Did you recently suffer the devastating loss of a close friend, family member, or relative in a motor vehicle wreck? Are you struggling to cope with the emotional distress of your loss? If you are ready to make the liable party pay and demand justice for your loved one, do not hesitate to turn to a skilled legal professional for help.
Reach out to an experienced South Memphis fatal car accident attorney at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC today. Schedule your free consultation and learn more about how the wrongful death claims process works, which legal options are available to you, and what your next steps should be.
What to Do After a Fatal Car Accident in South Memphis
Your fatal car accident lawyer in South Memphis, TN, at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, will help guide you through the insurance and civil claims process when you lose a loved one. However, in the aftermath of the accident, you may be confused and unsure of what to do next.
If you were at the scene of the fatal car accident, you could begin documenting the scene and collecting evidence. Take photos of traffic conditions, property damages, and the decedent’s injuries, if possible. These photos and videos will go a long way in helping accident reconstructionists prove the defendant’s liability and negligence.
Once you can contact a car accident attorney for help, you should do so immediately. Your lawyer can begin requesting copies of video surveillance of the accident caught by nearby homes and businesses, getting depositions from witnesses, and hiring forensic analysts and accident reconstructionists to start building a case against the liable party.
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How the Fatal Car Accident Claims Process Works
Your fatal car accident attorney in South Memphis, TN, is here to help your family demand justice when someone else is responsible for causing your relative’s death. Here is a general idea of what to expect once you decide to move forward with a fatal car accident claim:
Your Lawyer Investigates
First, your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation. Our investigation will look at how the car accident occurred, the parties who could be sued for damages, and whether the decedent contributed to the injuries they sustained in any way.
We Gather Evidence
During our investigation, we will obtain valuable evidence to prove the defendant’s liability and negligence. Examples of such evidence could include:
- Copies of the defendant’s chemical blood alcohol test results
- Reports from accident reconstructionists
- Police and accident reports
- Copies of the defendant’s driving history
- Copies of the defendant’s cell phone records
- Photos and videos of the collision
- Safety inspection logs and maintenance records
- Data from the vehicle’s event data recorders (EDRs)
- Testimony from expert witnesses and bystanders
We Deal with the Insurance Company
In most fatal car accident cases, you can file a claim with the liable party’s insurance provider. However, if the responsible party is not insured, this may not be an option for your case.
If the defendant does have insurance coverage, your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. However, insurance settlements often limit the types and amounts of compensation you can recover. For this reason, pursuing a wrongful death claim may be in your family’s best interests.
We Go to Trial
Filing a wrongful death action may be your next option if insurance does not cover your family’s damages in full. Your fatal car accident lawyer must determine whether you have the authority to file a wrongful death claim and identify parties who do. In court, you can seek restitution for not only your family’s losses but the decedent’s damages as well.
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Laws Impacting Your Fatal Car Accident Claim
You can expect your South Memphis fatal car accident lawyer to review the laws that could influence the outcome of your case. Some of the most notable include:
- Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence laws
- The statute of limitations for personal injury claims and wrongful death lawsuit
- Tennessee’s fault-based insurance laws
If you lose a loved one in a fatal car accident, expect the liable party to blame your deceased family member for their injuries. Defendants use this unscrupulous tactic to reduce their financial obligations. Since Tennessee follows modified comparative negligence laws at a 50% threshold, if your loved one shared liability for their damages, your settlement could be reduced proportionally.
Statute of Limitations
Your fatal car accident lawsuit and insurance claims must be filed before the expiration date. For instance, insurance companies might require claims to be filed within 30 days of the accident.
Tennessee wrongful death laws give surviving family members up to one year from the date of the decedent’s death to file. Unfortunately, failure to file your lawsuit or insurance claim before this deadline means you cannot demand justice for your family member’s death.
Tennessee Auto Insurance Laws
Since filing an auto insurance claim is one of the top ways to recover compensation after a fatal car crash, it is crucial to understand how Tennessee’s auto insurance laws work. Every motorist must purchase a minimum of $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident and $15,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident.
When you lose a family member in a fatal car crash, you file a claim with the liable driver’s insurance company. However, if your loved one’s medical expenses or property damages are more significant than the amount purchased by the policyholder, your insurance settlement could be lacking.
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Contact a Fatal Car Accident Attorney in South Memphis for Help Today
The individual or entity who caused your family member’s fatal car accident should not be able to get away with it. While the criminal justice system will handle any official charges, you can take civil action against the liable party and fight for the compensation your family is entitled to receive.
If you are ready to demand justice but do not know where to start, you have come to the right place. A compassionate and dedicated South Memphis fatal car accident attorney at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC can help you through these trying times. Please fill out our quick contact form or call our office to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.