Have you or a loved one been severely injured in a Knoxville, Tennessee, truck accident? If so, you probably have a lot of questions. This article will answer some frequently asked questions about Knoxville personal injury lawsuits.
The Knoxville Region
Situated next to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee’s third largest city, Knoxville, is a tourist destination and transportation hub. The city has a professional hockey team, the Knoxville Ice Bears, and is home to the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee.
The median household income in Knoxville in 2012 was estimated to be $32,191 dollars. The estimated median home value was $114,200 dollars, and median gross rent in 2012 was $739 dollars.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have a right to financial recovery for my injuries?
If you’ve been injured in a Knoxville truck accident, whether you have a right to financial compensation for your injuries depends on the facts of your case. Without consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney, it is impossible to determine what your injuries are worth. Your attorney will give his or her opinion of what the case is worth after your initial consultation. If your case proceeds to trial and you win the lawsuit, the value of your injuries will be determined and the defendant (the person that caused your injuries) will be forced to pay. Often, injuries in a truck accident are covered by the insurance company that covered the truck involved in the accident.
Frequently, truck accident cases settle before making it to trial. In that case, your compensation for your injuries will depend on the amount that is negotiated between your attorney and opposing counsel. You will always have a right to decide whether to accept a particular settlement.
When should my lawsuit be filed?
Under Tennessee law, your truck accident case must be filed in the proper court within one year of the accident. This is a very tight deadline, and people frequently sit on their hands and miss the opportunity to be compensated for their injuries.
This time limit, referred to as a “statute of limitations,” is found in the Tennessee Code at Section 28-3-104. There are only very limited exceptions to the one-year rule.
So, for example, if you were injured in an accident with a semi-truck on October 31 of last year, you must file a lawsuit to recover financially for your injuries by October 31 of this year. After that, the defendant (the person being sued for causing your injuries) will ask the court to dismiss your lawsuit for failing to sue within the statute of limitations. The court will likely dismiss your truck accident lawsuit, and you will not be allowed to refile.
Who can be held responsible for my injuries?
Again, it depends on the specifics of your case. A competent truck accident attorney can help you evaluate who is responsible for your injuries. But in general, depending on who is at fault, the truck driver, the trucking company, and possibly even the truck manufacturer may be held responsible for your injuries. Payment for your injuries typically will be made by an insurance company covering one of the responsible parties.
What if the truck accident was partially my fault? Can I still be compensated for my injuries?
You may still be entitled to compensation for your truck accident injuries if you were partially responsible for the accident. But under Tennessee law, if you were 50 percent at fault for the accident or more (out of 100 percent total fault), you will not be allowed to recover financially from the defendant. This rule is called “modified comparative fault.”
If you were between zero percent and 49.9 percent at fault in the accident, you may still recover damages from the defendant, but your award will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. If, for example, you were 20 percent at fault in an accident where your car was hit by a truck, causing you a total of $100,000 dollars in damages, you will recover only $80,000 dollars in the case. If, instead, you were 51 percent at fault in the accident, you would not receive $49,000 dollars in compensation. Instead, you would not receive anything in compensation because of Tennessee’s modified comparative fault rule.
Does “tort reform” affect my Knoxville truck accident case?
Over the past 10 years, we’ve heard a lot about “tort reform” in the news. Tort reform refers to efforts made in a number of states to limit the amount of money a person can recover in a personal injury lawsuit. Tennessee has passed tort reform that could affect recovery in your Knoxville truck accident case.
Tennessee law includes a “damage cap,” which can reduce your right to compensation for non-economic damages. “Economic damages” are damages intended to compensate you for money you have actually lost or will likely lose as a result of your truck accident injuries. For instance, if you will miss a year of work as a result of your accident, and that year of missed work is found in court to be worth $40,000 dollars to you, that $40,000 dollars in damages is an “economic damage.” Other damages are referred to as “non-economic damages.” For instance, in some truck accident cases, the plaintiff may be awarded pain and suffering damages, which are non-economic damages.
Tennessee law limits non-economic damages to $750,000 dollars except in particular circumstances. That limit is raised to $1,000,000 dollars if the injury includes paralysis from a spinal cord injury, a severe burn, death of a minor child’s parent, or amputation of a limb.
What should I do if I was injured in a truck accident?
Your first step should be to seek out an experienced Knoxville personal injury attorney for an evaluation of your case. These frequently asked questions cover only some of the basic rules applicable to a truck accident case. There are many other rules that may reduce or even eliminate your right to financial recovery for your injuries.