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Personal Injury

Personal Injury

personal injury attorney in Lebanon, tn

Personal Injury Lawsuits: Introduction

A personal injury lawsuit is a type of civil action brought to the courts by an injured person against another party who they believe is responsible for their damages. It’s an attempt to recover financial compensation for lost wages and medical expenses as well as for pain and suffering. Personal injury lawsuits can stem from a variety of situations in which someone has been harmed, usually as the result of an accident, injury, and sometimes even cases that result in wrongful death. In most cases, the deciding factor is whether the harm was the result of negligence, and personal injury lawsuits are very often settled through negotiations outside of court—even before an actual lawsuit begins.

Laws vary state by state, and Tennessee operates under comparative negligence law, which may assign the blame between both parties, depending on the situation. It is best to consult with a personal injury lawyer to see if your claim is worth pursuing and you are able to recover damages.

Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits

Among the wide array of situations that can qualify for personal injury lawsuits are car accident lawsuits, medical malpractice suits, and wrongful death actions. Most of these cases will fall under the umbrella of negligence law, in which there are several factors that determine whether or not you have a case.

Tennessee Personal Injury Law

Negligence

In the state of Tennessee, in order to recover damages, you must prove that the other party was negligent in their responsibility. The elements required for this are:

  1. Duty of Care: Was it the other party’s responsibility to make sure no harm came to you?
  2. Breach of Duty: Compared to a ‘reasonably prudent person,’ did the other party’s actions or lack thereof result in a breach of their duty of care
  3. Causation: Was the personal injury caused by the other party’s actions?
  4. Injury: Did your injury result in a personal or financial loss?

Another important consideration is the ability to recover damages, even if you were partially at fault. Under Tennessee’s modified comparative fault law, this is possible instead of assigning blame entirely to one party or the other. This means that if you were partially at fault for the accident—20%, for instance—then you are only eligible to recover the remaining 80% of the damages you are suing for. However, if it is deemed that the accident was over 50% your fault, you will not be able to recover any compensation. This gives some flexibility in these types of cases, as more often than not, it is a combination of factors that cause an accident, and while one party may be significantly more to blame than the other, you may still be held partially accountable and still recover damages.

Statute of Limitations and other considerations

The statute of limitations is the amount of time that can go by after an injury when you can still file a claim for damages. Compared to many other states, the Tennessee Code’s statute of limitations is shorter—one year in most cases. There are some exceptions, such as cases involving minors or disabled persons, but this is the general rule.

Compensation in Personal Injury Lawsuits

In the majority of personal injury lawsuits, you are able to be recompensed in the form of damages for medical expenses, as well as physical and emotional pain and suffering, loss of ability to earn a wage, disability, disfigurement, and loss of life of an individual (and their future earnings).

There is a cap on the amount of damages that a person is able to recover as the result of a personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee. The American Medical Association cap on damages in Tennessee is $750,000 for the majority of cases. However, in cases that result in wrongful death, loss of limbs, and spinal cord damage the cap is $1,000,000. There are different kinds of damages that can be recovered through a personal injury lawsuit.

Punitive Damages

Damages beyond financial compensation that are used to punish the person or party at fault. This often applied to entities but also to individuals.

Actual Damages

Actual damages fall under two main categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic Damages

These are damages for past and future medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages. Because they represent defined costs, they are calculable. Economic damages are expenses that arise as a direct result of the personal injury sustained through the other party’s negligence.

Non-Economic Damages

These types of damages are more complicated, as it is much more difficult to attach a specific number to them. Non-economic damages are subjective and can include things such as both physical and emotional pain and suffering that a person has experienced as a result of the personal injury, loss of companionship, or the emotional distress from the wrongful death of a family member.

What Should I Know About Finding a Personal Injury Attorney?

Personal Injury lawsuits can be complex as a result of the various factors and situations arising from them. There is no one solution or answer, as each case is analyzed individually based on the circumstances surrounding the accident. It can be an emotional time following an accident, and with Tennessee’s relatively short statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits, the best thing you can do is consult a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible to see if you are eligible to claim damages. The attorneys at Agee & Tinsley focus on personal injury lawsuits and can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

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