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

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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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pregnant belly

Medical negligence can leave victims with permanent injuries and, in some cases, even result in a wrongful death.

In a recent case, both a mother and her newborn child were seriously injured due to the alleged negligence of a doctor and others during the child’s birth.

Unfortunately, their claims were not filed within the applicable statute of limitations period (which is quite short in Tennessee) due to their alleged disabilities, and the court of appeals was asked to consider whether their cases met one of the small handful of exceptions to the general rule requiring the dismissal of untimely lawsuits.

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hospital bedSeptic shock is a very dangerous, potentially life-threatening medical condition that can occur when the body attempts to fight a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. Possible complications from septic shock include heart failure, kidney failure, stroke, liver failure, or respiratory failure.

Although septic shock can be fatal, a patient’s prognosis is better if the condition is promptly diagnosed and properly treated. Time is of the essence, and any delay can hurt a patient’s chances of recovery.

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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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service of processFiling a lawsuit for medical malpractice or another act of negligence can be fraught with potential procedural pitfalls:  missing a statute of limitations, naming the wrong party as a defendant, or – as happened in a recent case – an allegation that the person who accepted service of process on the defendant was unauthorized to do so.

In some instances, a procedural misstep can result in the dismissal of an otherwise valid claim against a defendant purely on technical grounds. However, the plaintiffs in one case were determined to have their day in court, filing a second lawsuit against the allegedly unauthorized person who accepted service of process, causing their malpractice case to be dismissed as to a certain doctor.

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fireSometimes, it’s hard to understand why insurance companies do the things they do; other times, it’s just plain impossible. For example, why would an insurance company refuse to pay more than $2,000 to a family who lost their home and all of their possessions when they were insured for over $100,000?

The trial court in a recent case asked that same question. Not being satisfied with the insurance company’s answer, the court ordered the insurance company to pay not only the amount due under the policy but also interest and a bad faith penalty.

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coal mine

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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shopping cart

While Tennessee premises liability law imposes a general duty of care on landowners, including those who own retail stores, restaurants, and the like, proving fault in a particular case can sometimes be a difficult endeavor. This is because slip and fall, trip and fall, and fall-down lawsuits tend to be extremely fact-specific.

Two customers who suffer identical injuries could have very difficult outcomes, depending on the particular hazard that caused their accident, how that hazard came to be, how long it had been in existence, and whether any store employee was aware of – or, in the exercise of due diligence, should have been aware of – the dangerous condition that led to the customer’s injuries.

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