East Tennessee is home to some of the Volunteer State’s most breathtaking scenery. Crisscrossed by winding mountain roads, Chattanooga and its surroundings are a veritable paradise for motorcycle enthusiasts nationwide. Paradise, though, isn’t without its problems. Motorcycles may be a common sight throughout the region, but accidents still happen with alarming regularity. Deprived of automobile frame protection, riders face an increased risk of serious and potentially life-altering injuries.
Even for motorcyclists with comprehensive health insurance policies and low deductibles, the costs of accident recovery accumulate quickly. Victims are often in difficult positions, forced to choose between their physical health and their financial well-being. However, you don’t have to pay the price for another driver’s misconduct. Under Tennessee state law, motorcycle accident victims have a legal right to file a claim for compensation against the person, or party, who caused their injuries.
Common Motorcycle Crash Injuries
The aftermath of a Tennessee motorcycle crash could be catastrophic, and injuries are often substantial, such as:
- Severe bruises, contusions, and road rash
- Cuts and lacerations
- Eye injuries
- Facial injuries
- Dental injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injuries
There’s also a high potential for wrongful death due to a negligent motorist’s actions.
After an accident, injured riders may be asked to pay out-of-pocket for treatment costs and physical rehabilitation. However, Tennessee state law proactively protects the rights of motorcycle crash victims, affording them the opportunity to recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
Establishing Fault After a Tennessee Motorcycle Accident
A personal injury lawsuit is a type of civil action filed against a negligent party. They’re necessary legal actions for numerous reasons, but most plaintiffs initiate claims as a matter of practical necessity. Motorcycle accidents are expensive, and insurance companies aren’t always willing to negotiate in good faith. However, if a personal injury lawsuit is successful, the victim could receive significant compensation for their losses.
Unfortunately, filing a personal injury lawsuit isn’t always a simple or straightforward undertaking. Under Tennessee state law, and in accordance with legal precedent, claimants must be able to establish the following elements of every personal injury claim:
1. Duty of Care
This is a legal theory that suggests everyone has a responsibility to act reasonably and in a way that minimizes the likelihood that their actions will result in injury, whether to themselves or a third party. Everyone has a duty of care. However, this duty is often at least somewhat situational. Motorists, for instance, have a duty to abide by state law and to operate their vehicles responsibly.
2. Breach of Duty of Care
A personal injury lawsuit can only proceed if the victim can establish that the at-fault party—the defendant—breached their duty of care by acting negligently. A defendant driver might be negligent if they were:
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
In many cases, proving that a defendant breached their duty of care can be difficult. Even if you have evidence to support your position, the at-fault motorist’s insurance company could claim that your own misconduct either caused or contributed to the accident. If the defense can successfully persuade the court that you’re even partially responsible for your injuries, an award could be reduced or eliminated.
Simply establishing that the defendant owed you a duty of care and breached it isn’t sufficient to recover damages. You must also be able to show that the at-fault driver’s breach of duty was the direct or proximal cause of your injuries.
Tennessee courts can only compensate a motorcycle rider for an accident if they sustained cognizable, or clearly identifiable, damages.
Your Potential Damages in a Volunteer State Personal Injury Claim
The Volunteer State broadly recognizes three categories of damages:
- Economic damages. This refers to compensation for verifiable financial losses. These damages could include payment for medical bills, physical rehabilitation, or lost income from work.
- Non-economic damages. These cover intangible injuries and losses. These damages could include payment for emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, or loss of enjoyment.
- Punitive damages. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages aren’t compensatory. Instead, a judge may award them as an intention to punish an especially egregious act of negligence.
However, assessing damages—especially non-economic damages—is often challenging. Tennessee courts typically expect that personal injury plaintiffs adhere to special formulas when calculating requests for compensation. Any mistake, no matter how minor, could delay proceedings, making it more difficult to obtain a fair settlement.
Weir & Kestner Injury Lawyers have spent years aggressively fighting for the rights of Chattanooga-area motorcycle crash victims. We review your medical records, determine your long-term care needs, and present a compelling claim for recompense. Depending on the circumstances of your Tennessee motorcycle crash, we could help secure motorcycle accident damages for the following:
- Your past, present, and anticipated medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Reconstructive surgery
- Disability-related home modifications
- Lost income from work
- Diminished earning potential
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Wrongful death
How Skilled Chattanooga Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Fight for Your Rights
Far too many motorcycle accident victims are easy prey for insurers—companies that are motivated by profit and seize almost any excuse to minimize a survivor’s claim for benefits.While negotiating a fair settlement could seem like an insurmountable challenge, you don’t have to accept bad-faith negotiation in lieu of a fair recovery. Before founding Weir & Kestner Injury Lawyers in 2009, Tony Kestner and Joe Weir represented big insurance companies. We know adjusters’ strategies and tactics—and how to fight back.