Auto Accident Lawyer Memphis, TN

Memphis Auto Accident Injury AttorneysIf you were injured in a car accident, it might be time to consult with an auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN trusts. Many injured victims attempt to deal with the insurance company themselves. However, that can result in a settlement that is far less than the victim is entitled to receive. In other words, it is best to deal with a professional who can ensure that one’s needs are met, to the fullest extent. For example;  a seasoned auto accident in Memphis, TN former clients recommend knowing that not having an attorney can even lead to having the insurance company denying your injury claim completely. Read about Common Causes of Vehicle Crashes.

At Patterson Bray, PLLC, we have helped many auto accident victims receive justice and collect the financial compensation that made them whole. With one of our dedicated Memphis auto accident lawyers by your side, you too will be much more likely to obtain the compensation that will make you whole.

What You Need to Know About Car Accidents

If you have never been in a car accident before, you may not be sure what you should do after the fact. Can you go on your way if you don’t feel injured? Should you call the police? Are you allowed to talk with the other driver? These are some of the questions that should be taken into consideration, since auto accidents are not black and white. Moreover, some other questions that people tend to ask when it comes to accidents are as follows. Who is responsible for the accident at hand? How much compensation will I be getting, based on my injury and the damage of my car? How important is mental damage important to take into consideration, when it comes to being in an auto accident?  The Memphis auto accident attorneys at Patterson Bray know that car accidents can be scary, no matter how many times you have been a victim in an accident, but if you remember a few steps after you have been in a car accident you can get the information you need when speaking with one of our attorneys. When you file a claim for a car accident, typically the at-fault driver’s insurance will be the one to pay for your injuries and any property damage. However, this can vary from state to state and even depend on how much you were involved in the accident. This is why it is important to contact a lawyer, so that the incident, injuries, and more, can be assessed. 

Steps to Take After an Auto Accident

An experienced auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN residents call understands that many victims may be in shock and traumatized after an auto accident. Thus, there is a strong understanding that when it comes to auto accidents, there are not only physical damage aspects that should be taken into consideration, but long lasting mental trauma from accidents, is also accounted for as well.  Furthermore, based on the severity of the physical and mental damage that was caused by an auto accident, this is where the amount of compensation can and will be determined, by a lawyer. However, in order to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries, it is important to stay calm and follow these steps:

  • Get a copy of the police report. Police should be called to a car accident scene to take a report, especially if any individuals suffered serious injuries. When a person fails to contact the police at the scene of an accident, it takes away credibility, and people will be asked why they did not call the police sooner. Moreover, a police report includes important information about the car accident, including where it happened and who was involved. Remember to ask for a copy of this report before you leave the scene.
  • Take photos. If you are physically capable, try to take a few photos of the accident scene with your cell phone camera. Clear photos of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, and any skid marks on the road may help your auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN prove your case in court.
  • Talk to witnesses. If there were any witnesses who saw the car accident, it may be a wise idea to obtain their names and contact information. Your auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN respects may ask these witnesses to testify on your behalf in court.
  • Seek medical attention. Even if your injuries seem minor, it may be in your best interest to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Sometimes injuries can be visibility external, when it comes to the severity. At the same time though, sometimes when people get injured in an accident, injuries are not outright visible, due to shock, or the fact that injuries may be internal.  Moreover, some injuries such as whiplash,are those that gradually have devastating effects over time. Whiplash is an injury to the neck that happens during a car crash.  This type of injury is not always felt at first.  However, over time, a lack of assessing one’s injury via x-rays, examinations, and more after a car crash, can lead to neck injury in the muscles, discs, and nerves.  This is why it is important to seek medical attention after a car crash, as soon as possible.     
  • Now; an auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN offers knows that it is not uncommon for symptoms of accident injuries to be delayed. In fact, they may not show up for days, sometimes even weeks, after the accident. A doctor can examine your injuries and determine what kind of treatment they require. If you neglect to have your injuries examined by a medical professional, the insurance company may assume you are not really hurt and consequently refuse to cover your medical bills. Alternatively, if there is evidence of your injury, the insurance company could try to say the injuries occurred after the accident. To prove that they may point to the fact that you delayed getting a medical examination.
  • Hire a lawyer. A skilled auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN relies on may help you win compensation by gathering evidence and building a strong argument against the liable party. Schedule a meeting with a Patterson Bray lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.

Common Injuries From Car Accidents in Tennessee

It’s important to visit a doctor following any type of car crash. Don’t let anyone convince you to avoid going to the hospital, not even well-meaning family members. Getting medical care matters because not all injuries are easy to see. Also, having medical records of any injuries can help your auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN, build a strong case.

Traumatic Brain injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a common and serious effect of car accidents. These dangerous injuries happen when your head impacts against another object at high speed, such as the steering wheel or rear windshield. Every year, up to 90,000 people experience long-term disability from TBIs.

Back Injuries

Back injuries can cause intense pain that lasts for years or decades. These are some of the most common injuries in a car accident. At Patterson Bray, we often advise our clients to keep an eye out for back problems in the days or weeks after a crash because these injuries can take a few weeks to show up.

Neck Injuries

Whiplash and other neck injuries can occur in a car accident even if you’re wearing your seatbelt. These injuries affect the ligaments, tendons and muscles of the neck, causing long-term pain and suffering. Don’t underestimate seemingly “minor” car accidents; whiplash can occur even at speeds of just 15 mph. Contact an auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN, after any kind of car accident.

Facial Injuries and Scars

If your face impacts the steering wheel or other surfaces in an accident — sometimes even the airbag — it can suffer significant injuries. Disfiguring facial injuries also happen when pieces of glass cut you.

Getting the medical care you need isn’t just about healing wounds, it’s about taking care of your emotional trauma afterward as well. At Patterson Bray, we care about helping you get the full compensation you need to recover in every sense: physically, mentally and emotionally.

Internal Bleeding and Injuries to Organs

It’s wise to go to the hospital even if you don’t feel pain right away. Someone can seem fine yet have damage to internal organs. These internal injuries are life-threatening.

Hand Injuries

Injuries to the hands are common in car accidents. What makes these injuries especially concerning is that they can affect your ability to work in the future. That’s why any personal injury lawsuit you file needs to keep in mind your future financial needs as well as current treatment. An auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN can help you consider your case carefully.

Assessing Liability in Tennessee Car Accidents

An auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN chooses for representation following a car accident will likely focus on determining which driver or entity is liable for causing the accident. Liability determines which party’s insurer will be responsible for paying the damages.

Tennessee has a modified comparative fault-based system. This means that liability for any damages caused by the at-fault driver is the responsibility of that driver and the damages will be paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Damages are the total of personal injury-related costs and property damage costs resulting from the accident.

In Tennessee, when both drivers are at fault, the injured person who is deemed more than 50% responsible for the accident may not be entitled to compensation. The driver who is less than 50% at fault is entitled, but with a catch. In other “fault” states, liability is all-or-nothing; in Tennessee’s comparative fault system, the award is reduced for the driver who is less than 50% at fault by the percentage at which they are at fault. As an example, if one driver is 85% percent at fault, and another driver has been determined to be 15% at fault, the driver who is more at fault will be responsible for 85% of damages. No damages would be awarded to the driver who is 85% at fault.

What You Need to Know About Car Accidents Infographic

auto accident infographic

Memphis Car Accident Statistics

According to NHTSA, almost 43,000 people die in car accidents each year in the United States. In Tennessee, 1330 people were killed in 2022 (the latest year of statistics available at publication), which was a slight increase from 2021, when 1327 people died in crashes. Overall, nationwide, the number of fatalities continues to increase each year.

How Is Fault Determined

The fault is determined by whether you live in a “fault” or “no-fault” state. When you live in a fault state, the burden is on you and your attorney to prove that the at-fault driver was the one who directly caused your injuries or property damage by causing the accident. In many situations, fault may be very obvious and your claim might have no problem being accepted. However, many other circumstances may cause your claim to be rejected or may cause the insurance company to offer you a very low settlement. When you are attempting to prove who is liable for the car accident, there are a few elements you will need in your claim. 

  • The Driver Owed You a Legal Duty: All drivers on the road owe each other a legal duty to operate their vehicles with a certain standard of care. This is true whether you are in a car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, or a pedestrian. 
  • The Driver Breached That Duty: If the driver displayed that care to you on the road, then there would be no case. However, if the driver breached that duty of care and did not drive in a way that another person would have driven under the same circumstances, then they are supposedly at fault. If they are shown as breaching that duty, then you may be able to prove negligence. 
  • The Breach Left You With Injuries: If the other drivers’ breach in the duty of care led directly to your injuries in the car accident, then you and your attorney may be able to successfully prove that you need to be compensated for those injuries. 

No-Fault State

If, on the other hand, you live in a no-fault state, it means that you will need to go to your insurance before you can go to the other driver’s insurance. There are certain circumstances where you may file a lawsuit against the other driver, but your injuries would need to be severe or the amount of damage would need to be above a certain monetary threshold. 

It’s important to understand that in normal accident claims, insurance companies have the final say in determining who is at fault. Insurance adjusters do not have to make the same determination as what is reflected in the police report. A good rule of thumb, however, is that when one driver is determined to have violated a traffic law and received a ticket for it, they are almost always held entirely responsible for the car accident. Every situation is unique, however, so it’s important to contact an auto accident lawyer that Memphis, TN residents turn to if you have concerns about your case.

Some accidents provide clear evidence regarding who was responsible, as an auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN drivers trust may attest. Rear-end collisions and collisions during left hand turns are two examples. In a rear end collision, the following vehicle is almost always at fault unless they can prove that the leading driver slammed on their brakes unjustifiably. Accidents with drivers making left-hand turns are often caused by the turning driver.

In the absence of a clear-cut case, an auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN residents trust may attempt to prove that the other party was negligent in some way, and that negligence caused the accident. Negligence refers to when a driver fails to comply with certain duties required of them, and that breach of duty causes an accident. While reckless driving would be an obvious example of negligence, there are more subtle examples, such as driving with a broken headlight at night or driving with a broken turn signal. This is when an experienced Memphis auto accident lawyer may collect and present evidence to make your case. Some examples of admissible evidence are photos, statements from witnesses, video footage, car damage, skid marks, and police reports. If you were able to collect evidence at the scene, this evidence may be useful in your claim. If not, your auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN may collect evidence on your behalf.

How to Document Evidence After a Car Accident

Getting into an auto accident is definitely jarring and usually quite frightening. It can be hard to think clearly after a collision, especially if anyone in your vehicle or another vehicle has been severely injured. When all the dust settles you may find you are in need of an auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN. It’s important that you know in advance the best way to document evidence after a car crash so that you can act quickly for any potential cases.

Take Detailed Photos

Once everyone is safe and any injuries have been tended to, it is best to take as many photos as possible of the aftermath of the accident. Err on the side of too many photos if you can, as extras can always be deleted, but you will then have plenty to share with Patterson Bray. Take photos of your vehicle and any other vehicles involved. Pay attention to any skid marks and obtain photos of those. Also, make sure to include pictures of the surroundings or intersection where the incident occurred.

In the 24 hours after the accident, you may find that your injuries become more visible on your body. While it isn’t fun, it is a good idea to take photos of all your cuts, scrapes, bruises, or any other injuries you or those in your car sustained in the crash. Evidence of injuries can also be very important to your auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN.

Create a Verbal Statement

Another really important way to make sure you are getting all critical evidence of your accident is to create your own verbal statement. It is wise to either call yourself and leave a voicemail or create a voice recording on your smartphone. As soon as you are calmed down, describe in detail what you remember happening at the time. This is your best chance to get your most accurate account of the accident for Patterson Bray.

Find Witnesses

If possible, obtain the names and contact information of a few witnesses of the collision. An auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN will be best prepared for your case if you have several eyewitness accounts that could make statements on your behalf. It is smart to ask them for their name, email, phone number, and mailing address so that you have multiple ways to contact them afterward.

Taking the time to understand how best to collect evidence after a car crash can save you time and money in the long run. 

How Much Is an Auto Accident Case Worth

A seasoned auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN knows that every auto accident case is different. Some claims are worth more than others. The value of your auto accident case may depend on a number of factors, such as how much your medical bills cost, any future medical care you may require, lost wages, and your overall pain and suffering. For example, if you suffered a severe head injury that requires future medical treatments, you may be entitled to a significantly higher compensation amount.

Your auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN clients rely on can explain to you in detail what damages you may be entitled to receive from the at-fault party. In general, car accident victims can sue for economic damages and noneconomic damages.

Economic damages are those that have a hard dollar amount attached to them. For example, any costs associated with medical treatment are damages that you can pursue. This includes bills for:

  • Medical costs: Ambulance transport, emergency room treatment, hospitalization, surgeries, doctors’ visits, medical equipment, prescription, and over-the-counter medications, physical therapy
  • Transportation costs to and from medical appointments
  • Emotional or psychological suffering
  • If the accident left you with a permanent disability that requires special accommodations for your home such as wheelchair access, these costs may also be included in your lawsuit or damage claim.
  • Loss of income, both in the past and any future income you cannot earn because of your injury. Loss of income can also be applied to benefits you may have lost, as well as those you may have had to use during your recuperation, such as sick or vacation time. If you are unable to go back to the type of work you had before the accident, you may be able to obtain financial damages for that loss of income, too.

Noneconomic damages are those types of damages that do not have an actual dollar amount. However, you are entitled to receive financial compensation as a way to “make you whole” again. You may be able to obtain noneconomic damages for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish or distress
  • Loss of life enjoyment
  • Loss of companionship or consortium

What happens if I was in an accident while driving a company car

When you’ve been injured in a car accident while driving a company car, determining who is liable for all damages can be slightly complicated. Depending on the circumstances, your employer may be liable and in other cases you or the other party may be to blame. In a situation like this it is advisable to retain an auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN.

Understanding Vicarious Liability

Vicarious liability, also known as respondeat superior, is a legal term that means to hold a party responsible for the actions of another person. When a company car is involved in an accident, vicarious liability would refer to holding the employer responsible for the actions of the employee who was driving the car. The reason an employer can be held responsible is because the employee is their agent – as long as they are on company time.

Fault Considerations

If your employer has paid for your company car, in order for the other party to recover from your employer, you, as the driver of the company car, must be at fault. If you are not at fault, then the other party will generally not be able to pursue your employer for damages.

When Vicarious Liability May Apply

Vicarious liability only applies in certain situations. An auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN might first determine whether or not the employee was acting within the scope of their job at the time of the collision.

For instance, let’s say that an electrician service dispatches an electrician for a standard house call. On the way to the house, the electrician becomes distracted and collides with another driver. In this case, the other driver will likely be able to file a claim against the employer under vicarious liability.

Vicarious liability typically applies when at least one of the following holds true:

  • The employee was running errands for the employer
  • The employee was traveling to or from an appointment
  • The employee was going to a training meeting
  • The employee was directed to drive to a location at the request of the employer

Vicarious liability may not apply when:

  • When the employee is driving to or from work
  • When the employee was stopping for a break while driving to an appointment
  • When the employee was going elsewhere from where the employer requested
  • When the employee was under the influence
  • When the employee was not working or on the clock

Who Will Make the Final Decision

Whether or not vicarious liability applies will largely depend on the facts of the case. Sometimes it will take a trial by jury to decide whether it will apply. In other situations, the employer or other party will agree on the facts and come to a settlement through negotiations. As a general rule of thumb, you should have a good auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN trusts on your side if you were driving a company car or you were injured by another driver of a company car.

Things You Shouldn’t Say to an Insurance Company After an Auto Accident

If you were in an auto accident caused by another driver, that driver’s insurance company may try to contact you soon. However, before you pick up the phone, it is important to understand that what you say could impact your case. Here are several things you should never say to an insurance company after an auto accident.

  • It was partially my fault: When speaking with the insurance company, you should never admit any kind of fault. Even if you believe that you were driving a bit over the speed limit or distracted by your phone, you should not tell any of that to the insurance company. They can use it against you later on.
  • I think: During your conversation with the insurance company, they might ask you questions that you might not know the answer to. If this happens, don’t try to guess and say, “I think.” Unless you’re absolutely sure about the answer, you shouldn’t say anything.
  • I agree to a recorded statement: One of the biggest mistakes an auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN sees car accidents make is giving recorded statements to insurance companies. It’s important to understand that providing a recorded statement will not benefit you in any way. It can, in fact, hurt your case. Insurance companies use recorded statements to find inconsistencies. 
  • I don’t feel too badly hurt: It is not uncommon for some car accident victims to feel fine after an accident. Adrenaline can sometimes mask injuries. However, you should never tell the insurance company that you feel fine. It is critical to get examined by a doctor first.
  • I accept the settlement: Insurance companies often offer car accident victims settlements soon after the accident. It may be tempting to accept the initial offer because your medical bills are piling up, but you should avoid doing so. The settlement offer likely will not be enough to cover all of your expenses. Wait for a lawyer to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. 
  • I don’t have a lawyer: If you have not retained a lawyer yet, avoid telling that to the insurance company. If the insurer knows that you do not have legal counsel, they might try to take advantage of you. Hire an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. 

Tricks the Insurance Companies Might Use

When someone is injured in an accident caused by the negligence or reckless actions of another party there is a great chance they will have to pursue compensation through the other party’s insurance. They began by filing a claim with the insurer which initiates the entire process.

You need to understand that the insurance adjuster’s interests are not going to be aligned with yours. You want and you deserve to be fully compensated for your injuries, and the insurance adjuster the employer wants to mitigate their losses by minimizing the amount paid out for the claim. Even if you are dealing with your own insurance company adjuster, you still need to be aware of these tracks that the insurance company might use.

Right after an injury the injured party is shaken up and trying to get organized and they may not know the extent of their injuries and they may not have gotten in touch with the lawyer yet. This is one of many reasons that insurance adjusters often call claimants immediately. They are going to be very friendly on this call and ask you how you are doing, wish you well and provide general reassurances that you will be taken care of. The main purpose of this call is to earn your trust. The secondary purpose is to contact you in a time when you might let your guard down and admit to some fault for the incident, so no matter how friendly adjusters are you must remember that they work for the insurance company and their loyalties do not lie with you.

Shortly after a claim is filed you might be asked to provide a recorded or written statement about what happened by the insurance adjuster. This may seem like a reasonable request and the adjuster may imply that this is necessary to get your claim process. It is not a good idea to provide these types of statements because if you do not know how badly you were injured, how much medical treatment you require and other important details, your phrasing can be twisted when you go to court. You should remember that insurance adjusters’ loyalty is with their insurance firm and they want to lower the settlement that you may receive. You should simply be polite and though the adjuster knows that you are not comfortable providing a statement at this time.

After an injury medical bills are going to pile up in time this from work tends to put financial strain on the entire household. This puts injury victims in a very vulnerable position in which they are often motivated to be paid very quickly. Insurance adjusters know this and they are going to seek to capitalize on this by making a lowball settlement offer shortly after the claim is filed. In exchange we are going to ask you to sign a release or provide a verbal release of the claim and it is generally not a good idea to accept the first offer after the insurance company gives you because it is going to be far less than your claim is actually worth.

Memphis Auto Accident FAQs

How Do I Know if I Have Grounds Upon Which to File a Legal Claim?

In the immediate aftermath of a car wreck, it isn’t always easy to determine the “how” and “why” of the situation. Generally speaking, those involved in the crash may have some sense as to why an accident occurred but rarely does anyone possess all of the facts immediately. It is partially for this reason why it is so important to connect with an auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN motorists trust if you’ve been injured in an accident. You can’t necessarily know whether you have cause for legal action until a reputable attorney thoroughly and objectively evaluates your circumstances.

Most of the time, accident victims have strong grounds upon which to file a legal claim if another’s negligent, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions or inactions served as a direct cause of the injuries that the victim in question has suffered. However, this is a very broad standard that is applied in infinitely varied ways, as no two crashes ever unfold in exactly the same ways. As a result, it is vital that you have an experienced Memphis, TN auto accident lawyer evaluate your case before making any assumptions about the strength or weakness of your legal situation. You may be entitled to a great deal of compensation even if you have been led to believe that the collision that caused you harm was your fault.

Do I Need an Attorney to Navigate This Situation or Can I Manage on My Own?

If you have not suffered physical injury (or lost a loved one who died as a result of fatal injuries), you are not in a position to file a personal injury suit. Why? Crashes that result in property damage only are handled by insurance companies, not by the courts. With that said, it may be worth your time and effort to speak with an attorney about a non-injurious crash if your property damage was significant. Insurance companies like to devalue and reject claims when they believe that they can save money. Working with an attorney can help you to obtain any properly valued compensation that you may be owed.

If you have been injured in a recent crash, chances are that your medical bills are mounting and that you may be missing work in order to heal from your injuries. Suffering in the wake of a car crash can be costly and that burden may not need to be yours to bear. It is a good idea to schedule a risk-free consultation with an experienced Memphis, TN auto accident lawyer to explore your rights and options under the law. As noted above, it isn’t always easy to discern whether an accident victim has strong grounds upon which to file legal action until their case has been thoroughly and objectively assessed. Once the dedicated Tennessee legal team at Patterson Bray PLLC has evaluated your case in a risk-free consultation setting, you’ll be empowered to determine—in a truly informed way—whether you can manage your legal situation on your own or whether you could benefit from retaining legal representation at this time.

What cases does an auto accident lawyer handle? 

An auto accident lawyer has the skills, knowledge and experience to give you legal guidance on various cases. If you were a driver, passenger or pedestrian, you can go to a trusted and experienced accident lawyer for assistance with your claim. They will analyze your case and find out if you are eligible for damages. 

Do I need to talk to a lawyer right away?

It is recommended that you do not wait too long to go to an auto accident lawyer for help. You should have a consultation with a lawyer as early as you can well before the statute of limitations is up. Preparing your case can take weeks, depending on its complexity. The sooner that you talk to a lawyer about your case, the better. They need to gather the evidence and facts of your case by analyzing documents, speaking to witnesses, interviewing experts, and other tasks. 

How long do I have to file a claim? 

The statute of limitations varies from state to state, but generally victims have two to three years to file an auto accident claim. This might seem like a long window of time, but gathering evidence can take weeks. Getting witnesses to come forward and provide information about your case can also take time, such as with a hit and run accident. 

When can I expect results?

A case can take months to complete, but it may be even longer if you need to go to trial. The length of an auto accident case depends on a number of factors, such as the parties involved and whether the insurance company is willing to cooperate. You cannot always count on the insurance company to initially give you the best offer. If the insurance company is resistant to providing a more fair settlement offer, then your lawyer may decide that going to trial is necessary. 

Patterson Bray PLLC – Memphis Auto Accident Lawyer

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103 Memphis, TN 38018

Contact a Memphis Auto Accident Lawyer Today

An auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN depends on can meet with you and determine the approximate amount of compensation to which you are entitled. At Patterson Bray, the approach we take in handling car accident injury cases is what sets our firm apart from the average auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN. Other lawyers take on hundreds of cases and are often only interested in coming to a quick settlement of the case and avoiding litigation. Each auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN turns to at Patterson Bray is committed to getting our clients the maximum amount of compensation that is possible.

Our firm’s legal team is available to discuss your case during a free initial consultation. If you are searching for a trusted auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN has to offer, contact Patterson Bray at 901-372-5003.