hip jointIn an east Tennessee medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff must do more than simply file a claim in the manner that is generally required in a negligence case. Instead, he or she must also provide certain pre-suit notice to the defendant(s) and supply the defendant(s) with a medical authorization form so that he or she may review the plaintiff’s medical records. Failing to comply with each and every one of these requirements will usually result in the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a man who sued several defendants in January 2015, alleging that he had been a victim of medical malpractice in regard to a failed hip replacement. According to the plaintiff, he had gotten an infection after the procedure and had suffered kidney failure. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed (“nonsuited”) some of the defendants in his first lawsuit; the trial court later dismissed the complaint against the remaining defendants without prejudice, for lack of prosecution.

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A common issue that arises in east Tennessee personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits is that of comparative negligence. This is because, under Tennessee’s “modified comparative fault” law, a plaintiff who is 50% or more at fault in an accident cannot recover compensation from the alleged wrongdoer.

Tennessee’s rule is harsher than that of some sister states that, instead, follow the rule of “pure comparative fault,” in which the plaintiff recovers at least some compensation as long as he or she is not 100% at fault (although the amount received is reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff).

Facts of the Case

diverging pathsIdeally, an east Tennessee personal injury lawsuit would proceed as follows:   the plaintiff files the complaint, the defendant files an answer, the case is tried, a judgment is entered, and the case is over. Unfortunately, things do not always work out that way.

A case recently considered by the Tennessee Court of Appeals definitely did not proceed in the usual fashion. It involved two separation actions in general sessions court, two appeals to circuit court, and yet another appeal to the court of appeals. Perhaps not surprisingly, the case still isn’t over.

Facts of the Case

jury box

If you have never actually seen a lawsuit being tried in court (or been called for jury duty), you may not be familiar with the jury selection process in an east Tennessee medical malpractice, wrongful death, or personal injury case.

Sometimes, potential jurors are excluded “for cause” – that is, because they know one of the parties or attorneys personally or because they do not believe that they will be able to be fair to both sides for some other reason. Each party is also afforded a certain number of “peremptory” challenges that may be used to exclude jurors without the need for a reason or explanation. The only limitation on peremptory challenges is that they may not be used to discriminate against a particular gender, race, or ethnicity.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs in a recent case heard by the Tennessee Court of Appeals were the parents of an infant who died during childbirth in 2009. The parents filed suit against the defendants (a hospital, a treating physician, and others) in the Circuit Court of Tipton County, asserting claims of negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and vicarious liability for the death of their child.

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medical profession
All personal injury and wrongful death cases have a filing deadline called the “statute of limitations.” Failing to file a claim within this time frame usually means that the plaintiff will be unable to pursue compensation, regardless of the merits of his or her case. Some types of cases, including Knoxville medical malpractice cases, may have additional requirements.

Under the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act, a person who seeks to pursue a legal action for medical negligence must also provide pre-suit notice to the defendant(s) who will be named in the lawsuit. Medical authorization forms are also to be sent to the defendants. Failing to comply with these requirements can result in the dismissal of an otherwise valid claim.

Facts of the Case

grocery cartWhen someone falls in a store or in another place of business, there may be multiple parties who could potentially be named as defendants – corporations, subsidiaries, parent companies, holding companies, land management companies… the list goes on and on.

When an east Tennessee premises liability lawsuit is filed against multiple defendants, some of those parties may be dismissed, either voluntarily as part of the plaintiff’s litigation strategy or by the trial court on motion of the defendant(s). In cases of a voluntary dismissal, the plaintiff may have the option of refiling the claim within a certain time period.

Additionally, when a defendant asserts fault by a non-party as part of a comparative fault defense, the plaintiff may be able to amend his or her complaint to add those individuals or businesses as party defendants.

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feetUnder Tennessee law, a would-be Knoxville medical malpractice claimant must provide pre-suit notice and file a certificate of good faith along with his or her complaint. These requirements apply to any claims alleging health care liability.

However, it is not always clear whether a given claim is a “health care liability” claim.

Facts of the Case

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When someone is killed or suffers catastrophic injuries as a result of the negligence of a government official – including prison guards, police officers, and sheriffs’ deputies – that injured person (or the deceased person’s family) may be able to seek monetary compensation.

An experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney can help you determine whether liability may lie in a particular situation and, if so, help you get started on the process of holding the responsible party accountable for the consequences of their actions or inaction.

Facts of the Case

school bus

Serious injuries can result from a fall on another party’s property – broken bones, sprains, strains, disc herniations, and other, sometimes permanently disabling medical problems can all occur when premises are not maintained in a reasonably safe condition.

In an east Tennessee premises liability lawsuit, a person injured on another party’s property may seek compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering caused by the fall.

However, the burden of proof in a slip and fall case is always on the plaintiff – the injured person – to prove his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. Often, such cases fail for lack of proof, not because the defendant was not negligent but because the plaintiff was unable to provide competent evidence of the defendant’s breach of the duty of due care.

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When someone passes away due to another party’s negligence, it may be possible for those left behind to file a Tennessee wrongful death lawsuit. However, not just anyone can file such a claim.

Only those allowed by the statutory scheme of the state in which the decedent was killed have the right to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. Sometimes, disputes can arise as to who exactly is the proper person to bring the claim. It is up to the courts to ultimately make that decision.

Facts of the Case

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