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Car Accidents on I-40 in Tennessee

Offered by Law Office of Eric Beasley

Experienced attorneys explain why highway accidents happen in Tennessee

Tennessee has its share of dangerous highways. In particular, the stretch of I-40 in Shelby County, TN is one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the country.

After a car accident on I-40 or another highway in Tennessee caused by another driver, you can pursue financial compensation for your accident-related expenses. That’s why it’s critical that you understand your rights and how the legal system works in Tennessee.

How common are accidents on Interstate 40 in Tennessee?

A car accident happens every 2 minutes and 37 seconds on average in Tennessee, according to statistics compiled by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT).

In total, there are 200,660 motor vehicle accidents on average each year in Tennessee, resulting in an average of 1,094 fatalities and 48,017 injuries. Many of those accidents occur on major highways, including I-40.

Built in 1958, Interstate 40 runs 454 miles east to west across Tennessee, passing through Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and many other communities. Parts of I-40 in Tennessee are among the most dangerous stretches of highway in the country.

According to a recent study conducted by Value Penguin, there were 37 fatalities during the most recent five-year period on the 28.9-mile-long stretch of I-40 in Shelby County, which includes Memphis. In total, I-40 had 273 fatalities in 233 fatal crashes, making it the 14th most dangerous road in the United States.

What are other dangerous highways in Tennessee?

Along with I-40, there are several other interstates and highways where accidents often occur in the Volunteer State, including Interstate 24. The Shelby County stretch of I-24 had 35 fatalities during the most recent five-year period. Overall, I-24 in Tennessee is the 51st most dangerous road in the country, according to Value Penguin.

Accidents also often occur on U.S. Route 129 in Tennessee, a 52.8-mile-long stretch of highway that passes through Knoxville and many other cities. Nicknamed “The Tail Of The Dragon,” an 11-mile-long stretch of Route 129 has 318 turns, making it an often dangerous road.

Other major interstate highways in Tennessee include:

  • I-26 (which runs 54 miles north to south through Johnson City, Kingsport and other cities)
  • I-55 (which runs 12 miles through downtown Memphis)
  • I-65 (which runs 121 miles north to south through Nashville and many other cities)
  • I-75 (which runs 161 miles north to south through Chattanooga and Knoxville)
  • I-81 (which runs 75 miles north to south through Morristown, Kingsport and other cities)

Accidents can happen at any time on any of these interstates. And when they do, injury victims need to take action right away. This includes:

  • Call the police and ask them to investigate your crash. The Tennessee Highway Patrol investigates most interstate accidents.
  • Seek immediate medical care. Your health should be your priority. If necessary, get emergency medical treatment at the nearest emergency room hospital.
  • Talk to a Tennessee car accident lawyer right away to learn more about your rights.

Why do highway accidents happen?

Highway accidents usually occur because one driver was doing something they should not have been doing behind the wheel. In many cases, that means the driver was behaving in a reckless or negligent manner.

Specific reasons why collisions happen on highways include:

  • Excessive speeding or going too fast, especially during hazardous weather conditions such as snow, sleet or freezing rain.
  • Reckless driving, including weaving in and out of traffic, passing without warning, tailgating or driving too close to other drivers.
  • Distracted driving, including texting while driving, talking on a cellphone or looking up directions on a GPS.
  • Falling asleep at the wheel, which often occurs at night on highways.
  • Driving the wrong way on the highway, often because a tired or confused driver enters the offramp of a highway at night and drives straight into on-coming traffic.

There’s no room for error on a highway. Everything happens fast. Drivers need to react quickly. When they don’t, serious injuries and collisions often occur.

Who pays for my accident-related expenses?

Tennessee has an “at-fault” car insurance system. This means the at-fault party is responsible for paying for injury victims’ accident-related expenses. As a result, if you’re injured in a highway accident caused by another driver, you should not have to pay for your accident expenses.

So who actually pays for your accident? While the at-fault party is officially the driver who caused your crash, it’s the at-fault driver’s insurance company that normally pays for your injury-related expenses.

This might sound straightforward. But in reality, many accident claims often turn out to be complicated legal cases. That’s because the other driver’s insurance company will often do everything they can to pay you as little as possible or nothing at all.

How much is my accident claim worth?

The answer is quite simple. Your claim should be worth at least as much as how much your accident financially affects you. That includes short-term expenses immediately after your accident, such as emergency medical care, but that’s just the start. You should also be compensated for all long-term expenses, even medical treatment or services that occur years after your accident. As long as it’s related to your accident, you should receive money for it. This includes:

  • Emergency surgery and other emergency medical treatment.
  • Follow-up doctor’s appointments to monitor your progress.
  • Physical therapy for chronic pain or mobility issues.
  • Follow-up surgery, especially if you have long-term medical issues due to your accident.
  • Replacement income while you’re recovering from your injury.
  • Lost income if you cannot work in the future due to a permanent disability.
  • The cost of repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle.

All these expenses and loss of income need to be taken into account when determining the value of your injury claim. In some cases, injury claims turn out to be worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. That’s why it’s important to understand how much you may be entitled to receive for your accident. An experienced attorney can help provide an accurate estimate and work with you to help you get the money you deserve.

Why should I hire a Tennessee car accident attorney?

You might think you don’t need a lawyer if another driver clearly caused your accident on I-40 or another major highway in Tennessee. All you have to do is call the police, get medical care and your bills will get paid.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. The other driver’s insurance company will often do everything they can to reduce or deny your claim rather than simply paying you what you deserve. This is because many highway accident claims turn out to be very expensive.

When you have an experienced Tennessee car accident lawyer representing you, insurance companies take notice. Your lawyer will likely conduct an in-depth investigation, including carefully reviewing your official Tennessee car accident report.

After your lawyer presents evidence in support of your case to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, many agree to cooperate and make a fair settlement offer. If they don’t and refuse to negotiate in good faith, your attorney can file a lawsuit and take legal action on your behalf.

Keep in mind that Tennessee has very tight deadlines when it comes to filing a lawsuit after a car accident. In most cases, you only have one year from the date of your accident to take legal action. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. If you miss that deadline, you could miss out on your only opportunity to get the money you deserve.

Learn more about how a Tennessee car accident attorney can help you after your I-40 highway accident. Contact a law firm familiar with Interstate 40 and the other major highways located throughout Tennessee, including I-24, I-65 and I-75. Most lawyers who handle car accident claims offer a free case evaluation. Contact one near you.

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