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Nashville Car Accidents
Nashville has always been a popular destination for country music lovers, but as more permanent residents flock to Music City, it is turning into a boom town.
Tens of thousands of people are moving to middle Tennessee each year. With more residents comes more traffic, and with more traffic comes more crashes. Nashville now experiences more than 35,000 traffic accidents per year. Over the last decade, the number of car crashes in Nashville has increased by roughly one-third.
Nashville’s growing traffic problem was a factor in the creation of the new Nashville Department of Transportation & Multimodal Infrastructure (NDOT), aimed at improving transportation challenges across the city. Along with Middle Tennessee Connected, a long term plan of the Nashville Metropolitan Planning Organization, there are big plans in the works to make Nashville safer for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
Changes are coming to Nashville, but some things never change. As long as car accidents happen, you can count on the attorneys at Morgan & Morgan to provide the help you need to get back on your feet. Our Nashville car accident law firm is backed by the strength and resources of America’s largest injury firm. We offer free consultations, and as a client, you don’t pay a dime unless we succeed for you. Call or contact us to start your no-cost, no-obligation case review.
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How Many Car Accidents Are There in Nashville Every Year?
Davidson County, home to Nashville, is the second most populous county in Tennessee, but it is the worst county for crashes, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security.
Davidson County has the highest overall crash rate, highest injury crash rate, highest speeding crash rate, and the highest crash rates among young drivers and senior drivers. Over a recent five-year period, Davidson County averaged around 33,000 car crashes per year, resulting in approximately 9,000 car accident injuries annually.
Most of the crashes in Davidson County are attributable to Nashville. News 4 Nashville reports that in a single recent year, car accidents in Nashville jumped by 8.5 percent to nearly 37,000. More worrying, this crash increase does not appear to be solely attributable to the city’s population increase. Nashville car crashes have spiked at a rate more than ten times higher than the city’s population growth. In 2013, Nashville saw fewer than 25,000 crashes.
Nashville’s streets have never been more congested. The city is now rated as one of the worst cities in the country for traffic. Traffic slows down commute times and costs Nashville residents money due to lost productivity. It can also cost them money if they’re involved in a car accident.
Officials say there simply aren’t enough roads for all of Nashville’s cars. A 25-year, $8.6 billion city infrastructure plan hopes to deal with the congestion problem by building more public transport, commuter rail systems, biking and walking paths, and upgrading the city’s outdated interstate infrastructure, which includes interstate highways I-40, I-24, and I-65.
Snarled interstate traffic increases the number of trucking accidents as well. As a transportation hub where three major interstates converge, Nashville sees a large number of tractor trailer accidents, with many occurring on Interstate 40 and Interstate 24 in and around the city.
Who Could Be at Fault for a Car Accident?
Most car accidents are complicated events that have numerous contributing factors. Getting to the bottom of what happened forms the crux of an auto accident claim. More often than not, the case isn’t black and white. There can be two—or more—sides to the story, with conflicting reports of which driver did what and who caused the crash.
Although a law enforcement officer at the accident scene may take statements and fill out a report that indicates fault, the police report is just one piece of evidence among many. The insurance companies will investigate the crash and draw their own conclusions about fault.
But motorists should understand that you never have to accept the insurance company’s decision as final. If you think they’re in error, it is your right to dispute their decision. If you think they’re offering you a lowball settlement, you can demand a fair amount. And if you’re still unable to resolve your insurance claim, the next step might be filing a car accident lawsuit.
The type of crash you were involved in plays a big part in determining who you can file a lawsuit against. Every accident must be investigated and resolved based on the facts of that specific case, but car crashes tend to have common causes.
When you say that somebody is at fault for an accident, in legal terms, it means that they were negligent, or not acting with reasonable care while driving. Negligence behind the wheel includes actions such as running a red light, running a stop sign, speeding, and texting while driving. The State of Tennessee keeps track of driver actions that contribute to traffic accidents. According to official data, the leading driver factors that lead to crashes include:
- Driver distractions: Davidson County had more than 25,000 distracted driver crashes from 2010 to 2021.
- Alcohol: From 2010 to 2021, there were roughly 8,500 known alcohol-related crashes in Davidson County.
State data also shows that these factors commonly contribute to crashes:
- Failure to stay in the proper lane
- Failure to obey traffic controls
- Failure to yield right of way
- Following too closely
- Improper lane change
- Improper turn
Truck Drivers/Trucking Companies
Large truck crashes have increased substantially in Tennessee over the last few years. Statewide, large trucks were involved in 194 fatal TN crashes in 2020—a nearly 75% increase compared to 2016.
In truck accident lawsuits, the truck driver or the trucking company—or in many cases, both the driver and company—are alleged to be at fault. Even when it seems obvious that a truck driver was negligent, the company the driver works for may ultimately bear blame. For example, the driver may have exceeded federal driving hour limits, but the trucking company might have set impossible deadlines that encouraged rule-breaking. Or a driver may not be properly trained and licensed because the company that hired them did not take the proper hiring precautions.
Examples of negligence specific to trucking accidents can include:
- Overloaded trucks
- Truck drivers who fail to take required rest breaks
- Improperly maintained trucks
- Failure to stop at weigh stations
- Driver inexperience
Trucking firms have insurance policies with higher limits than regular motorist policies. Most 18-wheelers carry at least $1 million in liability coverage. However, truck accident injuries are often more serious than car accident injuries, and $1 million may not be enough.
After a truck accident, numerous parties may be identified as potentially negligent, including not only the truck driver and the truck company, but also mechanics, cargo loaders, and parts manufacturers. A truck accident should be investigated promptly to make sure that critical evidence, like driver logs, are preserved.
“It wasn’t me, it was my car’s fault.”
This excuse might sound like the car accident equivalent of “the dog ate my homework.” But there may be truth to it. Drivers can only control so much. They can’t control defective parts that do not work the way they are meant to work. Motor vehicle recalls are extremely common. Auto makers continually issue notices informing their customers about defects.
Although not all defects can cause a crash, many are extremely dangerous. Something as simple as a faulty windshield wiper can disrupt visibility and lead to a collision. A rearview camera could malfunction. Tesla’s Autopilot could fail to work. Unintended acceleration could occur from a design flaw. Faulty tires could fail while the vehicle is in motion. What’s worse, manufacturers don’t always own up to the problem until there are injuries and deaths—and legal action.
Taking on a big company requires a big law firm. Morgan & Morgan’s product liability attorneys have a strong track record of holding negligent companies accountable for defective products.
How Much Compensation Can I Recover for a Car Accident?
Everyone wants to know, “What’s my case worth?” It’s a completely valid question. You’re hurt. You want answers. More importantly, you want every bit of compensation you’re entitled to.
We can’t say how much you, or any car accident victim, can recover without taking a deep dive into the specifics of the case. What we can tell you is that victims typically are eligible for certain types of compensation, including compensation that covers:
- Medical Bills: All your medical expenses—past, present, and future—should be covered by a car accident settlement, as long as those expenses are related to injuries you suffered in the accident. You can plan on reimbursement for any hospital stays, medications, in-home care aids, physical therapy, surgeries, specialist treatment, and other ongoing care that you require.
- Lost Wages and Income: Like medical expenses, your attorney may be able to get you compensated for both past and future lost wages if your injuries force you to miss work time. You can be compensated for the time you missed, and possibly get compensation for reduced earning capacity if you are unable to return to your previous job duties.
- Pain and Suffering: Car crash injuries can cause physical pain as well as emotional suffering. These types of losses can be more difficult to prove, since they are more subjective than monetary losses, but they are every bit as legitimate as hospital bills and lost income. Usually, the worse your injuries, the more pain and suffering compensation you can recover.
To get a better idea of the amount of compensation that may be available in a car accident settlement, consider the following questions:
- How long was your hospital stay?
- Do you have an extended rehabilitation period?
- Do you now require assistance to do the things you once did?
- Did you miss an extended period of time from work?
- Is your quality of life diminished post-accident?
- Do you have ongoing pain and/or psychological trauma?
The best way to get an accurate case evaluation is to speak with a Nashville car accident attorney at Morgan & Morgan.
How Does Car Insurance Work in Tennessee?
Tennessee has a Financial Responsibility Law that requires every driver to carry automobile insurance in the following minimum amounts:
- $25,000 per injury/death for each accident
- $50,000 for all injuries/deaths for each accident
- $15,000 for property damage for each accident
Tennessee drivers must provide proof that they carry the minimum amount of insurance required by law. Failure to carry the required minimum insurance can lead to fines and loss of vehicle registration. And if you are found to be at fault for an accident while uninsured—or if the damages exceed your insurance limits—you may be personally responsible for any losses.
Because Tennessee is an at-fault accident state, every driver is responsible for the damages they cause to others’ body and property. In other words, if you cause an accident with another driver, that driver will seek compensation from your insurance policy. Likewise, if another driver hits you, you’ll make a claim with their insurance.
The majority of states are at-fault insurance states, but a number are no-fault insurance states. Tennessee borders two states that use no-fault insurance: Arkansas and Kentucky. When a Tennessean carrying at-fault insurance gets in a wreck in a no-fault state, the resulting claim can be more complicated and should be discussed with an attorney.
If you live in Nashville and need help with a car accident that occurred out of state, Morgan & Morgan has you covered. We have offices all over the South, including Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Missouri. No matter where you live, a car accident lawyer from Morgan & Morgan can help.
What Happens if I’m Partially at Fault for a Nashville Car Wreck?
Even if you’re partly to blame for a car crash in Nashville, you can still recover money—as long as your share of the fault is less than 50%. If your negligence is 50% or greater, you may not recover compensation from the other party.
In addition to the legal concept of negligence—a term that essentially means “carelessness”—there is the concept of comparative negligence or comparative fault. Comparative fault means that fault is shared between two or more parties.
Here’s an example of how the principle of comparative negligence might play out with regard to car wreck damages:
- Driver A is speeding and crashes into Driver B.
- Driver A makes an insurance claim against Driver B.
- Upon further investigation, it turns out that Driver B was distracted and veered into the lane of Driver A.
- The insurance company decides that their driver (Driver B) was 70% at fault and Driver A was 30% responsible.
So what happens in this scenario, where fault lies with Driver A and Driver B? Tennessee law still allows Driver A to recover insurance money from Driver B. But since Driver A was 30% at fault, their award is reduced by 30%. Let’s say that the insurance settlement was worth $10,000. Driver A receives only $7,000, or 70% of $10,000.
Suppose that Driver B was 100% at-fault. Then, Driver A would receive the entire $10,000. But now suppose that Driver A was found to be 50% at fault. Under the state’s comparative fault law, Driver A would not be allowed to recover money from Driver B, because their fault was 50% or greater.
Comparative negligence comes into play regardless of the number of parties involved. It could be two drivers, three drivers, or more. Regardless, fault is assigned to each party in an amount that adds up to 100%. Comparative fault is used by the courts (i.e., a car accident lawsuit) as well insurance companies.
A final point to keep in mind about comparative negligence is that the insurance company can use it to avoid paying you, either in part or in full. This insurance company trick may not hold up to scrutiny, though. If you believe that the insurance company is unfairly blaming the accident on you, it may be time to get Morgan & Morgan on your side.
How Long Do I Have to File a Nashville Car Accident Lawsuit?
Not very long, at least compared to most other states. The Tennessee statute of limitations is one year. That means you have just twelve months from the date you suffered car accident injuries to initiate a lawsuit.
You may be wondering why you would even need a year to decide on filing a lawsuit. After all, wouldn’t you know rather quickly whether or not a lawsuit is required? Most of the time, yes. But not all the time.
Remember that car accident claims start as insurance claims. Insurance claims typically escalate to lawsuits only if the insurance company does not satisfactorily settle your claim. As long as the insurance company plays nice, and pays you a fair amount in a timely manner, a lawsuit shouldn’t be necessary.
Assuming there are no major disagreements, most insurance claims take about a month or two to settle. They can take longer when there’s a dispute about fault, or back-and-forth negotiations between you and the insurance company.
Claims can also take longer to settle when injuries are severe. There’s a concept called Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) which refers to the point at which an injured party has recovered completely—or as completely as possible—from an accident. You don’t want to close the claims process until you reach MMI and have a full accounting of your injury expenses. This can take many months when injuries are severe, causing the claims process to drag out.
It never hurts to talk to a car wreck attorney about your claim. The advice you receive could make the difference between receiving maximum compensation and leaving money on the table. If you’re coming up on a year since your accident and want to know if a lawsuit might make sense, reach out to our Nashville firm.
When Should You Contact a Car Accident Attorney?
Only you can decide when the time is right to contact a car accident attorney at Morgan & Morgan. Not every case requires a lawyer, but here are situations where it might be helpful to talk to one:
- You are severely injured: A minor fender-bender that only results in minor damage to your vehicle likely won’t require an attorney. Severe injuries are a different story. They can jeopardize your quality of life and ability to earn a living for months, years, and potentially forever. Figuring out future damages, such as future medical bills and future lost earnings, is a very complicated process that requires the advice of doctors and other experts. This is where hiring an experienced car accident law firm can make a huge difference. You only get one chance at recovering full compensation. Make it count.
- The insurance company isn’t treating you fairly: You do not have to accept the first settlement offer the insurance company makes you. Or the second offer. Or the third offer. Or any offer. Negotiations with the insurance company aren’t uncommon. You might have sent them your own figures explaining why their offer is low. However, negotiations can hit a brick wall. At that point, you have a couple of options. You can contact your state insurance department. You can also contact an independent arbitrator to hear your case. Another option is to contact a lawyer. Unlike an attorney, an arbitrator can’t file a lawsuit on your behalf. And sometimes, a lawsuit is the only way to really get the insurance company’s attention.
- You have questions: The insurance claims process can seem overwhelming. Even when things go smoothly, you have to deal with the paperwork and the calls with the insurance company. When things don’t go smoothly, you could be looking at a denied claim or a settlement offer that is significantly less than what you were expecting. Insurance companies don’t always make things easy for claimants. The more you’re in the dark about how the claims process works, the less likely you are to advocate for your rights. It is your right to contact a car wreck lawyer at any time in the claims process.
Morgan & Morgan offers free case reviews. During a call, a lawyer will explain how we can help with a car accident. We’ll also let you know if you can probably resolve your case on your own. You have nothing to lose by talking to a lawyer. Reach out and get the information you need to move ahead confidently with your claim.
Can I Afford to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Everyone should be able to afford an excellent attorney. That’s why, at Morgan & Morgan, the fee is free unless we win.
Let’s face it. Justice isn’t always blind. We’re constantly hearing about big companies getting away with a slap on the wrist when they put profits ahead of people. They can afford to hire an army of corporate attorneys to protect them from the worst consequences of their actions. This isn’t fair, but it’s a reality of a system where there is one set of rules for the powerful and another set of rules for ordinary people.
Morgan & Morgan has fought For the People, against the powerful, for more than 30 years. It’s not just a slogan. It’s who we are. We’ve built an army of trial attorneys capable of taking on the high-priced attorneys that defend corporations. We try more cases than any other law firm in the country. Insurance companies know that if they mistreat our clients, we’ll see them in court. We don’t shy away from the fight. We welcome it.
You can afford to hire a car accident lawyer when that lawyer works for Morgan & Morgan. You’ll never pay any upfront legal fees and you won’t pay any legal fees, period, if we don’t successfully resolve your case.
What Nashville Neighborhoods Does Morgan & Morgan Serve?
Contact Our Nashville Office
Size matters, results matter, and experience matters. We’re America’s largest injury law firm, with more than 800 attorneys, $10 billion recovered for our clients, and 30+ years of experience. Last year alone, we successfully resolved more than 70,000 cases. Every day, thousands of people call us for help.
Morgan & Morgan gives you the experience of a local law office backed by the strength and resources of a national law firm. Our Nashville office is located in the heart of the city, just blocks from the Music City Center, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Frist Art Museum.
There are many car accident law firms in Nashville, but there’s only one Morgan & Morgan. Call or contact us to start your free, no-risk case evaluation.