Articles Posted in Tennessee Law

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

sleeping infant
Medical mistakes can cause injuries or death both to the old and to the young, but some of the most heartbreaking east Tennessee medical malpractice cases involve situations in which a doctor’s mistake causes a child to either die in utero or shortly after birth.

Obstetricians fight hard against a finding of liability in such cases, urging the jury to believe that they did everything they could under the circumstances. While this may be true in some situations, it is not always so. Ultimately, it is up to the jury to decide whether a mistake was made and, if so, the compensation to which a family is entitled as a result.

Facts of the Case

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An act of medical malpractice in Knoxville, Maryville, or another region of east Tennessee can cause devastating injuries and even a wrongful death. Unfortunately, Tennessee has one of the shortest statutes of limitations in the nation, giving grieving families just one year in which to assert a claim or else have their right to recover money damages barred by the statute of limitations.

While contacting a Tennessee wrongful death attorney may be a difficult and emotionally taxing step in recovering from the death of a family member, it is vitally important that this be done as soon as possible so that the attorney can have adequate time to investigate the matter, prepare the paperwork for the claim, and file the necessary documents before the statute of limitations runs.

Those who wait too long to hire an attorney may find themselves unable to find a qualified legal professional willing to put their name and reputation on the line when too little time is left to properly research a claim. This was exactly what happened to a widower who lost his wife to an alleged act of medical negligence. He had no choice but to file the claim pro se (although he was able to retain an attorney later). Unfortunately, the family spent the next 12 years arguing about whether this action complied with the statute of limitations.

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mother and baby
When a child’s life is catastrophically altered by a birth injury or brain injury just as his or her life is beginning, there is untold heartbreak for the family.

While money can never “fix” what went wrong, a fair settlement or judgment in a Tennessee medical malpractice case can help offset the considerable expenditures that the family will incur due the child’s injury or disability in the coming years. Unfortunately, medical providers often resist a finding of liability, urging juries to believe that these types of injuries “just happen sometimes” without it being anyone’s fault.

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

doctor

Over the past few years, it has become increasingly difficult to hold negligent medical providers legally liable for the harm that they cause. Among the reasons for this are the various procedural hurdles that have been put in place for those who file malpractice claims.

Failing to comply with these procedural requirements can result in the dismissal of a plaintiff’s otherwise valid claim for medical negligence.

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