The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process in Tennessee
An experienced Nashville attorney can help you fight for compensation
People are injured in personal injury accidents every year in Nashville and throughout the state of Tennessee. If another party was responsible for causing the accident that left you injured, you have the right to seek financial compensation, which may involve filing a lawsuit. But the legal process can be complicated. It’s important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.
Attorney Eric Beasley knows the impact an injury can have on victims and their families. He also understands the obstacles that can get in the way of recovering compensation. At The Law Office of Eric Beasley, we build strong cases that insurance companies have to take seriously and fight for the results our clients need and deserve.
What is a personal injury lawsuit? It’s a filing in civil court to seek compensation for damages suffered in an accident caused by another party.
Many people have questions about the process. What do I need to do when filing a personal injury claim? How do I file a personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee?
Here are the general steps involved in filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Talk to a personal injury lawyer.
An attorney will review the details of what happened, advise you of your legal options and give you an idea of what to expect from the process. It’s important to consult an attorney as soon as possible following your injury. In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for taking legal action is just one year from the date of your accident – that’s the shortest deadline in any U.S. state. The sooner a lawyer can start work on your case, the better.
Your lawyer will start building your case.
An experienced attorney will have the resources to investigate your accident. This typically involves reviewing any accident reports or other documentation, as well as any photos or video of the accident scene. Witnesses to the accident can be interviewed about what they saw. Experts are sometimes consulted. A lawyer will also review medical records to determine the extent of your injuries.
A settlement may be discussed.
Your attorney may contact the negligent party’s insurance company about your claim. There may be a discussion about possibly reaching a settlement. In fact, most cases are settled out of court at some point in the personal injury lawsuit process. Insurance companies often want to avoid a trial. They may offer a settlement, which your attorney can discuss with you. The final decision of whether to accept a settlement offer is always up to the client.
The lawsuit is filed.
If a settlement can’t be reached, the lawsuit will move forward. Your lawyer will work on the formal documents to begin the process and file them with the appropriate court. There is a formal complaint that describes what happened and includes important facts of the case. There is also a summons, an official notification of the lawsuit for the other party. The party will also receive instructions for providing a response to the claim. The court will then set a trial date.
The discovery process begins.
In this stage, evidence is exchanged by both parties in the suit. There may be questions and answers from each side. Copies of important documents are shared. Witnesses provide sworn testimony about the accident during depositions. This process can be lengthy and may take several months. But it gives each party a look at the evidence the other side will present in court.
Settlement negotiations may continue.
As the process move closer to trial, both sides may try to negotiate a settlement to avoid court. Your lawyer will inform you of any offers made by the other party and can also offer advice. Again, the decision on whether or not to accept the offer is yours.
The trial begins.
Unless a settlement is reached, the case will move forward. The options are a jury trial, decided by a panel of jurors, or a bench trial, decided by a judge.
In court, each side will give opening statement. As you are the plaintiff, your lawyer will then present evidence and question witnesses on the stand. After your attorney has presented your case, the attorney for the other party will present their case.
Then each side will give a closing statement. If it is a jury trial, the judge will provide instructions to the jurors. Then the jury – or judge in a bench trial – will consider the evidence and reach a decision. Sometimes a decision is reached in hours. More complex cases can take days or even weeks. A settlement may still be reached at any time.
An experienced attorney can assess your claim and guide you forward
The amount of compensation you may be able to receive in a lawsuit depends on many different factors. In general, you can seek damages for current and future medical expenses related to the injuries you suffered in the accident, as well as lost wages if you were not able to work because of those injuries. You may also be able to recover compensation for pain and suffering and other damages.
If you were injured in Nashville or anywhere in the state, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Again, the statute of limitations in Tennessee for personal injury cases is just one year from the date of your accident, so you need to act fast. Learn more about how attorney Beasley can help by contacting us to schedule a free consultation.