is used when determining how victims of truck accidents should be compensated. When comparative negligence is applied to a claim where you are partially at fault, your compensation may be reduced. Depending on your state, there are two types of comparative negligence that will be used to determine how much compensation you will qualify for. These two types are as follows:

Modified comparative fault: Compensation is given in proportion to the amount of the accident that was not your fault, with the stipulation that you are only at fault for LESS THAN 50%-51% of the truck accident.

Pure comparative negligence: Compensation is given in proportion to the total amount of the accident that was not your fault. If injuries equal to $80,000 and you were considered 50% at fault for the accident, your damages will be reduced by 50 percent, allowing you to be compensated for $40,000.

Want to know more about how much you are entitled to in a trucking accident? Call Dennis and King Law today to get all the support and answers you need for your personal injury claim or fill out our contact form here!

What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident

After a serious motorcycle accident, you may have questions about what damages and losses can be covered by your insurance or the other parties in the accident.

Contacting a law firm is the best initial step you should take before you do anything.  Attorneys who specialize in motorcycle accidents prevent you from making regretful decisions like settling on an amount from the insurance company that doesn’t cover all  medical bills, injuries, and inconvenience factors like car rentals and loss of wages. In Chattanooga, law firms and attorneys like those from Dennis and King Law, are knowledgeable about motorcycle accidents.

A lot of times,  motorcycle accidents can cause injuries that land you in the hospital, causing you to miss work and rack up expenses that are oftentimes unpaid. Returning to work after an injury is also tough since most people are still healing and need accommodations to their daily routines and often slows their productivity.

When motorcycle accidents occur, the parties involved (whether they are at fault or not) usually have little knowledge about what they can legally ask for to cover damages of assets, medical bills, cost to repair vehicle damages, and insurance issues and hold-ups for paying injury costs.

When you hire an attorney, everything you need to know about claims and laws are clearly defined for you. Having an attorney brings clarity as it makes the overall process of filing a claim and getting what you are entitled to receive. When everything is simplified by the attorney you are not taken advantage of or have to worry about whether or not your claim of personal injury will be fully covered.

When motorcycle accidents involve a company, individuals who have incurred personal injury are usually already stressed enough from visiting doctors, taking their truck or vehicle in for repairs, talking to a ton of insurance agents who give you estimates that are barely comprehensible, and making accommodations for transportation to take care of the things you normally would before the accident occurred.

Having an experienced motorcycle accident attorney walk you through an entire process of lawsuits can provide relief, which is why most people who have been in a motorcycle accident with a lawyer recommend to people they know to do the same.

An experienced attorney in motorcycle accidents can provide a free consultation and choose to have a law firm to work on your case can be the smartest, first step to getting what you deserve for the trauma, damages, and loss that was inflicted.

Personal Injury Laws Involving Commercial Truck and Trucking Accidents

After a serious trucking accident, you may have many questions about the laws and what you are covered for the damages and loss.

Contacting a truck accident attorney may be the best first step you can take before you regret settling for insurance costs that provide you with no comfort or resolution for the injuries you have.

In Chattanooga, the attorneys from Dennis and King have in-depth experience with trucking laws and are knowledgeable about trucking accidents.

When commercial trucking accidents occur, the people and companies involved (whether they are at fault or not) usually have little knowledge about what they can legally ask for to cover damages, medical bills,  and car repair costs.

When trucking accidents involve a company, individuals who have incurred personal injury are usually already stressed enough from visiting doctors, taking their truck or vehicle in for repairs, talking to a ton of insurance agents who give you estimates that are barely comprehensible, and making accommodations for transportation to take care of the things you normally would before the accident occurred.

A lot of times, injuries that occur from trucking accidents can cause injuries that land you into the hospital, causing you to miss work and rack up expenses that are oftentimes unpaid.  Returning to work after having a personal injury is also tough since most people are still healing and need accommodations made to their daily routines and often slows their productivity.

Having an experienced lawyer to walk you through an entire process of lawsuits involving truck accidents can provide relief, which is why most people who have experienced being in a commercial trucking accident with a lawyer recommend to people they know to do the same.

An experienced attorney in trucking accidents can provide free consultation and choosing to have a law firm to work on your case can be the smartest, first step to getting what you deserve for the trauma, damages, and loss that was inflicted.