What Types Of Damages Can I recover In My Car Accident Claim?

If somebody else’s negligence caused your accident and injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. In order to get that compensation, you will probably have to negotiate with an insurance company. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to minimize what they pay out to injury victims. They may even try to claim that the accident was your fault or that your injuries aren’t as bad as you say they are.

Experienced Memphis Car Accident Attorneys from Patterson Bray PLLC can guide you through this process and fight for the full amount of compensation you deserve.

What types of damages can I recover in my car accident claim?

When you are injured in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses (past and future)
  • Lost wages (past and future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage (car repairs)
  • Emotional distress
  • Punitive damages (in cases involving drunk driving)

When should I hire a lawyer?

If you have been injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, or recklessness, or if you have lost a family member in an accident, you should consult with Memphis car accident attorneys as soon as possible. Early involvement of an attorney is especially important if your case involves insurance coverage issues. If an insurance company is involved, it will send out an adjuster to obtain statements from the parties involved and witnesses. It is crucial that these statements be recorded before the witness’ memory fades.

Memphis car accident attorneys from Patterson Bray PLLC can help you determine if any insurance policies may apply to your damages and injuries. He or she can also communicate with the insurance company on your behalf so that they do not take advantage of you while you are still recovering. Your attorney will work hard to make sure that your rights are protected while helping you pursue the maximum amount of compensation for which you may be eligible.

What happens in my first meeting with an attorney?

When you meet with Memphis car accident attorneys for the first time, he or she will ask questions about your case. It is important that you bring all relevant documents (birth certificates, police reports, medical records, etc.) with you so the attorney has everything he or she needs to assess your situation fully.

If the Memphis car accident attorney feels that he or she can assist you, he or she will explain what needs to be done and answer any questions that you may have. The lawyer might also be able to provide some immediate legal advice based on his or her initial assessment of your case. Call Patterson Bray PLLC today to schedule your consultation!

 

What If My Accident Was Partially My Fault?

It remains important to explore your legal rights and options—even if you may have been partially to blame for what happened to you—because Tennessee broadly protects the rights of car accident injury victims. Unlike some other states, that bar victims from seeking compensation if they were partially at fault for a crash, Tennessee recognizes a comparative negligence standard in personal injury cases. This means that as long as the fault attributed to you is not 50 percent or greater (when compared to the percentage of fault attributed to others), you remain entitled to seek compensation from others involved in the crash. If another’s reckless, intentionally harmful, or negligent actions or inactions may have directly contributed to the cause(s) of your harm, exploring your legal options is an effort worth your time.

Legal Assistance Is Available

If you have not yet explored your legal options with the assistance of a reputable attorney, please connect with the experienced Tennessee team at Patterson Bray PLLC today. Although it isn’t always easy to know whether an accident victim has strong grounds upon which to file an insurance claim or personal injury case at first glance, our dedicated lawyers have extensive experience handling complex car accident cases. No matter what the circumstances were that led to your collision, we can provide you with objective guidance and support so that you can make informed decisions about whether to pursue legal action at this time. We look forward to speaking with you.

If you have recently been injured in an accident, you may—very understandably—be wondering if you should be connecting with a lawyer. Sometimes, when accidents only result in minor property damage and no one is hurt as a result of the chaos, accident victims can successfully navigate the insurance claims process without legal assistance. However, individuals who have suffered injury as a result of auto accidents should take time to explore their legal rights and options.

Even if the accident in question was partially their fault, they may be entitled to significant compensation via the personal injury claims process. Additionally, navigating a complex insurance process without legal guidance is generally not advisable as reputable personal injury attorneys—including those who practice at Patterson Bray PLLC—are often able to secure victims settlement awards that are more fairly valued than those they could secure without help.

Memphis Car Accident Attorneys

If your car accident occurred while you were traveling for work-related reasons, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. No matter why you were traveling, you may be entitled to insurance settlements from one or more providers. Additionally, if another’s negligence, recklessness, or intentionally harmful actions or inactions directly contributed to the cause(s) of your injuries, you may be in a strong position to pursue significant personal injury damages. The experienced Memphis car accident attorneys at our firm can provide you with clarity about your rights and options once we understand the details surrounding your collision.

Who Pays For Damages In A Car Accident?

If you have been injured in a car accident in Tennessee, it is critical to determine the clear fault of the accident in order to collect the financial damages you may be entitled to. One of the Memphis car accident attorneys from our firm can assist you in pursuing those damages, either through a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or through a personal injury lawsuit.

There are many firms that have been helping victims obtain the damages they deserve and will work diligently to get you the best results based on the circumstances of your case.

Who pays for damages in a car accident?

The majority of car accidents have factors that the insurance company may try to use against the victim in order to reduce the financial compensation of the claim or reject it entirely. Before settlement negotiations can really begin between your attorney and the insurance company, fault for the accident must be established.

How is fault determined?

Car accident attorneys in Memphis examine different aspects of the crash to prove that fault. One way is to see if any traffic laws were broken by the other party. If there is a police report on the accident that describes that violation, as well as any citation the at-fault driver received, that is very strong evidence of fault that will likely not be able to be disputed by the driver’s insurance company.

If for some reason no police report was written up, then it will be up to the attorney and insurance adjuster to make that determination. In some cases, there may even be an accident reconstruction to help bolster the victim’s case.

What if both drivers were somewhat at fault?

There may be accidents where both parties were guilty of some type of traffic violation, however, only one of the party’s actions actually caused the crash. For example, if the victim’s brake lights were not working, but the accident was a T-bone crash because the other driver ran a stop sign, then the brake light malfunction would not be an issue in the car accident claim. 

However, if the brake lights were not working and the accident was a rear-end collision, an accident reconstruction could show mitigating circumstances. For example, if the other driver had been speeding when he or she rear-ended the victim’s car, then both parties may be at fault. In these types of cases, comparative negligence may apply.

What is comparative negligence?

Comparative negligence is a principle that many states use that says when there is an accident, the fault of each party is based on how much each party’s actions contributed to the accident. Whatever percentage of fault is assigned to the victim is the percentage that will be deducted from the final amount of settlement or award. For instance, a car accident victim is found to be 30 percent at fault for the crash. A jury awards them $100,000 for their injuries, but 30 percent – or $30,000 – would be deducted from that amount.

If you have been injured in a car accident, call Patterson Bray PLLC to speak with one of our Memphis car accident attorneys and find out what legal recourse you may have.

 

Am I required To Call The Police After A Car Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident that has resulted in death, injury, or significant property damage, you are required by law to report the accident to the local authorities. Failing to report such accidents to the police is illegal. Whether there was an injury or not however, you should report car accidents anyway so that the police can file an official report.  

What should I not do after an accident?

After an accident, you should be cautious about the actions that you take. Saying or doing the wrong thing can weaken your case, forcing you to lose compensation that you otherwise could have been awarded. Common mistakes made by car accident victims include admitting blame, sharing sensitive or private details about their case with others, and accepting the first initial settlement offer.

What damages are often awarded to car accident victims?

A car accident victim can receive many types of economic and non-economic damages. Missed wages, medical expenses, reduced income capacity, emotional anguish, pain and suffering and loss of consortium are just several damages often given to accident victims. It is key that you calculate your damages early on, and consider future damages as well. If you need assistance with determining what your damages are, rely on a lawyer to compute them for you. 

Can I get compensation if I have partial fault? 

If you believe you are partially at fault in an accident, there is still a chance that you can get compensation. However, it depends on the state where the accident occurred. Some states don’t award compensation to those who are even minimally at fault. These laws can be complex, so if you need a more detailed explanation of how they apply to your case, speak to a trusted car accident lawyer. 

How is fault determined?

Fault in a car accident is determined by examining a number of factors. Investigators will review evidence such as video footage, witness testimony and physical evidence left at the accident site. State laws such as comparative negligence laws will also affect the degree of fault distributed to each party. 

Car accidents can be life-changing. You should not delay seeking legal assistance if you are thinking about filing a claim against the person or party responsible for causing you harm. A trusted car accident lawyer like one from Patterson Bray PLLC can provide you the help that you need now. 

As Memphis car accident attorneys like those at Patterson Bray PLLC know, the claims process involves many steps, and the more complex your case is, the longer it may take to complete. Having a qualified lawyer lend their support as you navigate your case can allow you to focus on recovery. They will take care of the primary tasks of your case so that you won’t have to deal with the pressure and stress involved with a car accident. During your consultation with a lawyer, you may have questions such as the ones below. 

What Is The Difference Between Divorce And Legal Separation?

When a marriage is coming to an end it is often in your best interest to contact a divorce lawyer in Memphis, TN to help you understand everything you are going to need through this process. There are many steps to ending a marriage and in Tennesse, there are three different ways that it can go. You have the traditional divorce, then legal separation, and then annulment. No matter the method that is right for you, having a lawyer can make the process smoother and help you get from point A to point B quicker and with as few hiccups as possible. 

If you want to know more about the three options keep reading. 

What is the Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation? 

Before you can even go through the process you have to know which separation method is the best for you ad your spouse. Each method has its own special requirements and rules, which means knowing the difference can save you time. 

Legal Separation 

This is typically not a method that is chosen but it is a valid option. When a marriage is no longer working legal separation means that the couple is able to reach an agreement on the division of assets, child custody and support, alimony, and other important issues, without filing for a divorce. 

This is considered a limited divorce. This type of separation allows the couple to have what many considered a much-needed time out from each other. It can allow people to resolve their issues while bringing in the added perspective about what the couple will lose in marriage. This can allow for people to keep their health insurance if is shared, continuing to file as a married couple on tax returns, but allowing each person to have their own financial decisions. 

If a person is not a U.S citizen and they get divorced they run the risk of deportation. However, with legal separation, they can stay in the country even if they don’t live with their spouse. 

Divorce 

Divorce on the other hand is permanent and straightforward. If all the requirements are met the couple will divide assets, resolve child custody and support issues, and any other concerns. The main difference between this and a legal separation is the courts must agree to issue a final decree that permanently and legally separates the couple. 

Because Tennesse is both a no-fault and fault-based state when it comes to divorce there are things that must happen to make sure everything falls into place. In an uncontested divorce, it means that all that has to happen is one party cites irreconcilable differences. In a contested divorce there has to be proof of grounds for the divorce to happen. There are several reasons for a contested divorce and it is where a lawyer comes in handy. 

Filing for divorce is the last thing anyone wants to do when it comes to marriage. However, if you have found yourself in this position talk to a divorce lawyer in Memphis, TN today to learn what the team here at Patterson Bray can do for you. 

Tips For Hiring A Divorce Lawyer

A divorce can be a very stressful time for everyone involved. It can be an emotionally draining and difficult process. The things that you say and do during the divorce process may have an effect on your future relationships with your children and ex-spouse. There are some things to keep in mind when going through a divorce. It is important, to be honest, but do not gossip or badmouth your spouse. Be as clear and concise as possible when communicating about finances or custody arrangements.

One of the best ways to reduce stress is by hiring a divorce lawyer Memphis, TN who specializes in family law such as a divorce lawyer in Memphis, TN. Hiring an experienced family divorce lawyer in Memphis, TN from Patterson Bray PLLC will help you understand how the law works and what you need to do in order to reach a successful settlement.

The following are some tips for hiring a divorce lawyer:

Be Prepared For The Proceedings

Know your rights. Take some time to learn about the laws in your state so you know what to expect throughout the process. This can help you feel more in control of your situation.

If you’re worried about what will happen in court, then research the laws in your state. It’s important to be aware of how states vary on things like alimony — some states don’t allow it at all, while others follow formulas based on the length of the marriage and income disparity between spouses. Knowing how these things work in advance can go a long way toward keeping you calm during this stressful time.

Do your research about the divorce process and know what you’re getting into before you file for one. It is also highly recommended that you consult with a divorce lawyer in Memphis, TN from Patterson Bray PLLC as soon as possible so you can be guided on how to prepare yourself and your family.

Be Realistic With Expectations

When going through a divorce, it is important to have reasonable expectations about what can happen after it is over. If you have children, talk to them about what’s going on and try to keep them safe and happy by avoiding nasty arguments between you and your spouse in front of them or by speaking ill about each other in front of them.

Make sure that you are not making a hasty decision. When you feel really upset, you may want to get rid of your spouse as soon as possible and that is a bad idea. You may regret it later. So before taking a decision, wait for a while so that you can think clearly about what is best for you.

Hire A Divorce Lawyer

You want someone on your side who knows the law and all of its complexities. A good divorce lawyer in Memphis, TN from Patterson Bray PLLC will know when it’s beneficial for you to concede and when he or she should fight for specific terms. He or she will also be able to talk intelligently about what’s in your best interest from a legal standpoint and explain that to you in a way that makes sense. You don’t have time for mistakes in court documents, statements, or other matters because they could affect your life for years to come.

Preparing To Divide Your Marital Assets

If you are ready to embrace the challenge of attending to your divorce situation proactively, one of the first things you’ll want to do is to make a list of all of your marital assets. Marital assets—including physical property, financial accounts, and intellectual property—generally consist of all assets acquired during the length of a couple’s marriage.

Once you’ve created this list, spend some time thoughtfully considering which—if any—of your assets you’d be inclined to fight for, which you’d desire but are not worth fighting for, and which you’d be willing to part with. Keep in mind that an equitable divorce settlement will likely result in something close to a 50/50 split of your total asset value. For example, if you opt to keep the house, your spouse may opt to keep the value of your retirement assets that mirrors the value of your home. Making this list thoughtfully now will help our team to assess your needs, wants, and priorities concerning asset division. This exercise will help us to advise you and to build a strong divorce strategy that advances your interests.

Legal Assistance Is Available

If you have not yet scheduled a risk-free consultation with our dedicated team, please do so now. Being proactive when it comes to the divorce process can be difficult. However, it is an approach worthy of your time, effort, and emotional energy. Connect with the experienced Tennessee legal team at Patterson Bray PLLC to learn more about our approach to representation; we look forward to speaking with you

If you and your spouse are either divorcing or thinking about divorcing, it is important to be as proactive as possible when preparing for the legal and financial aspects of this process. Even if you ultimately decide against moving forward with the divorce process, you will have made informed decisions at every turn. When it comes to divorce, knowledge is indeed power and making uninformed decisions tends to lead to regret.

One of the best ways to begin preparing for the divorce process is to attend a risk-free consultation with a reputable Memphis, TN divorce lawyer at Patterson Bray PLLC. Doing so will neither obligate you to move forward with the divorce process nor to work with our team moving forward. A consultation setting is offered simply so that potential clients can ask questions and voice concerns. Once you are empowered with the information you need to make informed decisions, whatever you choose to do with that information is up to you.

Divorce Lawyer – Memphis, TN

Our job as attorneys is neither to pressure our clients into taking any particular course of action nor is it to “sell” our services. Our job is to efficiently and effectively represent the interests of those who desire legal assistance. Navigating the divorce process is never an emotionally straightforward task. We consider it our privilege to provide guidance and support for those who need to transition from partnership marital unions to the next phase of their lives.

What Is A No-Fault Divorce In Tennessee?

Tennessee allows couples to divorce based on the no-fault ground of “irreconcilable differences.” This is often shorthand for marriage simply not working out, though it was no one’s fault in particular. However, you and your spouse must agree in order to use this ground – if you cannot agree, the divorce then becomes contested.

In order to qualify for a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse must also be able to come to an agreement (or at least be near one) on things like child custody, alimony, and distribution of marital assets. No-fault divorce becomes a “fault” divorce if anything is contested, because then by definition, there is a dispute, and disputes involve fault. Under the law, the couple must have lived apart and separate for at least two years before a divorce will be granted.

What is a fault divorce?

As a Memphis TN divorce lawyer can explain, a spouse who files for divorce based on certain grounds must prove those grounds unilaterally before a judge, and then the court will issue a decision regarding the couple’s dispute. Contested divorces usually happen when there is a bone of contention between the spouses, such as child custody or the ownership of a certain asset, but it can happen on several other grounds. Adultery is perhaps the most common, but there are eight others that appear. They are: 

  •   “Natural” impotence
  •   Bigamy – one party was already married to a living spouse
  •   Cruel and inhuman treatment
  •   Alcohol abuse (or drug addiction) for at least two years
  •   Abandonment for one year or more
  •   Adultery
  •   Felony conviction with a prison sentence
  •   Attempted murder of the spouse


Does the court consider the “fault” when dividing up the marital estate?

Any of these grounds is enough for the wronged spouse to unilaterally file for divorce. However, they must be prepared to establish the truth of their accusation. Even if your spouse openly admits, for example, being a bigamist or an adulterer, you must still submit proof to the court that substantiates your statements. Also, it is important to remember that regardless of whether or not misconduct is proven in court, the marital assets will be divided in an equitable fashion – in other words, even if you prove that your spouse did something wrong, the court will not ‘punish’ them for it in terms of their share of the marital estate. Fault can affect things like child custody, but not asset distribution, as a general rule.

If you are considering a divorce, contact a Memphis TN divorce lawyer from Patterson Bray PLLC to find out what your legal options may be.

Historically, when a couple decided to divorce, they were required to establish whose fault the estrangement was. Many states still retain this structure, including Tennessee, but a simpler way to divorce has since taken root: the no-fault divorce, wherein no one need admit any kind of dirty laundry into a court record. Some people still choose to cite grounds for their divorce, and some prefer the ease of a no-fault system. There are positives and negatives to each. The following is a brief overview. A divorce lawyer in Memphis, TN can answer questions specific to your situation.

How Long Does Divorce Take?

The time it takes for you to complete the divorce process on average takes anywhere between two to six months. In Tennessee, the state imposes a waiting period which can be sixty to ninety days. However, if there are complications such as disputes over how assets will be distributed it can take over a year for a divorce to be finalized. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of a divorce, you can consult with a lawyer on finding amicable solutions. 

How are assets distributed?

What is often challenging in a divorce proceeding is the distribution of assets. How assets like vehicles, property and possessions are distributed in a divorce depends on the state’s property laws. A state has different approaches for the division of property. For example, some states adhere to community property laws while others adhere to equitable distribution. The court will decide how assets are distributed if both parties cannot come to an agreement. 

Do custody arrangements need to be settled before a divorce is finalized?

Custodial disputes are common in a divorce. One or both spouses might have differing preferences or attitudes when it comes to who has custody of their child. A custody agreement must be determined before a judge can approve the divorce. This can extend the time it takes to complete the divorce. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, you can talk to a lawyer to determine possible options so that your divorce can be finalized. 

Do I need to hire a lawyer? 

It is beneficial to hire a lawyer if you are going through divorce, because the process can be complex and there can be a number of hurdles. While you don’t need to hire a lawyer if you are going through divorce, it offers many advantages. There are many steps that need to be completed and it can get overwhelming, so they can ensure that you go through your divorce smoothly. A lawyer can also help you minimize your divorce-related expenses as well.  

A trusted divorce lawyer has years of experience assisting clients through the divorce process. If you need legal support and would like to learn more about how a lawyer like one from Patterson Bray PLLC can help you navigate divorce proceedings, don’t wait to take action and get the advice and support that you need. Schedule a risk-free consultation now so that you can get started and receive legal advice. 

Separating with your spouse is a complex, painful and difficult experience, as a divorce lawyer in Memphis, TN knows. When a marriage ends, you will have to make many decisions regarding who your assets will be distributed, as well as decide on custody agreements. As a divorce lawyer in Memphis, TN like one at Patterson Bray PLLC can explain, the process can be highly emotional, and often require careful and lengthy deliberation. If you need help going through a divorce, learn more about your options.

Grounds For Divorce

Tennessee has two types of divorces: uncontested, which is usually irreconcilable differences, and contested, which requires proof of grounds for divorce. In Tennessee, a divorce begins with the filing of a “Complaint”. Tennessee law requires that certain statistical information be disclosed in a Complaint for Divorce, including the full names of the parties, dates of birth, etc. When a Complaint is filed, a temporary set of injunctions will be issued automatically without independent judicial approval. These automatic injunctions are sometime referred to as “mandatory injunctions, and they prevent the sale or transfer of certain assets, prevents the dissipation of marital funds, and prohibit each party from threatening physical harm against the other and from harassing him or her. In a contested divorce, the parties cannot agree to a resolution of each of the issues before the Court, and those parties must go to trial, and an experienced Divorce Attorney Memphis, TN.  The first issue a Court must resolve is the grounds for divorce. Essentially, the Court must conclude which party is most at fault for the divorce and the reasons for such fault. Those grounds are:
  • Adultery;
  • Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs;
  • Living apart for two years with no minor children;
  • Inappropriate marital conduct;
  • Willful or malicious desertion for one full year without a reasonable cause;
  • Conviction of a felony;
  • Pregnancy of the wife by another before the marriage without the husband’s knowledge;
  • Refusal to move to Tennessee with your spouse and living apart for two years;
  • Malicious attempt upon the life of another;
  • Lack of reconciliation for two years after the entry of a decree of separate maintenance;
  • Impotency and sterility;
  • Bigamy; and
  • Abandonment or refusal or neglecting to provide for spouse although able to do so.
Additionally, the Court must equitably divide the marital estate, without taking into consideration each parties’ fault in the divorce. In a divorce action in Tennessee, only marital property and marital debt is divided; separate property is not. Property division is the term used by courts and lawyers for describing this process. Property division requires that all property be identified, classified, and valued. Tennessee is an “equitable distribution” state.  Once the Court has determined which property is marital, the Court will then equitably divide those assets and any debts. An equitable division does not always mean an equal division of property.  In other words, marital property will not always be divided 50/50.  Also, equitable division does not mean each party will receive a share of every piece of marital property. Sometimes a court will give an entire asset to one spouse, or the Court may require that certain assets be sold. A trial court will classify all property as either marital or separate. Generally, property acquired during the marriage is marital property. Separate property, also known as non-marital property, generally consists of all real and personal property owned before marriage, gifts, and inheritances. As stated above, only marital property is divided. Each spouse will keep his or her separate property. Under Tennessee law, the following factors are considered by the court in equitably dividing marital property:
  1. The duration of the marriage;
  2. The age, physical and mental health, vocational skills, employability, earning capacity, estate, financial liabilities and financial needs of each of the parties;
  3. The tangible or intangible contribution by one (1) party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party;
  4. The relative ability of each party for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;
  5. The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, appreciation, depreciation or dissipation of the marital or separate property, including the contribution of a party to the marriage as homemaker, wage earner or parent, with the contribution of a party as homemaker or wage earner to be given the same weight if each party has fulfilled its role; (who contributed more, who performed marital role more, and why)
  6. The value of the separate property of each party;
  7. The estate of each party at the time of the marriage;
  8. The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective;
  9. The tax consequences to each party, costs associated with the reasonably foreseeable sale of the asset, and other reasonably foreseeable expenses associated with the asset;
  10. The amount of social security benefits available to each spouse; and
  11. Such other factors as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.
Additionally, in certain scenarios the separate property of one party may become marital property. Be sure to discuss these issues with your divorce counsel to make sure you avoid creating marital assets that you intend on keeping separate. If during your marriage, you and your spouse had minor children or adopted children, and those children are still minors at the time of your divorce, then the Court will also need to establish a Permanent Parenting Plan, which takes into consideration Tennessee’s custody and visitation laws. For a discussion on custody disputes and what you can expect during custody litigation, consult the custody lawyers Memphis, TN at Patterson Bray. In addition to making custody determinations, including parenting schedule, decision making, and parental rights, the Court’s Permanent Parenting Plan Order will also include a child support calculation and obligation. For a discussion on the Court’s child support determination and what you can expect during child support litigation, consult the child support attorneys Memphis, TN trusts at Patterson Bray today. Finally, the remaining issue in any divorce that a Court will take into consideration, regardless of whether there are minor children or not, is whether the Court should award either party spousal support, also commonly known as alimony. The Court’s award of alimony can come in many forms, and many include the attorney fees you incurred in seeking a divorce. For a discussion on the Court alimony determination and what you can expect during divorce litigation, consult the divorce lawyer Memphis, TN at the office of Patterson Bray.