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Joe DeGaetano

Trucking accident Attorney at Chattanooga, TN

4.8   5 reviews

also known as Joseph Gaspar DeGaetano

  • State Years
    Tennessee - TN 22 years
    Georgia - GA 23 years
  • Licensed for 22 years
    State TN
    Acquired 2001
    Active No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 23 years
    State GA
    Acquired 2000
    Inactive Member in Good Standing No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Joe

Learn Joe’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Car accident
    I represent people who have been injured in auto accidents ("car wrecks") in Tennessee and Georgia, particularly in the Chattanooga area. In most injury cases, I first give the insurance company a chance to settle the claim without filing a lawsuit. When the insurance company is not willing to pay what the claim is worth, I I file and prosecute a lawsuit in order to help my clients recover all the money to which they are entitled under the law.

    22 years

  2. Personal injury
    In addition to representing victims of car and truck accidents, including victims of drunk driving, I also represent people injured in other ways, such as people who slip or trip and fall at a restaurant or other public place, or people who are injured by dangerous products.

    22 years

  3. Trucking accident
    Tractor-trailer or "semi" accident cases are not just car wreck cases with larger vehicles. There are numerous federal and state laws and regulations that apply to commercial trucks and truck drivers. Also, trucking companies often handle their accident claims different than auto insurance companies. Having represented a large interstate trucking company, I am familiar with truck wreck claims.

    22 years

  4. Wrongful death
    Wrongful death lawyers handle cases where someone is killed, whether the person who caused the death meant to do it or not. If a loved one dies because of someone else's actions, a wrongful death lawyer can help you understand what happened, who is responsible, whether you deserve any compensation for losing your loved one, and whether anyone should be charged with a crime.

    22 years

I am a Chattanooga trial lawyer representing clients in personal injury and insurance disputes throughout Tennessee and Georgia. Although I've had great success obtaining millions of dollars in settlements for my clients, I am not afraid to go to trial, where I have won multi-million-dollar jury verdicts, including one in excess of $10 million. 

I know that each client expects and deserves my full effort and attention, and I therefore will remain available and personally accessible to each of my clients.  

I do not employ junior lawyers, paralegals, or secretaries.  I handle every aspect of your case myself.  If you are my client, you will have my cell phone number, and I will be happy to take your call--days, nights, or weekends.

Professional Experience

  • Before entering private practice, I served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Phyllis A. Kravitch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which decides federal appeals from Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. The U.S. Court of Appeals is the court of last resort for all but the tiny percentage of federal litigants who are granted review by the United States Supreme Court.
  • Following my service with the United States Court of Appeals, I practiced for a number of years with the 100-lawyer Nashville law firm of Boult, Cummings, Conners & Berry, and later was that firm's first and only attorney based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  At Boult, I had the good fortune of being trained as a personal injury attorney by three of the best trial lawyers in Tennessee, and I remain of counsel to their firm.  Then, after a successful tenure with one of the top personal injury firms in Chattanooga, I decided to start my own practice so that I could spend more time with fewer clients.  Top-quality representation and personal accessibility matter more to me than a huge caseload.


  • I received my law degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Georgia in 2000. I was a member of the Order of the Coif and The Georgia Law Review, and received the highest grades in my class (A+) in the subjects of Torts, Civil Procedure, and Criminal Law. Torts and Civil Procedure are two of the main bodies of law governing personal injury claims and lawsuits.
  • My overall grade-point-average at the University of Georgia School of Law earned me the rank of 2nd in a class of more than 220 students.
  • In 1996, I graduated from Vanderbilt University, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics.

Licenses and Memberships

  • Licensed to practice law in all state courts in Tennessee and Georgia.
  • Admitted to United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
  • Admitted to United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
  • Admitted to United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
  • Chairman - Executive Council, Tennessee Bar Association Tort & Insurance Practice Section, 2011-2012.
  • Member, Tennessee Bar Association, Chattanooga Bar Association, and State Bar of Georgia.

Photos and videos

Contact Joe

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DeGaetano Law Firm
50 Frazier Avenue
Suite 300
Chattanooga, TN, 37405


4.8 / 5.0
  5 customer reviews
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1 Star
Posted by Rod | March 1, 2012
Very Professional and Reasonable Fees
Admittedly, personal injury attorney's have some of the lowest credibility and professionalism scores of any category of professionals. If more personal injury attorneys were more like Joe, this would not be true. Several months ago my wife was injured in a boating accident, and once it was clear that responsible party's insurance company was not going to do the right thing, we decided we needed to retain an attorney. We dreaded trying to select an attorney because of some other incidents we have had over the years with attorneys. We cast about on the Internet and found this website to obtain feedback on attorneys. Based upon reviews here on AVVO, we selected two attorneys to present our situation to. Both made appointments to meet with us very quickly, but in those interviews, we were much more impressed by Joe. He did not pander, over-dramatize, or over-promise, while also impressing us with his knowledge and intelligence. Once we retained him, he worked very efficiently, quickly, and proficiently to move forward. We engaged the insurance company two times within the first month, and each time they barely gave us the time of day. We then proceeded to file a Federal lawsuit. Upon doing this, the insurance company offered to settle within two weeks. From everyone that we spoke with, this seemed to be a highly unusual behavior on the part of the insurance company. Generally once an insurance company has decided to deny the claim, they will usually go through with discovery at a minimum. We are convinced that part of the reason they chose to settle when they did was that Joe effectively applied maximum pressure to them. Once the insurance company cut the check, Joe tackled my wife's employee insurance company that had covered most of the medical expenses following the accident, and successfully negotiated with them to significantly reduce their claim on the settlement, which really helped us because had they insisted on being fully reimbursed, there would not have been much money left to compensate my wife. And to top it off, Joe agreed to perform his services for us at significantly less than the going rate, and less than the other attorney quoted to us. It is unusual do get high quality service for less than typical fees. Joe was aware that the insurance settlement would not fully make us whole, so he was quite conservative in what he asked for in return. I believe one of the reasons that he can afford to work for more reasonable fees than some attorneys is that, as far as we know, he has no employees. He answers his own phone and Emails, and does his own research and filings. This means that everything is handled promptly in a very professional manner. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND JOE DEGAETANO
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Posted by anonymous | July 30, 2009
Carolyn Coleman
Joe was very professional & kept my best interest in mind. Not familiar with the legal system, Joe kept me informed & guided me all the way. He always took my calls & would respond to my email's quicklly. I would most definatly refer him . I would like to take this oportunity to thank him.
Posted by anonymous | July 17, 2009
a wonderful ending
Mr. DeGaetano took my case when several other attorneys declined. The other attornies said they did not want to spend their money when we probably would lose anyway. The Co. the suite was against has very deep pockets and the and the wherewithall to drag it out for years. Joseph took my caSE IMM. AND HE GOT RIGHT DOWN TO BUSINESS! lONG STORY SHORTENED, if I EVER NEEDED REPRESENTATION again I would use Joseph DeGaetano and no one else!! Joseph cares when others dont . Dont get me wrong, he does care but he also has the ability to take command of the court room. I learned an awful lot about the law through Joseph and he was a master of the mediation. Joseph DeGaetano was the answer to my problems and through him my dreams were answered . I am very thankful that he came into my life.I dont see how anyone else could do any better. v.m.
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Posted by anonymous | July 16, 2009
my experience with Joseph DeGaetano as representing Attorney
My experiance with Joseph was a learning one. Mister DeGaetano left no stone unturned. He makes the term "multitasking' obsolete . I had a very hard time finding someone who would take the time to even consider representing me once they heard WHO I intended to take on in the court room. Joseph did everything that needed to be done, he asked nothing of me but honesty, "and a lot of questions".I think that Joseph DeGaetano is the one in a million who is who is head and shoulders above the rest. If I ever have the need of an attorney in the future I will ask him to represent me. Joseph has just the right combination of heart and and determination. I know that he will do his very best at whatever he undertakes.Thank you Joseph for making what was a very scary situation become a complete success. My dreams have all come true and Joseph is the one who worked to be sure that they did! I learned a lot about the law prosess, it was really quite fun. I left his offices completly satisfied I rather enjoyed the whole process. Again, thank you Joseph!!! vm
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Posted by anonymous | July 16, 2009
Review of Attorney
Joe is a fine attorney to work with as his client.


  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
  • Contingency 25%-33%


AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • DeGaetano Law Firm
  • 2009 - Present
  • Attorney
  • Law Offices of Morgan Adams
  • 2007 - 2009
  • Associate and Special Counsel
  • Boult, Cummings, Conners & Berry
  • 2001 - 2007
  • Judicial Law Clerk
  • United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
  • 2000 - 2001
  • Software Developer
  • CSC Consulting & Systems Integration
  • 1996 - 1997
View all work experience


  • University of Georgia School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 2000
  • Vanderbilt University
  • BS - Bachelor of Science
  • 1996

Legal Cases

  • Holcomb v. Cagle
  • Won summary judgment; affirmed on appeal.
  • Maddy v. [National Restaurant Chain]
  • $10 Million jury verdict.


  • Tennessee Bar Association, Tort and Insurance Law Section
  • Chairman
  • 2011 - Present
  • Tennessee Bar Association, Tort and Insurance Law Section
  • Executive Committee
  • 2007 - Present
  • Chattanooga Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2005 - Present
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2001 - Present
  • Tennessee Association for Justice (formerly Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association)
  • Member
  • 2001 - Present
  • American Association for Justice (formerly Association of Trial Lawyers of America)
  • Member
  • 2001 - Present
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • Member
  • 2001 - Present
  • United States District Court For The Eastern District of Tennessee
  • Member
  • 2001 - Present
  • United Staes District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
  • Member
  • 2001 - Present
  • Georgia State Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2000 - Present
  • Tennessee Bar Association, Tort and Insurance Law Section
  • Vice-Chair
  • 2010 - 2011
  • Nashville Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2001 - 2005
  • Alpha Tau Omega
  • President
  • 1995 - 1996
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Pro Bono Award
  • Legal Aid of East Tennessee
  • 2006
  • Order of the Coif
  • University of Georgia School of Law
  • 2000
  • Torts Award: Highest Grade (A+)
  • West Publishing
  • 1998
  • Civil Procedure Award: Highest Grade (A+)
  • West Publishing
  • 1998
  • Criminal Law Award: Highest Grade (A+)
  • West Publishing
  • 1998
View all awards


  • Georgia Law Review
  • Note, "The Need for a Clearer Definition of ‘Affiliate’ in Rule 144 Under the Securities Act of 1933: An Economic Argument"
  • 1999

Speaking Engagements

  • TBA Tort & Insurance Practice Section Uninsured Motorist Seminar
  • Introduction of Speakers and Agenda regarding Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • 2010
  • Court Square Series - Dickson, TN
  • Liquor Liability
  • 2010
  • Court Square Series - Columbia, TN
  • Liquor Liability
  • 2010
  • Court Square Series - Cleveland, TN
  • Liquor Liability
  • 2010
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (11)
Given (12)
Endorse Joe
Personal injury Attorney | Aug 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Joe is a respected lawyer In the Chattanooga area. I endorse this lawyer without hesitation."
Personal injury Attorney | Jun 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Joseph. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community."
Personal injury Attorney | May 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Joe served as a panel arbitrator in the local bar association's fee dispute arbitration program which I chaired. He and I also jointly ran for public election in Fall 2012 for local county Sessions Court Judge. Joe has that rarest of combinations in personal demeanor in being simultaneously personable, keenly intelligent, consummately professional, open, friendly, caring, attentive, focused, objective, competitive while unscrupulously respectful, and unquestionably ethical. Anyone choosing his representation would place themselves in careful and good hands."
Personal injury Attorney | Mar 30
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Joe DeGaetano is a strong advocate for his clients. He is dedicated, intelligent, and hard-working. I am happy to endorse him."
Personal injury Attorney | Jul 24
Relationship: Other
"Joe and I have served together for several years on the state bar association's Torts and Insurance Practice Section leadership. Joe is smart, dedicated and well spoken. His clients are well served by having Joe as their lawyer."
Personal injury Attorney | Aug 11
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Joe is an excellent lawyer. I highly recommend him for any complex personal injury case."
Litigation Attorney | May 26
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Joe is one of the smartest lawyers I know. Although he was recruited by many powerful defense firms, he turned down defense work in order to help people get the justice they deserve. I would refer my own family and friends to Joe, and I am happy to endorse his work."
General practice Attorney | Mar 24
Relationship: Friend
"I endorse this lawyer's work."
Personal injury Attorney | Mar 15
Relationship: Friend
"I endorse this lawyer's work."
Personal injury Attorney | Mar 15
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Joe is an excellent attorney and works diligently for his clients. He works hard to ensure his clients get the best outcomes."
Car accident Attorney | Mar 13
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work. I have known this lawyer for over 15 years."
View more endorsements