Accidents occur every day and, in many cases, are not preventable. Many accidents result in fairly minimal injuries.
However, some accidents lead to severe injuries that result in the need for medical care and rehabilitation. In extreme cases, accidents can result in death. So what options do you have if you or a loved one suffers a severe injury in an accident that someone else caused?
Tennessee allows injured victims to file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for their injuries. Before you can recover, you bear the burden of proving that the at-fault party was negligent and showing the harm you suffered as a result of their negligence.
If this happens to you, a Hopkinsville personal injury attorney can answer any questions you have about your personal injury claim.
How Must You Prove Negligence in a Personal Injury Case?
As stated above, the plaintiff (the person bringing the personal injury suit) bears the burden of proving that the at-fault party was either negligent, reckless, or intentionally committed a wrongful act that resulted in their injuries.
Elements of Negligence
Proving negligence requires four parts:
- First, you must prove that the at-fault party owed you a legal duty to act as a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances.
- Next, you must show that the defendant breached that duty.
- Third, you must prove that the defendant’s breach was the actual cause of the accident.
- Finally, you must prove that you suffered damages as a result of the accident caused by the at-fault party.
In the context of a motor vehicle accident, drivers owe a legal duty to every other driver on the road to act as a reasonable person would act under the same or similar circumstances.
Breach of the Duty of Care in Motor Vehicle Accidents
A driver breaches this duty when they fail to obey traffic signals or traffic laws. For example, a driver who is operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs has breached their duty of care and violated the law against drunk driving.
You must connect the defendant’s breach of their duty of care to the cause of your accident and your injuries. In other words, there must be a causal link between the defendant’s negligent behavior and the accident.
The opposing party will likely try to claim that you suffered injuries as a result of something else that happened or someone else’s actions. This might sound confusing, and that is okay. Our Hopkinsville personal injury lawyer at Batson Nolan PLC is here to help.
Finally, you need to show proof of the harm you suffered due to the accident. So even if Joe is negligent and causes a car accident involving Jane—if Jane is not hurt and her car is not damaged, there has been no injury or loss. Monetary compensation after an accident is supposed to reimburse you for damages you suffered at the hands of another.
The idea is that this compensation will make you financially whole. If you have not suffered any losses, you will not be eligible for compensation, and you cannot proceed with a personal injury lawsuit.
Common Accidents in Personal Injury Law
Any accident caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or wrongful act can give rise to a personal injury claim.
Some of the most common accidents that result in these claims include:
- Motor vehicle accidents;
- Truck accidents;
- Bicycle accidents;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Boating accidents;
- Dog bites;
- Nursing home abuse;
- Products liability; and
- Wrongful death.
Unfortunately, personal injury accidents occur more often than most people realize. In 2021 alone, approximately 192,914 car accidents occurred throughout Tennessee. While some of these accidents likely occurred as a result of outside factors like wildlife on the road or vehicle malfunctions, a portion occurred as a result of one party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentionally wrongful act.
Damages in Personal Injury Claims
Damages typically fall into two categories: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include things like medical costs, lost wages, property repair costs, and other direct monetary losses. These damages are often proven through receipts, invoices, or billing statements.
Noneconomic damages represent more abstract losses like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. Noneconomic damages are often more challenging to prove in personal injury cases due to their abstract nature. So your attorney will be quite valuable here, as they are accustomed to calculating the value of these less tangible losses.
And in rare cases, Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-39-104 authorizes punitive damages, which aim to punish the at-fault party for their misconduct and deter similar acts. You can only receive punitive damages if you provide clear and convincing evidence that the at-fault party acted maliciously, intentionally, fraudulently, or recklessly.
Our personal injury attorneys at Batson Nolan PLC have extensive experience calculating economic and noneconomic damages for clients. We will help you maximize your settlement offer or take your case to trial if a fair settlement is not reached.
Contact Our Hopkinsville Personal Injury Attorneys at Batson Nolan PLC Today
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongful act, you should consult with a Hopkinsville personal injury attorney right away. The at-fault party could face liability for the harm you suffered as a result of their actions.
One of our Hopkinsville personal injury lawyers at Batson Nolan PLC can help determine if you qualify for a personal injury claim and what damages you are owed.
Our personal injury lawyers at Batson Nolan PLC pride themselves on providing clients with the high-quality representation they would find at a big-name law firm. But we do it with the personalized, individual attention you would expect from a smaller practice.
Since 1860, our personal injury lawyers have represented victims throughout Tennessee and Kentucky. We know that every personal injury case is different, so we take the time to meet with you to fully discuss your legal situation.
We are confident that our knowledge and experience will help us serve your legal needs and obtain a favorable outcome. Contact us today to discuss your case.