Experienced Chattanooga injury lawyers answer your frequently asked questions
Getting into a traffic accident is an enormous disruption to life. You may be left without a vehicle and seriously injured, and understandably, wondering what to do. When your car wreck results from the negligence of another motorist, it is both reasonable and smart to explore your legal options. And regardless of cause or fault, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities in the aftermath of a crash.
For your reference, the attorneys of Dennis & King Law have compiled some of the most common questions we hear from auto accident clients. Read on, below, or book a free consultation with us for more information about your specific case.
Q: What do I do if I have been involved in a Chattanooga car accident?
A: After an automobile crash it’s important to record and preserve evidence that might be useful in a legal claim for compensation. But your first priority should always be your own safety and physical condition. At the scene of a car wreck, take the following steps as you are able:
- Assess injuries/damage as best you can – If you or anyone else has suffered obvious or serious injuries, only move as you are capable. Observe the accident scene for basic details: number of vehicles involved, number of people affected, location including mile markers or other visual indicators, general damage and injuries, etc.
- Secure yourself and the crash site – If you are able to move, get yourself and other motorists out of the danger of the flow of traffic. If you (or anyone else involved) has flares, cones or other means of alerting oncoming drivers to the accident, use them to secure the site and prevent another collision.
- Report the accident – Call 911 or local police to report the accident. This report will be an essential piece of evidence if you decide to take legal action to seek compensation for injuries/damages. Officers will be dispatched to the crash site; however, refrain from providing them or others involved in the accident with any statement or testimony about the circumstances or cause of the accident. Even if they ask, you can refuse or say you need to consult your attorney first.
- Exchange ID and insurance details – Take down any other motorist’s name, contact info, license number and insurance information, and share your details with them. Often the easiest way to do this is by taking photos of their license and their insurance card, and then saving their phone number as a contact in your phone. If any witnesses are present, request their names and contact details as well.
- Record evidence – Take photos/video footage of the accident scene, of the damage to your vehicle and of your injuries, if possible.
- Seek medical attention – Regardless of how you feel in the immediate aftermath, you should get checked out by a doctor or at a hospital right away following a crash. Additionally, monitor your status over the next several hours/days for any pain or other conditions that might arise.
Q: I may have been partly responsible for my car accident. What should I do?
A: Tennessee is a comparative fault (also known as comparative negligence) state, meaning that more than one party can share responsibility or fault for a car wreck. Being partially at fault in your accident does not render you ineligible for injury compensation; however, the amount of compensation to which you are entitled will be reduced in proportion with the percentage you are found at fault. In other words, if the judge or jury determines you are 30 percent at fault for the accident, you’d be eligible for 70 percent of the total value of your case. So even if there are concerns about partial fault, you should still consult an injury lawyer about pursuing your claim.
Q: I was involved in a car accident but do not feel any pain. Do I still need medical attention?
A: In short, yes. You should always seek medical attention following a car crash. With apparent injuries, the need for medical care is often clear. But even if you feel fine, you could have internal or other injuries that are not immediately apparent with effects that develop over time, such as whiplash or a concussion.
If you are concerned about paying for the treatment you require, remember that whatever compensation you are entitled to in an auto accident claim will account for previous expenses and can be applied retroactively. Putting off treatment until you arrange compensation seriously jeopardizes your health and wellbeing.
Q: What should I do after a car accident?
A: In the short term after your accident, you should focus on dealing with your injuries and getting well. Follow your doctors’ instructions when it comes to rehab/physical therapy and any other treatment. At the same time, it’s important to keep detailed records during this period, including copies of medical bills, car repair statements and any other expenses pertaining to the accident or your injuries. Also keep track of any wages you may have lost due to missed work during recovery. Take the time you need, and when you are ready, reach out to a car accident attorney to schedule a consultation.
Q: What is the Georgia statute of limitations on personal injury cases?
A: According to state law, Georgians have up to two years from the car wreck in which to file a personal injury case. In Tennessee, the statute of limitations is only one year from date of the accident.
Q: Should I contact my own insurer before I contact an attorney?
A: Generally, you are required to report accidents to your auto insurance provider right away—most policies operate under these terms. When other motorists are involved, and particularly if there is a question of fault, you should be sure to consult a lawyer before interacting or answering any questions from insurance adjusters or agents representing the other party.
Reach out to a skilled injury attorney representing clients throughout Tennessee and Georgia
The dedicated and knowledgeable professionals of Dennis & King Law are here to answer all of your questions about taking legal action following a car wreck. To learn more, contact us online to schedule a free consultation or call (423) 529-4130 to speak to someone directly.