In Igou v. Vanderbilt University, a man filed a medical care liability action against a Tennessee hospital over the injury he allegedly sustained as a result of a surgical procedure that was performed at the facility. According to the man, he was rendered impotent as a result of his surgeon’s error. Prior to filing his case, the man provided the hospital with notice of his claim in accordance with Section 29-26-121 of the Tennessee Code. When the man formally filed his complaint, he provided the court with a certificate of good faith under Section 29-26-122. In addition, the man’s wife filed a loss of consortium claim. She did not provide notice of her claim under the requirements enumerated in the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act (“THCLA”).
In Walden v. Central Parking System of Tennessee, Inc., a woman parked her car in a parking garage that was located near a medical facility where she had scheduled an appointment. After she returned to the garage to retrieve her vehicle, the woman was apparently injured when she fell on the concrete floor. According to the woman, she tripped on an unmarked drop in an area of the floor that appeared to be level. As a result of her harm, the woman filed a negligence lawsuit against the owner of the garage and the medical facility in Knox County.
At trial, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. In general, such a motion is only appropriate when there are no material issues of fact in dispute, and one party to a lawsuit is entitled to judgment in his or her favor. When considering such a motion, a court must review all evidence in the light that is most favorable to the non-moving party.
In Berry v. City of Memphis, a Shelby County driver was apparently hurt when her automobile was struck in an intersection by a Memphis police cruiser in 2003. The motorist reportedly lost consciousness and had to be extricated from her vehicle using the Jaws of Life as a result of the collision. The driver was then treated for a head contusion and musculo-skeletal harm to her head, back, neck, and chest. Despite this, x-rays taken following the crash did not indicate that the woman suffered any broken bones or other abnormalities. The hospital discharged the woman on the day of the accident.
About two days later, the woman sought medical treatment for pain in her head, neck, back, and leg. Her doctor apparently referred the driver to physical therapy. Several years later, the woman filed a negligence lawsuit in Shelby County against the police officer who struck her and the city that employed him at the time.
In Corley v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP, a Tennessee woman injured her knee when she slipped on water that was spilled on the floor of an Antioch department store. As a result, the woman filed a premises liability and negligence lawsuit against the store in the Middle District of Tennessee in Nashville. Following trial, jurors issued a $525,000 verdict in favor of the woman and stated the department store was 90 percent responsible for her harm. In response to the jury verdict, the store filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law or new trial.
Before considering the department store’s motion, the Middle District of Tennessee stated a motion for judgment as a matter of law may only be granted in situations where “reasonable minds could come to but one conclusion.” The court stated there must be a lack of disputed facts and it must be clear that the moving party is entitled to judgment in his or her favor in order to prevail. In addition, the federal court said a motion for a new trial is appropriate where jurors reached a “seriously erroneous result” that was against the weight of the evidence, excessive, or somehow unfair.
In Powell v. Clark, a passenger was hurt in a Tennessee motor vehicle collision that was caused by another motorist. Unfortunately, the at-fault driver did not carry liability insurance when the traffic wreck occurred. Following the accident, the injured passenger sought to recover uninsured motorist (“UIM”) accident benefits. At the time of the crash, her insurance policy included UIM and medical payments coverage of up to $100,000. In addition, the driver of the vehicle the injured woman was riding in also carried $100,000 in UIM benefits, but only up to $2,000 in medical payments. Under Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-7-1201(b)(3), the driver’s insurer was the primary carrier for purposes of UIM coverage.
After the driver’s insurer paid the injured passenger the full medical payments policy limits of $2,000, the passenger’s insurance company paid her more than $70,000 in medical payments. Next, the injured passenger filed a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in a Tennessee court. Both insurers were issued a summons and filed an answer in the case. About one month after the injured passenger’s insurer filed its answer, the company was dismissed from the lawsuit. Additionally, the at-fault driver failed to appear.
The Western District of Tennessee has found that a customer is entitled to pursue her personal injury claim against a grocery store at trial. In Jackson v. Kroger Ltd. Partnership I, a woman and her mother visited a Tennessee grocery store. While shopping, the woman was apparently injured when she slipped and fell on a clear liquid that was on the floor. After the woman fell, a store security guard helped the woman get up off the floor. According to the injured shopper, the security guard told her that he asked another grocery store employee to clean up the spill prior to the incident. The customer later filed a premises liability lawsuit against the grocery store.
Prior to trial, the store claimed that it had no knowledge of the purported spill. In addition, the grocery store argued that the injured woman could not prove how long the liquid was on the floor before she fell or that any of the store’s workers knew the spill occurred. Because of this, the store filed a motion for summary judgment in the case. In general, a motion for summary judgment may only be granted in situations where there are no material facts in dispute and one party is clearly entitled to judgment in his or her favor based upon the law. A court that is considering such a motion must construe any evidence offered in favor of the non-moving party.
In Bonner v. Deyo, a woman filed a personal injury lawsuit against a driver who rear-ended her vehicle at a stop-light and the owner of the allegedly at-fault automobile. In her complaint, the woman sought damages for head, neck, and other injuries she claimed to have suffered in the collision as well as reimbursement for her medical costs. Her husband also asked the court to award him financial compensation for his loss of consortium. Prior to trial, the parties agreed that the injured woman’s medical and vehicle repair bills were both authentic and admissible. Despite this, the defendants denied a number of material allegations included in the hurt woman’s complaint.
A semi-truck driver was unfortunately killed and three other people were hurt in a recent collision between two big rigs on Interstate 75. According to local law enforcement officials, a fire erupted after two tractor-trailers collided head-on in Campbell County near Caryville. A representative for the Tennessee Highway Patrol stated a northbound big rig that was being driven by a 49-year-old Russell Springs man allegedly crossed the median near exit 134 before striking another truck that was headed in the opposite direction. Apparently, the collision resulted in an explosion and chemical fire that forced officers to evacuate the roadway for several hours. Both trucks were reportedly engulfed in flames following the accident.
The afternoon tractor-trailer crash purportedly closed the Interstate in both directions while a hazardous materials crew engaged in what was initially believed to be a radioactive materials clean-up effort. Thankfully, no such materials were discovered by authorities. Sadly, one of the semi-truck drivers died at the scene of the collision. The other driver and two firefighters who responded to the tragic wreck were reportedly transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment. At least one patient was taken to the hospital via Lifestar helicopter. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the exact cause of the fatal collision is still under investigation.
Due to the many state and federal trucking laws and regulations, a tractor-trailer wreck can involve a number of unique pieces of evidence that do not exist in other traffic accident cases, such as maintenance logs, on-board computer information, and driver logs. In addition, the victim of a Knoxville traffic accident that was caused by a semi-truck driver may be entitled to recover monetary damages for his or her lost wages and benefits, medical bills, any temporary or permanent disability that resulted from the truck crash, pain and suffering, and more. Certain relatives of someone who was killed due to a tractor-trailer driver’s negligent act may also be eligible to recover for their family member’s wrongful death.
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In Hudson v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., a woman was rear-ended by an unidentified driver in October 2010. Following the car accident, the woman reported the collision to her automobile insurance company. She also made arrangements to have her vehicle inspected for damage. About seven months later, the woman sought payment for medical expenses that were apparently related to the car wreck as part of her uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
About three months later, the insurer sent the woman a letter stating the statute of limitations would expire on the one-year anniversary of her traffic accident if she failed to settle her claim or file a lawsuit against the company prior to that date. A statute of limitations is a maximum time limit during which a lawsuit may be filed. If a plaintiff does not file his or her case before the prescribed statute of limitations expires, the plaintiff is normally permanently barred from recovering any damages, regardless of his or her harm. Soon after receiving the letter, the woman finally sought medical treatment for the injuries she allegedly sustained in the rear-end automobile crash. After an initial consultation, the woman’s doctor diagnosed her with a “lumbar torsion” that may have been caused by the motor vehicle collision, and she began receiving physical therapy. Her auto insurer then denied the woman’s personal injury claim because it determined that her physical harm was not related to the traffic crash.
A few days before the statute of limitations expired, the injured woman filed a case against her insurer in Blount County, Tennessee. Several months later, she filed a second case, adding her husband as a loss of consortium plaintiff and the unknown driver as a defendant. She later amended her lawsuit to include a claim for negligence against the unknown motorist who struck her vehicle as well as Tennessee Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), bad faith, and breach of contract claims against her car insurance company. The insurer then successfully removed the lawsuit from state court to the Eastern District of Tennessee, Knoxville Division.
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In Pyle v. Mullins, a landscaper filed a personal injury lawsuit against a woman following a three-vehicle traffic wreck in Farragut. Although the woman admitted to liability for the crash, a jury trial was held on the issue of damages. Following trial, the jury awarded the landscaper $15,000 in damages for the injuries he sustained in the collision. After the trial court affirmed the jury’s award, the man filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Knoxville.
On appeal, the man alleged that the jury’s verdict should be set aside because it was based on erroneous evidentiary rulings and instructions. The landscaper also claimed the award was inadequate based on the evidence. After examining the testimony and other evidence offered at trial, the Court of Appeals concluded that there was sufficient material evidence to support the jury’s damages award. Because of this, the court refused to disturb the jurors’ award based on the material evidence.
Next, the appellate court addressed the landscaper’s claim that the trial court committed error when it refused to instruct the jury regarding the woman’s liability for any alleged aggravation of the man’s purported pre-existing injuries. The court stated a trial judge should only provide a requested jury instruction where it is supported by the evidence, is part of a party to a lawsuit’s theory of liability, and correctly states the law. According to the appeals court, the lower court did not commit error when it refused to issue the requested instruction to the jury because there was no evidence offered regarding the issue of the man’s pre-existing injuries.
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