At Bart Durham Injury Law, our attorneys and staff are dedicated to helping injured individuals obtain the money and medical care they need. Established in 1975, we have the in-depth knowledge and experience you are looking for to help make sense of the confusing legal process. You can also count on us to pursue the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding personal injury law:
Do I have a personal injury case?
Nashville Personal Injury And Wrongful Death Lawyers
One of the most common questions we hear at the law offices of Bart Durham in Nashville, Tennessee and Bowling Green, Kentucky, is if your case has merit. Only an experienced attorney can accurately answer that question.
Our personalized approach to each client who comes to our office means that there is no “cookie-cutter” approach to establishing your case. During the initial consultation, we will secure all the information and documentation that you can provide. Sometimes a case will arise that does not warrant legal action after consulting with our legal staff. In those situations, we are candid and honest with our clients on their chances of prevailing in settlement or litigation.
At the Law Office of Bart Durham, we recognize that some personal injury cases are more complicated than others. Certain thresholds of liability exist and some laws present obstacles. While our 75-plus years of experience have taught us to overcome challenges on behalf of our clients, there are some cases that just do not warrant legal representation. Your time is valuable, as is ours. It is not in my best interest to waste that time or your financial resources.
In the end, it costs you nothing to visit an attorney at our office to see if you have a case. If you were injured in an accident and you feel that the other party exercised negligence, you should explore the option of legal representation as opposed to going at it on your own.
How The Personal Injury Claims Process Works
Nashville Personal Injury And Accident Death Lawyers
The work that needs to be done toward a successful personal injury claim requires dedication by an experienced attorney, and time. Resolution will not happen overnight, unless you want to accept the quick settlement that the defendant’s insurance company offers you. At Bart Durham Injury Law, in Nashville, Tennessee, we are detail-oriented in how we establish a personal injury case.
While our team work shard on the case, we ask all our clients to be patient and focus on recovering from their injuries or the grief from a wrongful death matter. The first step comes at the initial consultation where your attorney will gather the data from you. That can come in the form of information you provide, as well as any documentation you may have.
If the accident was a result of a motor vehicle crash, the site must be investigated by an experienced attorney and an accident reconstructionist. Police reports and accident reports are gathered. If the collision involved a commercial truck, the trucking company must be contacted to both preserve and send us the information we need. That can include personnel records, log books, and the data from the truck’s “black box” that will give us an idea of the speed at which the truck was traveling and if there were any dangerous turns or braking.
Depending on the type of injury or the manner of death that occurred, we will bring on experts to provide their insight into how the accident occurred and what could have caused it. The experts will also be asked to testify in depositions or in a courtroom to help solidify your claim that negligence caused your injury or the loss of a loved one.
How Much Is Your Personal Injury Case Worth?
Many different factors can affect how much a Tennessee personal injury case is worth. Insurance companies, judges and attorneys will all consider the nature of your injuries, the amount available to collect, your age, your occupation and much more.
One of the most important factors under consideration is your lost earnings. If you held a high-paying job and your injuries prevented you from working, your case may be worth more than if you were unemployed or held a minimum wage job.
Another factor to consider is your medical bills. The insurance company of the at-fault party will usually have to pay for the cost of treatment. It may also use the total amount of your medical bills to help calculate how much to offer you in a settlement for pain and suffering. The value of your case may differ depending on how much pain and suffering you have experienced, how likely it is to continue into the future, and whether future medical care will be required.
We Work Hard To Get You Every Dime Possible
At Bart Durham Injury Law, our team of lawyers will work with you to ensure you get every dime you deserve for your injuries or the loss of a loved one. We have a reputation for results and for not leaving any available money on the table.
Plus, we understand that it’s not just the amount you are awarded that matters, but the amount that actually ends up in your pocket. We’re good at getting medical bills reduced, and we don’t take cases unless we feel confident that we can get you significantly more than you could on your own.
What is negligence?
Many people ask, “What is negligence?” In order to prove that another party was “negligent” and that he or she ought to compensate you for your injuries, your personal injury lawyer must prove several things:
- Duty of care: This refers to the responsibility that people have to prevent foreseeable harm to others. The courts will look at whether a typical individual could reasonably foresee that a certain action (or inaction) would likely result in an injury. For instance, we can all foresee that failing to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk could easily lead to that person being hurt.
- Breach of duty: If someone has a duty of care in a particular situation, the lawyer must then show that the defendant failed to fulfill this duty. For instance, if the defendant drove recklessly through the crosswalk and hit the pedestrian, this would be a breach of duty.
- Cause: Next, the attorney has to prove that the defendant’s breach of duty actually caused an injury. If he or she ran over the pedestrian, the cause of the pedestrian’s broken bones is quite clear. However, if you have a pre-existing condition, it may be more difficult to prove that the defendant caused or increased your injury.
- Damages: If all of the above have been proven, the attorney can negotiate damages, which can include compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.
When Should You Call A Personal Injury Lawyer?
At Bart Durham Injury Law in Nashville, we recommend that you call a personal injury attorney the minute you realize you need one. Here are a few reasons why:
- The insurance company’s lawyers are already at work. Particularly in a truck accident case, the trucking company will usually dispatch lawyers and investigators to the scene immediately. Their goal is to build a strong defense against your injury claim, so you need a dedicated advocate to fight for your side of the story, too. Plus, your attorney can take quick action to preserve the truck’s black box data and other critical evidence on your behalf.
- You only have a limited window of time. Tennessee has one-year statute of limitations on auto accident cases. This means that you need to bring your claim as soon as possible after you are injured.
- Our attorneys can offer vital advice. It’s easy to make a legal misstep that could prevent you from receiving the money you deserve. Our legal team can guide you through the process from day one, ensuring that you know exactly what to do, what to say to the insurance companies, and how to maximize your chances of success.
Talk To An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
At Bart Durham Injury Law, we believe justice is your right. Our law firm has been serving seriously injured people in Tennessee since 1975. Our team of experienced attorneys demands that you receive the just compensation you need and deserve for your injuries and financial damages.
How Can You Afford A Personal Injury Lawyer
Many people associate lawyers with high fees and ask themselves, “How can I ever afford to pay for an attorney?” Don’t worry. As a personal injury client of Bart Durham Injury Law in Tennessee, you will never have to worry about the cost of receiving quality legal representation.
All accident cases are handled on a contingency-fee basis. This means that you will not pay any attorneys’ fees whatsoever unless you recover money in a settlement or jury award. If we do recover money for you, we only charge a set percentage of that amount as our fee.
That’s the bottom line: Our legal team does all the work and handles all the stress of your case, and we only get paid if we win. That’s a risk we’re more than willing to take, because our law firm has a strong record of results. Over the past 35 years, we have won full and fair compensation for thousands of people like you nationwide.
The only money you may have to pay up front is for court filing fees and related costs. For these costs, we will give you an itemized receipt so you know exactly what you’re paying for.
Is It Worth It To Hire A Personal Injury Attorney?
Yes, it is! The insurance industry’s own studies show that an injured person with an attorney gets an average of one-third larger recovery in their pocket, even after the contingency fees are removed.
When You Should See A Doctor About Your Injury
At Bart Durham Injury Law, we recommend you see a doctor immediately after your accident. If symptoms didn’t reveal themselves right away or you didn’t bother to get checked out right after the accident, do so as soon as you start feeling any pain or you notice anything wrong.
Here are two good reasons to see a physician as soon as possible:
- To protect your own health: Only a qualified medical professional can make sure you’re not hurt worse than you appear. Even a minor pain could be a sign of serious, unseen injuries that gradually increase in severity the longer you wait. When you do see the doctor, be sure to inform him or her of all your symptoms.
- To increase your chances of winning your case: The longer you wait to get a medical checkup, the less likely it is that you will win your personal injury case. Why? Because failing to see the doctor gives the defense a perfect excuse to reject your claim. They can say you must not really be hurt. Plus, you won’t have any medical documentation to present to a judge or jury.
Free Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney
Our law firm has successfully handled thousands of auto accident cases and other personal injury cases of all kinds. We put real experience on your side, fighting aggressively for every dollar in money damages to which you are entitled.
What Financial Damages May Be Available
Tennessee and Kentucky Car And Truck Accident Attorneys
The injuries you suffer in an accident have a monetary value in a personal injury case. Negligent individuals and companies need to be held responsible for inattentiveness or creating a hazardous environment. At Bart Durham Injury Law, our legal team brings decades of experience in personal injury law and a great deal of insight to the damages that our clients can recover.
The amount and types of damages you can recover in a personal injury accident are based upon the extent of your injuries and the level of negligence that caused those injuries. The more the injuries affect your professional and personal life, the more damages you are likely to recover. Our law firm recovers high settlements and courtroom verdicts for our clients on a regular basis.
If the injury you suffered will not allow you to ever work again, you are entitled to compensation for the wages you would have made at your job. Being forced to change careers because of an injury will require vocational rehabilitation for a new type of job. That training costs money and that should be paid for by the party responsible for causing your injury. A wrongful death suffered at the hands of a negligent party means damages for pain and suffering and future lost wages.
While it is hard to pin down a specific amount of monetary compensation or the type of damages you can recover, we have extensive experience in the practice of personal injury law. What you can expect from our firm is to aggressively represent you and defend your rights to get the maximum amount of damages for the injuries and loss that you have suffered.
Compensatory And Punitive Damages
Understanding the types of damages available in a personal injury case can be confusing. Even more difficult is trying to win full and fair compensation without the help of a skilled personal injury attorney. At Bart Durham Injury Law, our lawyers are here to make sure you receive every dollar you deserve.
Two Types Of Compensation In Personal Injury Claims
There are two main kinds of damages: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory is the most common form of damages in personal injury claims. In cases in which serious injury or loss of life was caused by extreme negligence, punitive damages may be awarded.
As its name implies, “compensatory” means something that compensates for something else, typically a loss of some sort. You may be eligible to receive money to compensate you for:
- Property damage
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Current and future medical bills
- Current and future lost wages or lost earning potential
- Current and future pain and suffering or emotional distress
- Loss of consortium, or damage to your relationship with your spouse or children
This is the type of damages commonly awarded to victims of automobile accidents, slip-and-fall accidents and other types of accidents caused by negligence and carelessness.
Calculating compensatory damages is a crucial skill for a personal injury lawyer. When necessary, we work with specialists to ensure that no costs are overlooked. Adding up medical bills that have already accumulated, for example, may be fairly straightforward. We also want to make certain that our clients get compensation for future medical bills. That is where matters get more complex. We know how to deal with these complexities, as we have been handling these cases for decades. Our clients should not have to worry about money running out before their medical treatment and other costs are covered.
Punitive damages are essentially used to punish the at-fault party for particularly outrageous negligence or illegal activity that resulted in harm to someone else. The rationale is that if someone has to pay a large amount of money, they may think twice before engaging in such reckless behavior again. The negligent party may also face criminal prosecution.
Punitive damages are most commonly awarded in motor vehicle crash claims in which the driver who caused the accident was drinking and driving. DUI is illegal, so paying punitive damages to the victim is one of what will likely be many penalties the drunken driver will face for his or her violation of the law. Punitive damages are in the hands of the court. The amount is not calculated based on bills and lost wages like compensatory damages.
Punitive damages are often overlooked. Not at Bart Durham Injury Law. Our goal is to make certain that the injured people we represent get as much money possible, because we understand the financial challenges that can arise following a life-changing injury. We know when the possibility of punitive damages exists. We pursue these damages aggressively to get justice and money for our clients.
You Owe No Lawyers’ Fees Unless We Get You Money
An important part of our law firm’s personal commitment to you is that your personal injury case will be handled on a contingency fee basis. You will owe no attorneys’ fees whatsoever unless you receive money in a settlement or jury award.
Why You Shouldn’t Deal With An Insurance Company
Some people wonder, “Why shouldn’t I deal with insurance companies on my own instead of hiring an attorney?” As a team of lawyers practicing law since 1975, we can offer you many reasons why it really is in your best interests to get a professional on your side. Here are two of the most significant:
1. The insurance companies are concerned about their best interests, not yours. This is particularly true of the at-fault party’s insurance company, but it also applies to your own. Their one and only goal is to make money, not to give any money to you if it can be at all avoided. Some representatives are specifically trained on how to minimize claims or deny claims outright, no matter how much you have paid in premiums over the years.
We are experienced attorneys who deal with insurance companies every day, so we know their tactics and how to get you the true amount of compensation you deserve.
2. Any information you provide will likely be used against you. Again, the goal of any insurance company is to minimize the amount it must pay. To this end, insurance adjusters will gladly use any information you give them to build a case against you.
We can help you understand exactly what to say and what not to say to insurance adjusters. Even an innocent statement about how you’re feeling at the moment could be misinterpreted and used as “evidence” that you’re not injured as badly as you really are.
It Costs You Nothing To Consult A Personal Injury Attorney Serving Robertson County & all of Tennessee
Providing A Statement To An Insurance Company
If you were injured in an automobile accident, you may find that your phone begins ringing before you even get home from the hospital. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will often call you as soon as possible, asking for a statement about the accident and your injuries.
Sometimes the insurance adjusters do this to trick you into giving information that will damage your personal injury case. At other times, they may offer you a small settlement, hoping that you will accept that limited amount of money instead of pursuing the true amount you deserve.
Tips To Remember When Your Phone Starts To Ring
As a Tennessee personal injury lawyer with decades of experience, we highly recommend that you avoid speaking with any insurance companies except your own, and that you contact a skilled attorney right away. Here are a few things to remember when the other party’s insurance company calls:
- Don’t talk about the accident or your injuries.
- Don’t accept a settlement offer or sign any papers without consulting a lawyer.
- Don’t give the adjuster permission to access your medical records or record your statement.
Why You Shouldn’t Accept A Settlement Check
At Bart Durham Injury Law in Tennessee, we advise injured individuals to never accept a check from the at-fault driver’s insurance company without first speaking to a personal injury lawyer.
We know the disadvantages for clients when they accept early settlement offers instead of investigating and pursuing the true value of their claims. Our law firm is here to make sure you receive every dollar you deserve for your past and present medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.
Here’s why you should NOT accept a settlement without consulting a lawyer:
- If you take the first amount the insurance company offers, it will nearly always be less than the true amount you deserve. Remember, the insurance company wants to pay the bare minimum possible.
- Studies show that personal injury victims who hire attorneys to represent them end up with significantly more money — even after paying the lawyers’ fees — than those who deal with the insurance companies on their own.
- You need to complete medical treatment and understand the full extent of your injuries before you agree to a certain amount of settlement money. If you accept $100,000 now, without realizing you will need $400,000 worth of surgery and rehabilitation five years down the road, you will be in trouble. Consulting an attorney can help you ensure you get the money you need for all future expenses.
Personal Injury Cases Going To Trial
The Majority Of Cases Settle Outside Of Court
Many people ask, “What is the likelihood that my case will go to trial?” At Bart Durham Injury Law, less than one percent of all our personal injury cases go to trial. This is a significant benefit to clients who want their claims resolved and the money in their pockets as quickly as possible.
By settling cases outside the courtroom, it also creates a far less stressful environment. Clients don’t have to go through depositions or deal with the drama of presenting their case before a judge and jury.
We Prepare Every Case For The Possibility Of Trial
At the same time, we have an excellent reputation in the Tennessee legal community, and insurance companies know that we mean business. We are not afraid to go to trial if we believe we can get our client more money that way. In fact, we prepare every case as if it will go to trial. Because of our extensive preparation and our reputation for aggressively representing our clients’ interests, both insurance companies and defense lawyers are more willing to settle cases in our clients’ favor.
Whether throughout litigating your case in court or through negotiating a settlement, our legal team will do everything possible to get you the full financial compensation that you and your family so richly deserve for your damages — including lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering now and into the future.
If You Were Engaging In A Dangerous Activity
If you’re like many people, you may be wondering if you have any right to seek personal injury compensation if you were partly at fault in the accident. Maybe you were speeding when your car was hit by a drunk driver, or maybe you pulled in front of a semi-truck before it rear-ended you.
At Bart Durham Injury Law, our team of lawyers are here to help you understand your rights and options under Tennessee law. With decades of experience and a reputation for results, we are proud to serve injured individuals in Nashville and throughout the state.
Tennessee Follows The Doctrine Of Comparative Fault
In Tennessee personal injury cases, the courts adhere to what is called “comparative fault” or “comparative negligence.” This means that if you and the other party were both at fault in the accident, the court will split the liability between the two of you. Here’s an example of how this might look:
You are driving down Interstate 40 in Nashville at dusk when the driver of another car, merging in from Interstate 65, fails to see you and smashes into the side of your vehicle. Your car careens off the road and you suffer $200,000 in medical bills, lost wages and other damages.
You bring a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver, but the other driver claims that you were also at fault for driving without your headlights on. If the case goes to trial, the jury may decide that you are 15 percent at fault and the other driver is 85 percent at fault, which means the other driver has to pay 85 percent of your damages ($170,000).
Note that the Tennessee courts will only allow you to recover money from the other party if you were less than 50 percent at fault. If you are determined to be 49 percent at fault in the crash, you can still seek compensation.
Paying Your Medical Bills As Your Case Progresses
Many Tennessee personal injury victims who come to Bart Durham Injury Law are concerned about how to pay their medical bills after the accident. Surgeries, hospital stays, physician visits, rehab… It can all add up.
Our law firm is here to take the stress off your shoulders. As personal injury attorneys with decades of experience, we have a thorough understanding of all the available options and how to get you the care you need.
The most important thing to realize is that when you receive a settlement or jury verdict, we can repay your medical bills out of that money. That’s why it’s important to have a lawyer on your side who can fight for every dime you deserve and make sure you receive the full amount you will need for any future medical care as well.
Paying Medical Bills Before You Receive A Settlement Or Jury Award
While you’re waiting for the case to be resolved, however, there are several options for paying your current bills:
- Your health insurance (or somebody else’s, if you’re a dependent)
- MedPay coverage through your car insurance
- TennCare through the state of Tennessee for low-income individuals
- Workers’ compensation insurance, if your accident happened on the job
Some medical providers will allow you to hold off paying your bills until the case is resolved. However, we recommend setting up a minimum payment plan to protect your credit rating. We know that most clients are nervous about what will happen to their credit scores if they don’t pay their bills, so we work hard to negotiate acceptable payment plans or deals with the medical providers.
The bottom line is that you don’t need to worry about anything to do with your case. When you hire an attorney at Bart Durham Injury Law, you can count on the fact that we will take care of everything. All you have to do is concentrate on getting well.
The Timeline To Expect For A Settlement
You may be asking yourself, “How long will it take me to receive my money?” The time it takes to resolve your personal injury or auto accident case and actually receive a check in the mail can vary, depending on many different factors.
One of the greatest factors is the severity of your injuries and how long it takes for you to recover from them. In most cases, you should never accept a settlement check until you are released by your treating physician and you know how much your future medical expenses will cost. If you settle with the insurance company too early, you may miss out on the true amount of money you need for future medical care.
The length of time it takes you to receive your money is also based on how much insurance money is available. The case may drag on or it may be resolved almost instantaneously, depending on what insurance assets are available.
Working Hard To Get You The Money You Need As Fast As Possible
At Bart Durham Injury Law, our lawyers understand that you are likely out of work and in need of money as soon as possible. We have extensive experience in this area of law and a reputation for resolving cases quickly. You can count on us to do everything we can to get that check into your hands in the minimum amount of time.
Deadlines For Filing
Tennessee has a “statute of limitations” for personal injury cases, which means that lawsuits cannot be filed after a certain window of time has elapsed. This statute, TCA § 28-3-104, only allows one year for auto accident cases and other personal injury cases. In other words, if you are injured in a collision with a semi-truck in January, you only have until the end of December to bring a personal injury claim. (Note: if you are a minor, you may have until age 18 to file a claim.)
The time limit is one reason it is critical to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Another reason is that even though you have a year to bring a lawsuit, vital evidence can disappear within a matter of days. Getting a skilled lawyer on your side right away will maximize your chances of success.
We Will Handle All The Details For You From Day One
At Bart Durham Injury Law, in Nashville, Tennessee and Bowling Green, Kentucky, we have been practicing law since 1975. We are here to carry the burden of legal concerns for you. We take pride in providing quality service and staying in contact with our clients. Even if nothing new has happened in your case, you can count on receiving a call from us at least once a month, just to check in.