Memphis, TN Car Accident Lawyer
As your car accident lawyer in Memphis, TN from Darrell Castle & Associates, PLLC may tell you, just because an insurance company has offered to pay for your accident doesn’t mean you need to accept what they’re giving. If the proposal you’ve received is inadequate, you have the right to negotiate a more satisfying result. Your odds of successfully doing so are better when you go about bargaining the proper way. Here are some tips on how you should respond to an unsatisfactory settlement offer.
When should I get help with my car accident?
It’s in your best interest to get the ball rolling as fast as possible. Most importantly, there are statutes of limitations that need to be met. Those who miss their state’s deadline may wind up forfeiting the money they deserve altogether. Nearly as critical is the amount of time it takes to gather what you need. You’ll need an opportunity to collect medical bills and accident records, which you may have misplaced. If they’re missing, you’ll have to contact hospitals and police to request additional copies. A car accident attorney can help get everything you need to make a solid case.
Is there anything I should not do at this time?
You need to be careful what you tell people regarding your case. This is especially true when it comes to insurance adjusters. It’s in their interest to find reasons for why you deserve less. Deny them the chance to generate doubt. Even innocent comments can be skewed and taken out of context. Be honest, but never admit fault or embellish. Stay away from social media. Even innocuous postings could come back to haunt you.
Why is a lawyer so important?
Claims adjusters have the advantage of knowledge on their side. As insurance professionals, their high level of experience informs them regarding how you’re likely to react. They’ll use this know-how against you so that you’re left with less than you deserve. You can even things up by hiring a Tennessee car accident lawyer in Memphis from our law firm to fight for your interests. Masters of automobile accident litigation understand how to navigate the red tape these organizations force you to endure. They also have the skills to communicate that you mean business and aren’t willing to back down.
Contact Darrell Castle & Associates Today
The sad reality is that insurance companies work hard to offer the least amount possible. Luckily, you do not need to accept an insufficient offer. Under most circumstances, negotiating a more reasonable amount is the way to go. Hire an experienced TN car accident lawyer in Memphis from Darrell Castle & Associates, PLLC today to help extract the maximum value for your suffering.
How Does a Car Accident Lawyer Help You?
To understand why contacting a car accident lawyer in Memphis TN right away is so important, you need to know the benefits. Having a lawyer by your side makes the entire process much easier, not to mention less stressful for you and your family. How specifically can our team help?
Answering Your Questions and Providing Advice You Can Trust
Most drivers don’t know much about Tennessee driving laws or injury laws. This is normal. The purpose of having an experienced lawyer is to be able to ask questions and get good answers. At Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, we encourage our clients to ask questions about the process, what to expect and other concerns.
Professional recommendations can help you receive the compensation you need more quickly. With the help of a car accident lawyer in Memphis TN, you can avoid making common mistakes that hurt your case.
Representing You and Negotiating in Your Behalf
Your car accident lawyer in Memphis TN acts as your legal representative. Instead of having to deal with insurance companies yourself, your lawyer can handle negotiations for you.
This provides several benefits. For one thing, it lets you focus on recovery instead of worrying about legal matters. You can go back to work or spend time with your family while our team works hard on your case.
Having an attorney take care of negotiations is also wise because of the legal weight we bring to the table. Many insurers are more inclined to give you a fair settlement offer when they see you have a lawyer representing you.
Defending You In Lawsuits
Depending on the circumstances of the car accident, getting the compensation you need and deserve may not be your only concern. The other driver may attempt to throw all of the blame on your shoulders, suing you for medical costs and other damages. In that situation, your car accident lawyer in Memphis TN can put your mind at ease.
At Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, we have extensive courtroom experience. We can defend you and protect your interests skillfully in lawsuits.
Investigating the Accident and Strengthening Your Case
A good legal team also takes the time to perform an investigation. This research can include gathering testimony from eyewitnesses, videos from passersby, police reports, hospital records and similar evidence. All of these things make your case stronger, which in turn helps with settlement negotiations or in court.
Car Accident Lawyer Memphis TN
If you’ve been in a car accident it may be in your best interest to find a car accident lawyer in Memphis TN. A car accident is a scary time and plenty of people can get hurt during them. Despite the recent safety features, there is one feature that has been proven to be the most effective in keeping people safe. That would be your trusty seat belt and only about 80% of people use them all the time.
That means that around 20% of people are at a higher risk of suffering injuries or dying because they aren’t using their seat belts. Just, why is using a seat belt so important? Read on to see how wearing your seat belt can lower your risk of injury and death by about half.
Why Are Seat Belts Important?
Seat Belts have predated modern passenger cars, and even then they were considered safe. They were once used in horse-drawn carriages and as of 1958, nearly every state enforces seat belt laws. With all the new technology that has come through, cars have become much safer than they were in the past. The best thing to do though is to wear your seat belt. Below are the reasons as to why:
Secures You in Position
If your car starts to skid or even spin your seat belt is going to hold you in the most ideal position. It keeps you from being thrown around the car when this happens and allows you to keep control of your vehicle. Those who don’t buckle up are far more likely to lose control of the vehicle and crash.
Most fatalities are more common in car accidents when someone is thrown from the vehicle. Your seat belt is designed to keep you from doing that and prevent more injury from impact. It will increase your odds of survival by just wearing your seat belt correctly.
Distributes Impact Force
When you wear your seat belt correctly the shoulder and lap strap help distribute the impact of force over the strongest parts of your body. This is less likely to cause an injury than the impact you’d face on your head, chest, abdomen, or limbs if you weren’t restrained. While yes, the seat belt can cause bruising during a crash, it isn’t nearly as bad as going through the windshield. Your head and spine are at risk during a crash and the seat belt keeps that from happening as much as possible.
Helps Your Body Match the Speed of the Vehicle
If you aren’t buckled up you will continue moving at the same speed as your vehicle after impact. This is likely going to send you into hitting the steering wheel, dashboard, or even the windshield. Yes, the seat belt is likely to cause some bruising or injury but it will keep you in your vehicle with a sudden stop.
Being in a car accident is a scary time. If you or someone you love has experienced a car accident and is looking for compensation then finding a car accident lawyer in Memphis Tennessee could benefit you. Reach out to Darrell Castle & Associates, PLLC to find out what we can do for you.
Signs Your Car Accident Settlement Offer Is Too Low
If you’re the victim of a car accident, you’re likely eager to accept a settlement. Your medical bills are piling up and you’re not sure when you can return to work. However, you should avoid accepting a settlement prematurely. Here are a few signs that the insurance company’s offer is too low.
- The insurance company pressures you to accept an offer quickly. It’s not always possible to know the extent of your injuries after one doctor’s visit. In fact, many car accident victims don’t know how bad their injuries actually are until weeks or months after the accident. Therefore, if the insurance company presses you to accept a settlement right away, it’s not a good sign. It means that they’re worried about costs increasing in the future and want to pay as little as possible.
- The settlement doesn’t consider all your damages. A car accident can result in many more damages than just your initial medical bills and lost wages. It can also cause future medical bills, pain and suffering and lost future earning capacity. Insurance companies are expected to act in good faith and consider all of these damages. Unfortunately, as a car accident lawyer in Memphis, TN can confirm, many insurers are concerned about their bottom line first and may try to get out of covering damages you’re entitled to.
- The insurance company questions your injuries. As mentioned previously, insurance companies only care about their bottom line and will try hard to get out of paying you what you deserve. One way they might do this is by questioning your injuries. For example, they may argue that your pre-existing condition is the main cause of your current injury. If this occurs, don’t accept the settlement offer.
- The insurance company places blame on you. This is another common tactic insurance companies use to lower settlement offers. An insurance adjuster may argue that you were distracted at the time of the accident or driving too fast, for example. If the insurance company tries to blame you, don’t say yes to their offer.
- The insurance company dismisses evidence. If you wish to obtain compensation for a car accident, you may be required to submit evidence to the insurance company, like police reports, medical bills and photos. If the insurance company tries to claim that the evidence isn’t relevant, be suspicious.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can result in many types of injuries, ranging from mild to severe. The severity of an injury depends on the type of car accident and where the person is situated in the car. Here are the most common types of car accident injuries people endure.
- Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries are one of the most common injuries people sustain in vehicle crashes and can be severe. The spinal cord is home to the nerves that make up the central nervous system, so injuries to the spinal cord can cause problems all throughout the body. In severe cases, these injuries can lead to partial or complete paralysis.
- Head injuries. Trauma to the head are the most common fatal injuries resulting from vehicle collisions. Symptoms of a head injury include nausea, headache, confusion, memory problems, loss of balance and blurred vision. Head injuries can occur if an object strikes your head or from the impact alone.
- Broken bones. Car accidents can also result in broken bones in the hands, arms, feet, legs and hips. Breaking a bone causes extreme pain and may require a long recovery time. If a bone is broken in more than one place, surgery may be necessary.
- Chest injuries. Chest injuries include damage to the internal organs, broken ribs and collapsed lung and often require surgery. Drivers have a higher risk of suffering these injuries because they do not have a lot of space between their chest and the steering wheel. Symptoms of chest injuries include coughing, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, bruising and low blood pressure.
- Cuts and scrapes. If broken glass and other sharp objects pierce your skin during a car accident, you can suffer cuts and scrapes. Compared to other car accident injuries, cuts and scrapes may seem quite minor. However, as a car accident lawyer in Memphis TN can confirm, these injuries are nothing to make light of. If not treated properly, they can lead to serious infections and permanent scarring.
- Whiplash. Whiplash is a common neck injury that occurs during car accidents and can result in neck pain and stiffness, dizziness and headaches. Sometimes symptoms do not show up initially, so you might think that you are fine. However, without prompt medical attention, this injury can lead to long-term neck pain.
4 Important Questions To Ask Your Car Accident Lawyer
Being involved in a car accident can cause immense stress, especially if there are serious injuries involved. Getting a car accident lawyer in Memphis TN can be a crucial step in navigating the situation. Once you have secured a reputable firm like Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, there are some important questions you’ll need to ask of your new lawyer.
1. What Do You Charge for Your Services?
You should not hesitate to have a clear conversation with your lawyer about charges and fees. Many personal injury lawyers work on contingency, meaning that they do not get paid unless you win your case; however, some do not. This is important to know. Additionally, there may be other case-related expenses that you could be expected to reimburse, such as fees to access documentation or the cost of expert witnesses. Policy about the payment of these additional costs will vary between law firms, so ask about them upfront.
2. What Is Your Professional Opinion of the Case?
Respected law firms such as Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, build their reputations one client at a time and will not encourage the pursuit of frivolous cases. Ask your lawyer for a professional and clear-eyed assessment of your case. Lawyers cannot predict the future, but experience should allow them to assess your case and let you know whether they believe it is worth pursuing and what the potential outcome will be. In the end, the choice will be yours, but your lawyer’s professional opinion can help you base your decisions on facts.
3. What Do You Need From Me?
Your lawyer will be overseeing all legal and formal details of your case but will need significant input from you. The lawyer assigned to you will need your firsthand knowledge of the incident and other pieces of information that are only accessible to you, such as medical records and treatment plans. Find out what information and documentation your legal representatives need and get it to them as quickly as possible.
4. Who Is My Primary Contact Person?
If you have hired a car accident lawyer in Memphis TN who is part of a large firm, different aspects of your case may be assigned to a variety of professionals within the firm throughout the life of the case. You want to know who you can contact to speak to about your case regardless of which phase it is in. Ideally, this person will remain the same throughout the legal process.
How Are Damages Assessed?
Damages are assessed based on what you can prove (usually with receipts of cost, traffic cams, etc.), and who was at fault. Your recovery amount can be reduced if you were also at fault in causing the accident. If you’re more than 49% at fault, Tennessee’s comparative fault law bars you from bringing a lawsuit. Thus, it’s imperative that you hire the best car accident lawyer Memphis TN has to offer. Choose Darrell Castle & Associates to ensure maximum recovery.
That aside, damages for your personal injury lawsuit are broken into compensatory damages, nominal damages, and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are further divided into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the damages that you can easily calculate, often because there’s a receipt involved. These are your lost earnings from work due to days you needed to miss while recovering or hospitalized, hospital bills, ambulance transportation bill, and so on. Your non-economic compensatory damages are the various types of emotional ailments you can request recovery for, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment. Regarding the latter, their amounts can be estimated based on whether you required therapy, you became so afraid of getting into another accident that you stopped driving, you began having nightmares, etc.
Nominal damages are a minimal dollar amount that a judge awards you when you haven’t suffered any injury other than slight inconvenience. This amount is also awarded simply to prove that your rights as a driver were violated and that another driver is at fault. Although nominal damages can be as low as $1, you should consider seeking this damage type if you’d like to pursue punitive damages.
Punitive damages are more about teaching the at-fault driver or at-fault manufacturing company a lesson than they are about making you whole. Punitive damages serve to punish the defendant for committing malicious, reckless, or wanton acts–acts that supersede simple negligence. In Tennessee, this amount is capped at $500,000 or twice the amount of your compensatory award, whichever is the higher amount.
What Are Common Car Accident Causes?
There are many reasons as to why car accidents occur. Sometimes, the fault falls on multiple parties’ hands. When multiple people or factors are involved, you’re entitled to sue multiple parties. For example, suppose that driver Tom is drunk and hits driver Sarah. Driver Sarah was texting and driving, so she didn’t see Tom until it was too late to swerve out of the way. Driver Sarah then hits your car. Both Tom and Sarah were negligent, and both played a role in your injuries.
But suppose driver Tom hits you because his brakes are faulty. When he hits you, your airbag doesn’t deflate due to manufacturing defects, so you sustain greater injuries than what you would have had your airbag worked properly. In this case, manufacturing defects tie into your claim of negligence, and you may sue your car’s manufacturing company, as well as Tom.
Other common causes of car accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving under the influence
- Poor road conditions
- Hazardous weather conditions
- Poor training (when referring to commercial vehicles, trucks, semis, and tractor trailers)
- Not yielding to the right-of-way
- Road rage