Cars are becoming safer overall; nevertheless, in 2012, after several years of declining numbers, the toll of traffic injuries and fatalities increased by five percent from the year 2011 to approximately 36,200 fatalities and 3.9 million injuries requiring medical treatment.
The Tennessee Department of Safety reports that this state sees around 70,000 car accidents every year; more than 1000 people die and 50,000 suffer injuries on the state’s roads.
These numbers represent a terrible toll in human suffering and loss of life and productivity. In many cases, auto accidents occur because of someone’s negligence, poor driving, or disregard for both traffic laws and the health and safety of others on the road. In these cases, an experienced Chattanooga, Tennessee, car accident attorney can help you recover damages from the person who caused the accident.
If you are among the victims of Tennessee car accidents caused by another driver, poor road maintenance, or defects in the manufacture of a vehicle or its components, you are entitled to make a claim against the individual, company, or government entity that caused the accident and was responsible for your injury or the death of a loved one. This is best accomplished by engaging the services of an experienced Tennessee auto accident attorney with a practice dedicated to helping the injured or bereaved to obtain the compensation they need and deserve, following a serious traffic accident. Your first choice should be the Chattanooga law firm of Wettermark Keith, a firm with a long track record, a 95 percent success rate, and more than 250 million dollars in awards for clients since 2003.
You might wonder if it is really necessary to have a lawyer represent you in your claim. Legally, you are free to attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company on your own. The insurance adjuster who contacts you after the accident will probably encourage you to do just that. But remember that the insurance company’s interests and yours are incompatible. Insurance companies want to increase their profits by writing more policies and paying out as little as they can get away with. They are not in the business of seeing that the injured receive fair compensation for their injuries. Adjusters are trained in numerous techniques to accomplish this goal. A dedicated personal injury lawyer, like the attorneys at Wettermark Keith, understands their methods and will be able to overcome them. Accident victims with experienced lawyers working for them typically walk away with significantly more money than those who go it alone.
Car accidents can cause many types of serious and catastrophic injuries. These are some of the injuries we see frequently at Wettermark Keith:
There are many types of negligent driving that are responsible for traffic accidents in Tennessee; these are a few of them:
The attorneys at Wettermark Keith have extensive experience assisting victims of these and other negligent driving behaviors to recover significant monetary awards for their economic losses, such as lost earnings, cost of medical treatment, and more. Over the years, we have obtained recoveries totaling more than 250 million dollars for our clients, a record that is hard to beat.
At Wettermark Keith, we focus on each client’s needs. We understand the challenges you’re facing if you’ve suffered a serious injury or lost a member of your family in a Tennessee car accident. We are deeply committed to putting our substantial legal knowledge, skill, and experience to work for you and your family to get you a recovery that fully compensates you for all that you’ve lost.
Call Wettermark today to schedule your free consultation with a dedicated Tennessee car accident attorney. Tennessee law limits the amount of time you have to bring a lawsuit, so don’t risk losing your right to compensation. We win money for you, or you pay nothing.
At Wettermark Keith, we practice personal injury law. Many people ask us exactly what that means, and why have we have chosen this particular area of law.
Personal injury lawyers help people who have been seriously injured or who have lost a beloved family member in an accident that wasn’t their fault; it was caused by someone else. Clearly, this is not fair. Why should you suffer for something another person did wrong? We don’t believe you should. We believe passionately that if somebody harms you, it’s that person or company’s responsibility to make it right, or at least as close to right as it can be.
That’s what personal injury lawyers do: we represent the injured, standing up for the individual who must go up against those who have caused you harm and the rich and powerful insurance companies who cover them and who would like to deny or lowball your claim in the name of corporate profits. We to strive to make certain you get compensation adequate to cover all your losses.
Of course, once the harm’s done, things will never be the same as they were before. No one can bring your deceased loved one back to life or restore your health and vitality if you’ve suffered one of the more catastrophic permanent injuries. But what we can do is fight to get you an amount of money that will allow you to have the medical treatment you need, the income you and your family require, and the means to make the most of the life you are left with in the aftermath of a serious accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
At Wettermark Keith we practice personal injury law because we believe in justice and fairness. We don’t think your suffering should be ignored while the person who caused it walks away scot-free. We believe in responsibility and accountability. To those who go through life without a thought to the well being of those around them, we say, if you hurt someone, step up to the plate, look at the harm you’ve done, and see to it that your victim is compensated.
Our personal injury practice is devoted to helping accident victims pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward in the very best way they can, given the limitations imposed by their injuries. And we are dedicated to holding the negligent, the careless, and the lawbreakers who cause accidents and injuries accountable for the suffering they’ve caused others, while discouraging them from repeating their poor behavior in the future.
In other areas of law, there is a disparity in the availability of expert legal representation between the rich and the poor. If you need a good criminal lawyer, you had better have plenty of funds stashed away to cover your legal bills. Otherwise, you’ll have to resort to a public defender with a staggeringly large caseload and little time to devote to you. If your business has a legal problem, a top corporate attorney will cost you thousands. But in our personal injury practice, everyone—rich or poor—has equal access to the best legal representation Tennessee has to offer.
That’s because we take serious injury and wrongful death cases on contingency. We do all the work and cover all the expenses needed to prove a strong case, and you never have to pay us a dime until the day your recovery check arrives. And in the extremely unlikely case we don’t win money for you, you owe us absolutely nothing. That’s how we hold ourselves accountable to you, our client. We have a 95 percent success rate, so you can feel confident that your case is in good hands, and that you have a lawyer who is committed to the best outcome for you and will work diligently and tirelessly to get it.
Our client-centered personal injury and wrongful death practice is focused on your family and getting you a fair monetary recovery to compensate for all of your present and future accident-related damages, those that can be measured in dollars, along with the damages to your quality of life, which may be even more devastating.
If you live in Tennessee and have been injured or lost a family member in any kind of accident, we understand what you are going through, and we want to help. Call Wettermark in Chattanooga for a free case consultation and learn what we can do for you.
Knowing what to do in the minutes, hours, and days after a car accident can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim for damages. Because no one plans on being injured in an accident, and you may be stunned and shaken from the impact that has just occurred, knowing in advance how to handle the situation is important.
First, let’s discuss what you should not do.
Never apologize. When an accident occurs, some of us are so polite that we apologize without a thought. Have you ever apologized to a table you bumped into? Silly as it seems, nearly everyone has done this. It illustrates how saying “I’m sorry” becomes a knee-jerk reaction. If you apologize to anyone at the scene of a car accident, however, it may be interpreted as you taking responsibility for causing the accident. At this point, you are probably not clear on the sequence of events that led to the crash anyway.
Never comment on your physical condition, especially to say “I’m fine.” when asked if you are okay. This is another automatic response for many people—another meaningless knee-jerk response that can be turned against you. Many injuries are not immediately apparent, especially in the presence of an adrenaline surge brought on by the accident.
Do not allow an insurance company or anyone else to take a recorded statement from you. Some insurance companies rush an adjuster to the scene of an accident immediately upon hearing about it from their insured. Otherwise, the adjuster will probably call you within several days and try to get you to make a statement, sign a release for a very small amount, or provide open-ended medical record authorizations. DO NOT ENGAGE WITH THE ADJUSTER! This person’s job is to save the insurance company money by denying or low-balling your claim. You should refer any insurance company representative, theirs or yours, to your attorney.
That covers the most important do nots.
Here are the things you should do, depending of course on whether or not your injuries allow:
If you don’t feel you require an ambulance, you must still go to an emergency room, urgent care center, or your personal physician to be checked out. Be aware that things may worsen over the next few days and be prepared to return for a follow-up visit. Give a detailed description of both major and minor injuries. Small aches and pains suffered in a car accident can become serious with time, for example some brain injuries, herniated discs, complex regional pain syndrome, among others.
Call an experienced Tennessee car accident attorney. A smart choice in Chattanooga is the law firm of Wettermark Keith, a firm with a long history of impressive settlements and verdicts for clients, totaling more than 250 million dollars, with a 95 percent success rate.
The skilled, knowledgeable, and diligent lawyers at Wettermark Keith will launch an investigation of the accident, bringing in experts when needed to help prove your claim, and will handle all dealings with the insurance company to ensure that your rights are protected. We will work to see that you receive a fair amount to compensate you for the full range of your damages, including damages to your finances and to your quality of life. Not only is the initial consultation free, you will never pay anything out-of-pocket, and never pay anything at all until your recovery check arrives. In the extremely unlikely event there is no recovery, you owe us nothing. That’s how confident we are that we will succeed in winning money for you.
As Tennessee car accident attorneys, we have the opportunity to help victims of a wide range of painful and limiting injuries that occur in accidents caused by another person’s negligence. Some of these are permanent catastrophic injuries; others require medium to long-term treatment and may keep the victim out of work for weeks, with lingering pain and impairment. At the Chattanooga law firm of Wettermark Keith, we handle all types of serious auto accident injuries. These are some of the most common ones.
Motor vehicle crashes frequently cause neck and back injuries. These can affect the various tissues of the spinal region, including the following:
Damage to the spinal cord typically causes paralysis below the point of injury. Spinal cord damage in the lower back causes paraplegia, or lower body paralysis, while damage to the spinal cord in the neck causes quadriplegia, paralysis of all four limbs, often requiring the use of a respirator to assist with breathing.
Survivors of brain injuries may suffer long-term physical, psychological, and cognitive impairment. Some types of brain injuries include:
Car accidents often cause broken bones or fractures. Bones fractures are painful and can cause disability that lasts for months. They often require surgical repair. Minor fractures usually heal fairly quickly, but comminuted (displaced) fractures, hip and pelvis fractures, and fractured vertebrae are serious and, at times, fatal injuries. Fractured ribs can puncture internal organs, especially the lungs, or damage an artery. Broken bones can damage soft tissue, including nerve tissue, and can become infected, or a life-threatening blood clot may form.
More than half of those who are injured in car accidents experience some type of facial injury, including dental injuries, bruises and lacerations, and jaw, nose, or other facial bone fractures. Facial injuries can cause scarring, blindness, breathing problems, and difficulties eating and speaking when the jaw is affected.
Internal bleeding: Damage to blood vessels may result in internal bleeding, leading to pain, fatigue, thirst, dizziness, pallor, and anemia.
Abdominal aorta aneurysm: A rupture of the abdominal aorta, the largest artery in the abdominal region, usually fatal.
The internal organs can be injured by the impact of a car accident. Damage to the internal organs can cause bleeding or total destruction of the organ, which may be fatal.
Pneumothorax occurs when a fractured rib punctures the lung, which then collapses, allowing air to escape into the chest cavity.
Ruptured spleen often causes severe internal bleeding and pain. Surgery is usually required to stop the bleeding or remove the spleen if it is damaged beyond repair.
Kidney damage can be caused by an external force in a car accident and can range from bruising to total destruction of the organ.
Liver injuries make up about five percent of all traumas and are the most common type of abdominal injury.
Burn injuries are extremely painful, prone to life-threatening infections and other complications, along with severe disfigurement and psychological trauma. They can cause scars, contractures, and deformities that can cause the victim to withdraw, avoiding contact with others, limiting the victim’s ability to return to work or engage socially with others.
Car accidents can cause loss of legs, arms, hands, feet, and fingers, restricting the ability to do some types of work and inhibiting the ability to participate in enjoyed activities and hobbies. They are expensive and limiting injuries, typically requiring surgery, prostheses, and grueling long-term physical and occupational therapy. More than half of all amputees suffer from phantom limb pain, a feeling of pain that seems to originate in the missing limb.
Car accidents can result in debilitating chronic pain. Sometimes the cause is apparent, as with a herniated disc. Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a hard-to-diagnose chronic pain condition that can develop from even a minor car accident injury, beginning at the site of the injury and spreading, causing severe pain, interfering with sleep, and limiting function.
Traffic crashes can be psychologically damaging to victims. Around 30 percent of car accident victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Others experience an acute anxiety disorder (around 13 percent), clinical depression, (14 percent), and driving phobias (15 percent) of those involved in motor vehicle accidents.
At the Chattanooga, Tennessee, law firm of Wettermark Keith, we understand the extent of suffering that many car accident victims experience. When your injuries are the result of another person’s bad driving or other negligence, you have the right to recover money to compensate you for your damages, and we are here to make it happen. We have a 95 percent success rate in obtaining monetary awards, some in the multi-millions, for our clients. We offer a free consultation and a no-risk-to-you arrangement whereby you only pay us if we’ve won money for you. If you don’t recover money, you don’t pay anything. Call today!
Were you or a member of your family injured in a Tennessee car accident that someone else caused? Many deaths and injuries from traffic crashes are caused by inappropriate and dangerous driving behaviors. In these cases, a person who has been injured or the surviving family members of a person who has been killed has recourse against the person responsible for their losses and may file a civil action to recover monetary compensation. Below are some of the underlying negligent behaviors that cause car accidents to happen and people to be injured and killed.
Americans are multi-taskers, accustomed to doing several things simultaneously. Unfortunately, many take the habit of multitasking onto the road, making distracted driving the leading cause of car accidents in the nation today.
Distracted driving takes many forms. Talking on a cell phone, texting, rubbernecking, adjusting the radio, inserting a CD, setting the GPS, eating and drinking, reading, disciplining children, applying makeup, retrieving fallen objects, and conversing with passengers are just some of the many ways drivers allow themselves to become distracted behind the wheel.
Drivers using hand-held electronic devices are four times more likely to get into a car crash than those who are focused on the road. Texting increases the likelihood of a crash by 23 times. Distracted drivers may drift out of their proper lane and hit a car coming in the opposite direction, change lanes without signaling or checking their blind spot, travel the wrong way on a one-way street, run traffic lights, or fail to see cyclists or pedestrians sharing the road.
Appropriate speed limits are posted for various road conditions and need to be heeded for safe driving. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the more difficult it becomes to stop it. It is difficult to maintain control of a car at high speeds, especially when rounding a curve. Speeding is a factor in one of every three traffic accidents in the United States. Excessively fast driving is reckless driving. Speeders tend to weave in and out of traffic, cut other drivers off, ignore the rules of the road, and fail to signal or yield when appropriate.
Alcohol and drug use—including recreational, prescription, and over-the-counter medications—are incompatible with driving and cause untold suffering to victims of the many serious accidents caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Drunk driving crashes killed 10,322 people nationwide in 2012—that’s one every 51 minutes, according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In Tennessee in 2012, 295 people were killed in drunk driving accidents. MADD reports that the annual cost of alcohol-related wrecks exceeds $132 billion.
Mechanical failure causes up to 20 percent of all car accidents, according to an estimate by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Some of the mechanical problems are caused by poor maintenance by the vehicle owner, and others are the result of a defect in the manufacturing of the vehicle or one of its parts. Auto manufacturers recall numerous vehicles every year for defective parts, which are usually only discovered after people have been injured and killed. Proving negligence is not necessary if a manufacturing defect caused your accident, because the manufacturer is held strictly liable for any damage caused by a product defect.
It is nearly always to your benefit to consult an experienced personal injury attorney following a car accident. In Tennessee, you will find the quality legal assistance you need at the Chattanooga law firm of Wettermark Keith. We not only have many years of experience assisting accident victims in recovering full compensation for auto accident injuries, we have a demonstrable track record—a 95 percent success rate and $250 million in awards for our clients since 2003. We have the resources and experts available to help prove your case, identify all liable parties, and document your damages to maximize your potential recovery.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation with a dedicated car accident attorney and accept cases on contingency. That means there is no risk to you, because you never pay anything out-of-pocket and you only pay us at the resolution of your case if we recover money for you. Call us today to protect your right to recover money and hold the wrongdoer accountable for the suffering he or she has caused.
At the Chattanooga, Tennessee, law offices of Wettermark Keith, we handle all types of accidents caused by another driver or another party’s negligence. Car accidents can happen is various ways and for various reasons. Here we discuss some of the most common types of Tennessee car accidents that cause injuries and wrongful death.
Head-on collisions typically occur when one car drifts out of its proper lane into the direct path of another vehicle coming from the opposite direction. In some cases, they can happen when a driver enters a highway on the ramp going in the wrong direction or turns the wrong way onto a one-way street. Driver impairment by drugs, alcohol, distraction, or fatigue is most often the cause. Head-on collisions are the most serious type of car accidents and the most deadly. Fortunately, they are also the least common accident type. They are responsible for approximately 10 percent of all traffic fatalities, but account for only two percent of the total number of accidents, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA).
T-bone accidents, in which one vehicle strikes another broadside at around a 90-degree angle, usually occur at intersections. The two most common scenarios are a car running a red light or stop sign and slamming into the side of a car with the right of way traveling through the intersection, and a car making a left turn and failing to yield to oncoming traffic, striking the side of a car traveling in its proper lane with the right of way. T-bones are the second most deadly type of crash, comprising 13 percent of all car accidents and 18 percent of all car accidents resulting in fatalities. They kill approximately 9000 people annually.
A sideswipe is another type of side impact collision. They happen when one car hits another at a glancing angle. Sideswipes usually occur when the cars are traveling side-by-side, moving in the same direction, and one drifts sideways out of its lane and into the side of the car traveling beside it. Sometimes a sideswipe of this type happens during an intentional lane change without checking for other vehicles in the adjacent lane, or when a car attempts to merge into traffic from a ramp.
Sideswipes can also occur between two cars traveling in opposite directions when one car glances off the side of an oncoming vehicle.
Rear-end collisions are the most common of all car accident types and vary greatly in severity. While some are minor, they have the potential to cause serious injuries and, occasionally, death. They are especially likely to cause neck and back injuries, including sprains, strains, and herniated discs. Although frequent, they are the least likely accident type to cause fatalities.
Rear impact collisions are usually caused by tailgating, driving too close to the car ahead. Another common cause is a distracted driver who fails to brake in time to avoid hitting the car immediately in front. The fault is generally found to be with the driver of the car in the rear, who has not allowed enough stopping distance or has not paid attention to what is happening on the road ahead. The NHTSA states that 29.6 percent of car crashes nationwide are rear-end collisions.
A rollover accident is one that causes a car to flip onto its roof. Rollovers most frequently occur in older model SUVs and vans with a higher center of gravity, which leads to instability, especially when going around curves. They can also be caused by an impact with another vehicle. Rollovers make up 2.3 percent of all crashes and are often fatal.
If you or a member of your family has been involved in any of these or other car crash types in Tennessee, your first priority, after getting the medical care you need, is to sign on with an experienced auto accident injury attorney. In Chattanooga, the lawyers at Wettermark Keith have a record of success in car accident cases that speaks for itself, with a 95 percent win rate and a total of more than $250 million in monetary awards since 2003. Call Wettermark Keith today for a complimentary consultation to learn about your rights if you’ve been injured or if your family has lost a loved one in a fatal car crash. Time to file your claim is limited by state law, so call now to protect your right to a recovery.
When you’ve been involved in a car accident, you can be quite certain you’ll be hearing from one or more insurance companies. Some companies send an adjuster out immediately to the scene of the accident. Your initial response might be to admire their diligence in helping accident victims, but don’t be too impressed. Contrary to what many people believe (and to what the adjuster would like you to think), insurance companies are not in the business of helping people who have been injured in accidents. You may be surprised to hear that, but your understanding the goals of the insurance company can make a great difference in the amount they’ll end up paying you to compensate for your injuries.
Insurance companies are in the business of making profits.Paying on injury claims does not contribute to their profits, and therefore is something they wish to avoid. The formula is simple and logical: The more money they take as premiums and the less they pay out in claims, the greater the amount of their profits. Every time they pay a claim, their profits tick downward. So considering this, do you think an insurance adjuster is looking out for your best interests?
Whether the adjuster arrives at the accident scene, telephones, or knocks at your door, you should be prepared. Understand the adjuster’s priorities and protect your own best interests by hiring an attorney.
The adjuster will ask for your permission to record a statement about the accident. Never, ever, allow this to happen. Adjusters are well trained and have a bag of tricks that are tried and true for getting you to say something, however innocuous, that can be used against you to minimize or deny your claim.
For example, the adjuster may ask, “How are you doing today?” “Oh, I’m fine, thank you!” you reply politely, without giving it the slightest thought. But what did you do (from the insurance company’s perspective)? You just told the adjuster you’re feeling well, meaning you’re not injured. This is just one example of how the adjuster may lead a conversation to attempt to elicit a statement from you that can be turned against you when it comes to settling your case; so avoid giving a recorded statement.
The adjuster will ask you to sign medical authorizations. Sure, you will eventually need to provide authorizations, but this early in the case, there is no reason for the insurance company to have them. You are at the very beginning of what may be months of treatment. Once the extent of your injury is established, you will provide medical records or authorizations, but only when your attorney says to. And they will not be so general that the insurer can rummage around in your ancient medical history in hopes of being able to dig up something to discredit you, or more likely, something else to attempt to blame for your injury. You fell off a ladder thirty years ago and broke your toe? You must have herniated your disc then, not when the truck rear-ended you at 40 MPH, as you’re claiming. This may sound like an exaggeration, but you get the point: they don’t want to pay, and they’ll use any excuse they can dig up. Don’t make it easy for them.
The adjuster will probably tell you don’t need an attorney. “Why should you pay an attorney a percentage?” the adjuster may suggest. “I’ll get you a fair deal, and it’s all yours!” Sounds logical if you don’t realize the adjuster’s intent. Insurance companies know that they can expect to pay a lot more if you have a lawyer. Research has shown that accident victims with an experienced personal injury attorney handling their claim typically walk away with significantly more in their pocket than those who negotiate a settlement on their own.
Many serious injuries don’t become apparent until days or weeks after the accident. Early on, you have no idea how badly you’ve been injured. Get the medical treatment you need, hire a good car accident attorney, like Wettermark and Keith, LLC, in Chattanooga, and refer the insurance company to us. We will protect your interests. We have a 95 percent success rate and a history of more than $250 million in recovery awards for our clients since 2003. That record is hard to beat.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation, and let us handle the insurance adjuster. Protect your right to full and fair compensation with the experienced car accident attorneys at Wettermark Keith.