Johnson City Car Accident Attorneys
Were you hurt in a car accident caused by someone else’s recklessness or carelessness behind the wheel? If so, you are not alone, and help is available to you. The experienced Johnson City car accident lawyers of the Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC are here to help you hold the responsible party accountable, and we’ll work to get you the compensation that you deserve.
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were more than 4.6 million licensed drivers in the Volunteer State between 2013 and 2017. Washington County had the 12th highest number of licensed drivers with 93,266, Sullivan County had the ninth highest number of licensed drivers with 123,302, and Carter County had the 25th highest number of licensed drivers with 41,880.
Automobiles are a critical mode of transportation for residents in Upper East Tennessee, but car crashes occur with unfortunate frequency throughout the state. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reported 208,230 total traffic crashes in 2017. Washington County was the scene of ten fatal crashes, 664 injury crashes, and 3,399 property damage only crashes. Sullivan County saw 18 fatal accidents, 1,069 injury accidents, and 3,117 property damage only accidents. And Carter County accounted for five fatal crashes, 254 injury crashes, and 972 property damage only crashes.
The nature of a motor vehicle accident can differ depending on several circumstances, but the immediate aftermath is often a very stressful and confusing time for many car crash victims. Some people require lengthy hospital stays that lead to enormous medical bills, and many others must deal with an inability to return to work for several weeks, months, or even years.
If you suffered serious injuries or your loved one was killed in a car accident in the greater Johnson City area, it will be important for you to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. After any kind of motor vehicle crash, you will want a law firm that can help you get back on your feet and obtain all of the compensation that you are entitled to.
The Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC have been helping clients throughout Upper East Tennessee for more than three decades. Call (423) 282-1041 or complete an online contact form to have our attorneys review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free consultation.
Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
Some people do not reach out to attorneys because they fear they can’t afford the cost of legal representation. You shouldn’t have to worry about having quality legal help on your side, which is why the Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC represent clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will not be charged anything unless we recover compensation for you.
In many car accident cases, victims are contacted shortly after their crashes by the other drivers’ insurance agent. These representatives are almost always very friendly and express concern — as well as a willingness to make sure victims are taken care of — but there is a reason to doubt the sincerity of these efforts.
Many agents will specifically tell victims that they will be able to keep more of their settlement money for themselves if they do not hire a lawyer. Insurance companies will aggressively push this idea in the hopes that a victim will not realize the size of the settlement they are being offered is much less than what they are entitled.
You want an attorney specifically to deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. People who do accept settlements without contacting lawyers quickly find that their settlements only cover many of their existing bills but leave nothing for all of the future costs of medical care, which victims then have to pay out of their own pockets.
Why Choose the Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC to Handle My Case?
The Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC have a record of success that includes numerous verdicts and settlements obtained for scores of clients. Our firm secured a $4.5 million settlement for a teenager who suffered a traumatic brain injury when the car they were riding in was struck by a tractor-trailer.
Tony Seaton has been a board-certified Specialist in Civil Trial Practice since 1988, and he received an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a peer rating denoting the highest level of professional excellence. Robert Bates was a Dean’s Scholar at the Appalachian School of Law and was named a Top Ten Lawyer Under 40 by the National Association of Personal Injury Attorneys in 2015.
The Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC will negotiate for a fair and full settlement to your case and will not hesitate to file a lawsuit when an insurance company refuses to provide adequate compensation. After multiple attorneys told one of our previous clients that they should accept the $30,000 from the insurance company in their accident case, our firm was able to achieve a $180,000 settlement.
Types of Car Accident Cases We Handle
Every car crash is different, and each accident involves its own unique sets of factors. While certain elements differ between crashes, some kinds of accidents are especially common in Tennessee.
A few of the most common types of car crashes that the Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC handles include but are not limited to:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving
- Unsafe lane change
- Failure to yield
- Driver fatigue
- Improper turns
- Reckless driving
- Inclement weather
- Dangerous roadway
Just as causes can differ between accidents, so too can the nature of injuries. The severity of injuries can often be unpredictable, as some people can emerge relatively unscathed from devastating wrecks while other people can suffer extremely debilitating injuries in what seem like minor accidents.
In general, the types of injuries people may sustain in car accidents in Tennessee include but are not limited to:
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Burn injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
After any car accident, the first thing that a person should always do is seek medical attention — even when they do not believe they were hurt. As soon as possible afterward, the victim should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer before speaking to any insurance company.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents
Yes. Even if your accident was seemingly minor and did not result in any injuries or significant property damage, you should never assume that another driver will be as willing to work with you in resolving any issues after you both leave the scene of a crash. A driver may accept blame at the scene and encourage you not to bring police into the situation, but they could very well turn around and tell their own insurance company that you were at fault. When you contact the local law enforcement agency, a police officer will speak to all parties involved and draw their conclusion about how the accident occurred. The officer may also issue citations to negligent drivers for any traffic violations that were committed and possibly caused the accident.
Keep in mind that Tennessee state law requires accidents to be reported in several circumstances. For example, Tennessee Code § 55-10-106 establishes that a driver involved in an accident that results in injury to or death of any person or results in property damage to an apparent extent of $50 or more must immediately give notice of the accident. Notification is given to the local police department when an accident occurs within a municipality or to the county sheriff or nearest Tennessee Highway Patrol office when the crash occurs outside a municipality.
Under Tennessee Code § 55-10-107, a driver involved in an accident that results in bodily injury to or death of any person or results in property damage of more than $400 must also forward a written report of the accident to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security within 20 days of the accident.
Tennessee Code § 28-3-104(a)(1)(B) establishes that civil actions for compensatory or punitive damages (or both) must be started within one year of the cause of action or the date of an accident. This same statute of limitations also applies to wrongful death cases, but it is important to note that the date the limitations period begins is different. While a personal injury statute of limitations begins on the date of an actual crash, the limitations period for a wrongful death claim begins on the date of a person’s death, which could be several days, weeks, or months after the accident.
Will I still be able to file a lawsuit if I was partially at fault for my car accident?
With its decision in McIntyre v. Balentine, 833 S.W.2d 52 (Tenn. 1992), the Supreme Court of Tennessee replaced the common law defense of contributory negligence (under which any negligence on the part of a victim bars them from recovering damages) with a system of comparative fault. “Justice simply will not permit our continued adherence to a rule that, in the face of a judicial determination that others bear primary responsibility, nevertheless completely denies injured litigants recompense for their damages,” Chief Justice Frank F. Drowota wrote. After concluding that the “all-or-nothing rule of contributory negligence must be replaced,” the Supreme Court of Tennessee held that as long as a plaintiff’s negligence is less than the defendant’s negligence (essentially a 50 percent bar on recovery), the plaintiff can recover damages; those damages are reduced in proportion to the percentage of the total negligence attributable to the plaintiff. This means that if you are awarded $100,000 in a Tennessee car accident case, and you are found to have been 5 percent at fault, your damages will be reduced by $5,000, and you would ultimately receive $95,000.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security divides crash statistics into eight districts, and Washington County, Carter County, and Sullivan County are all within the District Five headquartered in Fall Branch. In 2017, District Five had 115 traffic fatalities, an increase of four from the 111 reported in 2016. As of November 1, 2018, the district had 96 fatalities.
According to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were ten traffic fatalities in Washington County in 2017 (up from eight in 2016), 17 traffic fatalities in Sullivan County in 2017 (up from 16 in 2016), and five traffic fatalities in Carter County in 2017 (down from seven in 2016).
The Department of Safety and Homeland Security reported that in 2017: Washington County had 4,073 total crashes, including ten fatal crashes, 664 injury crashes, and 3,399 PDO crashes; Sullivan County had 4,204 total crashes, including 17 fatal crashes, 1,070 injury crashes, and 3,117 PDO crashes; Carter County had 1,231 total crashes, including five fatal crashes, 254 injury crashes, and 972 PDO crashes. The 857 traffic fatalities reported by the department as of November 1, 2018, were only six less than the statewide total of 863 for all of 2017.
Contact a Johnson City Car Accident Attorney Today
Did you sustain catastrophic injuries or was your loved one killed in a car crash anywhere in Johnson City? You have a limited amount of time to hold the negligent party accountable, and you should not delay in taking legal action.
Contact Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC as soon as possible. Our lawyers will provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (423) 282-1041 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.