Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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

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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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doctor's coatPeople who have been injured in a Knoxville car accident caused by the negligence or reckless conduct of another person, business, or governmental entity may be able to recover damages such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and compensation for pain and suffering. However, calculating the exact amount to which the injured person (or a deceased person’s family) is entitled is a complex endeavor.

A recent case highlights one of the issues that frequently arises in such cases:  how are the reasonable and necessary medical expenses suffered by an injured person to be determined?

Facts of the Case

jail cellWhen a governmental employee acts negligently – that is, when he or she breaches a duty of care owed to another person, and harm is caused to the victim as a proximate result – the governmental entity for which the employee worked can be held liable for the resulting injuries or wrongful death in many instances.

This can be true even when the direct harm to the victim is caused by someone other than the employee – such as when a mentally distraught individual who should have been more carefully monitored while in the custody of a government official takes his or her own life.

Facts of the Case

box truckTennessee is a “modified comparative fault” state. This means that, in deciding the effect that a plaintiff’s own negligence has on the outcome of a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff can only recover damages if he or she is found to be less than 50% at fault.

If the jury attributes 50% or more of the fault to the plaintiff, he or she cannot recover any compensation from the defendant. If the plaintiff is 49% or less at fault, he or she recovers the percentage of his or her damages assigned to the defendant. For instance, if the jury finds that the plaintiff suffered $100,000 in damages but was 25% at fault, the trial court will enter a net judgment of $75,000 in the plaintiff’s favor.

Facts of the Case

parking lotNot every lawsuit is concluded by a jury’s verdict in favor of one party or another. While many cases are settled through an agreement between the parties, some are resolved via a legal proceeding known as a “motion for summary judgment.”

When a defendant files such a motion in a negligence case, including an East Tennessee slip and fall case, the argument is that, even if all of the factual disputes are resolved in the plaintiff’s favor, the defendant cannot be held liable. There is judicial economy in motions for summary judgment in that a case is resolved without the need for a jury to determine factual disagreements; however, a motion can only be granted if the opposing party could not win his or her case even if the jury found all of the factual disputes in his or her favor.

Facts of the Case

manKnoxville personal injury cases in which a government entity is named as a defendant proceed differently from claims against businesses or individuals. Recovering fair compensation in such cases can be more difficult than in other personal injury cases, since different rules apply.

Generally, cases in which the State of Tennessee is a defendant must be filed in the Tennessee Claims Commission, rather than in the circuit court of the county where the alleged act of negligence took place.

If a plaintiff is successful in the claims commission, he or she can recover monetary damages against the State but only up to an amount set by statute. No punitive damages can be awarded, and the plaintiff must bear all of his or her litigation costs. (Sometimes costs are shifted to the losing party in other cases.)

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If you or a loved one has been hurt in a Knoxville car accident, three of the most important words to you right now should be “statute of limitations.” Failing to file your claim by this important deadline can seriously jeopardize your chances of recovering fair compensation.

For this reason, it is critically important to consult an attorney as soon as possible after an accident so that he or she can be investigating the case and preparing the necessary paperwork so that untimeliness will not be an issue in your case. It is important to note that Tennessee has a very short statute of limitations for personal injury claims – just one year. The deadline can slip past very quickly, especially in a serious accident in which the plaintiff’s physical recovery is ongoing or in a wrongful death case in which a family is grieving the loss of a loved one.

Facts of the Case

ambulanceIn Tennessee, there are certain procedural hurdles that must be addressed in filing a cause of action under the Tennessee Health Care Liability Act.

Failing to comply with these requirements can result in the dismissal of an otherwise valid claim against an allegedly negligent health care provider.

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Since so many defendants are prone to protracting litigation in an attempt to avoid liability, or at least put off the inevitability of a judgment for the plaintiff, there are sometimes provisions in the law that require defendants to pay more than the judgment eventually entered by the court.

Depending upon the case and the applicable law, this can include both pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, as well as outright penalties and, in a recent black lung case, “additional compensation” of up to 20%.

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