Who Is At Fault in a Car Accident in Memphis?
Car accidents occur at an alarming rate in Memphis and surrounding counties. From rear-end collisions on Union Avenue to drunk driving crashes along Poplar Avenue, these accidents injure more than 100 people a day. If you suffer an injury in a car accident in Memphis, you need to protect yourself and your future. This means filing a claim to seek compensation for the damages you endured. However, you can’t file a claim or a lawsuit without first proving fault. After all, someone must blame the accident before you can collect money from their insurance policy.
Determining fault is one of the most crucial components of a personal injury claim. Without fault, there is no one to seek compensation from. Insurance companies know this. That is why they fight aggressively to pin some or all the blame back on you. They may claim you were speeding or not watching where you were going.
To counter these devious tactics, you need a personal injury law firm on your side from the start. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we know the tricks insurance companies use to reduce their claims, and we fight against them. Our Memphis car accident attorneys can help you collect the evidence you need to clearly establish fault in a case. We can even uncover other parties that may share the liability, so you can collect the maximum compensation you deserve.
How Police Identify Fault After a Memphis Accident
In Tennessee, you must remain at the scene of an accident that causes injury or damage. If you fail to do so, you may be charged with a hit-and-run crime. The police will arrive at the scene of the crash to examine the accident scene and interview the parties involved. Their initial investigation is important to establish fault.
The officers will write up an accident report based on the details of the crash. Their report will often include their opinion of who is at fault for the accident. Even if a police report doesn’t have this information, however, it is important to obtain a copy of this report for your case.
If the police believe that one party violated the law, they will include this in their report. They may also issue a citation or conduct a further investigation into the events of the accident. For example, if they believe a driver is under the influence of drugs, they may ask the driver to submit to a drug test. They may even arrest the other driver.
This information is important to building your case. Every opportunity to show that the other driver acted negligently is important to establishing fault.
How a Law Firm Determines Fault
If you have a police report, why do you need a law firm to help you determine fault? Unfortunately, the police don’t always get it right. Their officers spend a little time at the scene of the accident and then write up their opinion of the crash. They may miss vital evidence that shifts the blame. Or they can miss a separate negligent party entirely, such as the product manufacturer or city.
A Memphis car accident lawyer at Rainwater, Holt & Sexton will investigate the accident closely on your behalf. Our lawyers will look for any evidence that helps shed light on all parties that may be to blame. We can call in experts to examine tire tread, skid marks, and other accidental damage. We can also interview eyewitnesses and talk to ambulance personnel about your injuries.
Our Tenessee law firm seeks to get it right from the start. We work diligently to find all “at fault” parties and no risk to you. That’s because we take all our cases on a contingency basis. That means you do not pay us unless we can successfully win money for you! This gives all injured car accident victims the option to seek justice – regardless of their financial situation.
Steps to Help Determine Fault After a Car Accident in Memphis
After a car accident, the best way to determine fault is to hire an experienced Memphis car accident attorney. Our lawyers can take the legal burdens off of your shoulders during this time. We are skilled and experienced at investigating these accidents and uncovering all liable parties. We know the ins and outs of personal injury law in Memphis, and we can put that knowledge to work for you.
There are still ways you can help your accident case succeed. Immediately after a car accident, here are some steps you can take to help determine the fault in your accident.
- Call 911 immediately to alert police to your accident scene
- Obtain a copy of the police report
- Get contact info for all parties involved
- Get contact info for any eyewitnesses
- Keep an accident journal and detail the accident as you remember it while it is still fresh in your memory. Include details about examinations, as well as damages and pain and suffering.
- Take pictures of the accident scene from a variety of angles
- Do not get the car repaired until your attorney has a chance to examine crash damage
- Do not speak to “at fault” insurance company or adjusters
- Notify your insurance company of the accident
Is Tennessee an At-Fault State?
Tennessee is considered an “at fault” state. That means that the person responsible for the accident is also liable for the damages and injuries they caused. Injured accident victims can seek compensation and recover damages from the “at fault” party and their insurance company.
When determining fault, Tennessee operates on a standard called “comparative negligence.” This means that each person can be assigned a portion of the blame for the accident. If you are 50 percent or more at fault for the accident, you cannot legally recover damages for the crash. If you are less than 50 percent at fault for the crash, you can recover damages, but your percentage of fault will reduce the amount you recover.
For example, suppose you were injured in a car accident when a speeding driver ran a red light. However, you were found to be 20 percent to blame for the accident because you were distracted by your cellphone at the time of the crash. You received an award of $10,000 for your injuries. However, because of your percentage of blame for the accident, you would only receive 80 percent of this award, or $8,000.
As you can see, determining fault is critical. The insurance company will try and pin some of the blame for the accident back on you. This is a well-known tactic that helps them reduce their own liabilities.
What is No-Doubt Liability?
In a no-doubt liability accident, it is easy to determine who is to blame for the crash. In these situations, the insurance company will rarely argue fault. Some of the most common types of no-doubt liability accidents include:
- Rear-end collisions. Even if the car in front of you slams on their brakes, you must ensure that you’re following far enough behind to stop safely.
- Left-turn accidents. All drivers making left turns must yield to oncoming traffic. The only exception is if they had a green arrow and the oncoming traffic had a red light.
- DUI crashes. Drunk driving is illegal, and there are no reasons anyone should drive under the influence of alcohol. The drunk driver almost always bears liability for these accidents.
Even though your accident may be considered a no-doubt liability accident, you still benefit from an attorney. Your car accident attorney will need to negotiate with the insurance company to make sure you receive a fair settlement that accounts for all of your injuries and damages. Without an attorney, the insurance company will still pressure you to sign a quick settlement that is just a fraction of what you need.
How Does Negligence Determine Fault?
Unfortunately, most car accidents require establishing negligence. Negligence means that a driver failed to take proper care. Disobeying the rules of the road is a typical example of negligence.
Negligence plays an important role in collecting compensation. Comparative fault in Tennessee means that both parties will be investigated to determine their degree of fault and if their negligence caused the accident.
Our attorneys will need to show that the other driver acted negligently while operating their car to establish fault. For example, perhaps they sped, ran a red light, or drove drunk. These are all examples of negligent driving behaviors that would lead to liability for the accident
Determining Fault for Different Types of Memphis Accidents
There are different types of accidents in Memphis, and each one requires unique investigations to determine fault.
Single car accidents. Most single-car accidents are the driver’s fault – at least, that’s what most police reports indicate. However, further investigations may reveal other liable parties, such as tire manufacturers, the city responsible for maintaining the road, and other drivers. If you believe that your accident was not your fault, you need to call our law firm immediately to begin investigating your accident carefully.
Parked car accidents. These accidents are almost always the fault of the driver who was moving or trying to merge into traffic. However, these accidents may look, other reasons may have caused the crash. Our attorneys can investigate other lesser-known entities, such as auto part manufacturers.
Multi-car accidents. These accidents are difficult to navigate because multiple parties may be to blame. In addition, there are numerous injured parties. You may share the blame for part of the accident, but not the whole crash. For this reason, you need a law firm on your side that can investigate the collision and detail the chain of liability.
DUI accidents. These accidents require a specific type of investigation that involves obtaining BAC reports, police records, and eyewitness accounts at the bar. In some cases, the bar or restaurant responsible for serving the intoxicated driver may be to blame.
Distracted driving accidents. Distracted driving accidents may not be easy to prove at first. Our lawyers are skilled in investigating distracted driving crashes in Memphis and obtaining cell phone data to prove negligence.
Dangerous Road Accidents. Sometimes the design or maintenance of the road in Memphis leads to an accident. This is often difficult to prove and requires a special kind of investigation. These types of accidents lean heavily on road design and maintenance evidence, and these claims must be filed quickly.
What to Do If You’re At Fault
If you are involved in an accident in Memphis and you believe that you caused the crash, it is important to know what you can do to protect yourself and your rights.
- Remain calm. Even if you believe you caused the accident, don’t admit fault. There may be other factors involved that you do not realize.
- Call 911. You must report the accident and alert police and medical authorities to the crash.
- Talk to the police. You must answer the police’s questions but refrain from admitting fault or drawing conclusions. Remember, you do not have all the facts or information. There may be other parties at fault. It is best to let the authorities and attorneys investigate the accident and determine fault.
- Collect evidence. It is important to collect evidence if you can. This includes damage to vehicles, as well as eyewitness information. If you believe that contributing factors to your accident, take pictures of that evidence. This may include broken stoplights or overgrown shrubs.
- Notify your insurance company. It is best to notify your insurance company when you get into an accident. Your insurance company will need to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company to pay for damages if you are to blame.
Why Choose Rainwater, Holt & Sexton
Our Memphis car accident lawyers help injured drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. We want to help injured accident victims find the justice they deserve after an accident. Our attorneys have experience proving fault and establishing liability in accidents across the state of Tennessee. We know that you need money now to pay for medical bills, expenses, and lost wages. That is why we work quickly to negotiate the best claim for you. If your lawsuit does go to court, you can rest easy knowing you have experienced litigators on your side who can protect your rights to compensation at every turn.
We have over 30 attorneys ready to offer your caring and compassionate legal guidance after an accident. Our lawyers have won multi-million dollar car accident cases, and we can put this experience to work for you. After a Memphis car accident, you should have a winning team in your corner.
Contact Our Memphis Pedestrian Accident Attorneys
Our Memphis auto accident lawyers are here to help you no matter where you suffer an injury. Contact Rainwater, Holt & Sexton drunk driving accident lawyers today.
Fill out a free contact request form, which only takes a minute, or simply dial (901) 888-8888 and tell us your story. We offer FREE consultations in person or over the phone to better assist you. You have nothing to lose! Call us today!
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