Answers to Your Questions About Mid-South Injury Lawsuits
Have questions about what to do if you have been injured in a car or truck wreck in Tennessee or one of the neighboring states? Don’t know how to proceed if a medical error or birth injury has harmed or killed a loved one in Memphis or another Tennessee location? The experienced trial attorneys at the Holton Law Firm have the answers you need. If you do not see your question answered here, contact our office to learn more about your individual case.
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What are no-zones around a truck?
Semi-trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, which increases the potential for serious injury and damage in the event of an accident. For this reason, drivers of passenger vehicles should employ greater caution when driving near 18-wheelers to prevent accidents, especially around the truck’s “no-zones.”
Avoid No-Zones to Help Prevent an Accident
There are danger areas around a semi-truck known as no-zones, in which the risk of an accident greatly increases. Drivers should do their best to avoid these areas, which include:
- The sides. Both the large area behind the truck’s passenger door and the small area behind its driver-side door are difficult for a truck driver to see—even using his mirrors as aides. Limited visibility on both sides, but especially on the driver’s right side, creates great potential for an accident.
- The immediate front. Especially at high speeds and in poor weather conditions, semi-trucks need more stopping distance due to their size and weight. Drivers should avoid cutting off large trucks or driving directly in front of them.
- The immediate rear. Keeping a safe following distance is important when driving at all times, but it is especially important when driving behind a semi. Because the trucks are so large, it’s difficult to see around them—which can make it nearly impossible to anticipate when they will stop because of traffic or an obstacle in the road.
When driving near and around semi-trucks, remembering this simple rule may help you stay safe: if you can’t see the driver’s mirrors, he can’t see you.
Blind Spots Are Not an Excuse
Although every driver can do her part in preventing an accident with a large truck by avoiding the no-zones, you should remember that truck drivers (or another contributing party) should still be held responsible for their carelessness, recklessness, and negligence—and any injuries and damages that result from an accident.
Our Legal Team Wants to Help You
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in an accident with an 18-wheeler, it’s important to get in touch with an attorney who can help you recover fairly. At the Hilton Law Firm, we’ll review the details of your situation, build a strong case, and help you recover what you need for injuries, lost wages, and property damages. Start a live online chat with a member of our team today.
What is modified comparative negligence, and how will it affect my car accident claim?
The details of every car accident are unique, and these details become significant when you are trying to recover for your losses after a car accident. If you were partially at fault for your accident—or if the at-fault driver is wrongly attempting to place blame on you—it’s important to understand how Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence rule may affect your claim and how an attorney can help you maximize your recovery.
The 50% Rule
Tennessee imposes the modified comparative negligence method on car accident cases, using the 50% rule. This means:
- It’s still possible for you to recover for injuries and damages if you are 49% or less at fault for your own accident.
- A judge or jury will assign you a percentage of fault based on the facts of your case.
- You may recover an appropriate monetary amount based on your percentage of fault.
If a judge or jury finds you to be 50% or more at fault for an accident, you will be unable to recover compensation for any injuries or damages you sustained.
Fault is not always easily determined in a car accident case, but evidence from your crash scene, the police report, and witness statements may help you and your attorney accurately place blame on the at-fault party. To determine negligence and decrease your percentage of liability, your attorney will show that:
- The other driver was negligent in some way
- The other driver’s negligence caused the crash
- That crash led directly to your bodily injury and property damages
Your attorney may also use this evidence to show that you acted appropriately and as necessary to protect yourself and your property.
We’ll Answer Your Questions
If you’ve recently been in an auto accident and feel concerned about your involvement and potential recovery, you need to speak with an attorney. The Holton Law Firm is here to listen to your concerns, prepare you for what comes next, and represent you. To speak with a member of our team, fill out the online contact form on our website today.
How can I recover for property damage after a car accident?
Cars are designed to strategically sustain the force in a car crash to protect the occupants from a direct impact. However, this means a car may become severely damaged or even totaled in an accident. If you’re involved in a car wreck, it’s possible to recover financially for your property damage through the at-fault driver’s insurance or your own.
Right After the Accident, Protect Your Claim
To recover fairly for damages to your car or other valuable property, it’s important to take steps to protect your recovery, including:
- Documenting the accident scene and any exterior or interior property damage with photos, videos, and notes
- Keeping all receipts related to the accident, including towing costs, body work, internal vehicle repairs, and rental cars
- Knowing the value of your car, which you can find through online portals such as Kelley Blue Book by inputting your car’s year, make, model, and any special features
Who Pays for the Property Damage?
When seeking repairs for your vehicle, don’t skimp on costs by allowing a less-than-reputable mechanic to work on it or agreeing to install generic or cheap parts. There are ways to recover the costs of your damages, including:
- The at-fault driver’s insurance. In most cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance is sufficient to cover the costs of property damage in an accident.
- Your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. If the driver who hit you either left the scene or had inadequate insurance, the UM coverage on your own insurance policy could cover property damage.
- The driver’s personal finances. In some cases, if neither insurance policy can cover the damages, it might be necessary pursue compensation through a lawsuit. An attorney can help you understand if this is the right option for you.
When You Need a Lawyer, Call Us
If you’ve been in a car crash and need help with your property damage claim, we can help. At the Holton Law Firm, we’ve been advocating for our clients in and out of the courtroom for decades. To get our team on your case, give us a call today.
How much is my injury case worth?
The exact value of your case depends on specific details, including the circumstances under which you were hurt and how badly you were hurt. However, insurers and attorneys both consider a few important factors when determining what a personal injury case is worth, and our firm can further help you understand your claim’s value through our database of case information.
Calculating the Value of an Injury Case
As the injury victim, you are an important part of calculating an accurate value of your case because you have first-hand knowledge of how the injury impacted your daily life. When you meet with your attorney, he may ask you questions similar to the following to help him determine the value of your claim:
- What happened leading up to the incident?
- What injuries did you suffer?
- Do you have any pre-existing injuries?
- Have you already seen a medical professional, and did you pay any medical bills?
- Will you need to keep seeing a doctor? For how long?
- Will your injury keep you from working? For how long?
- Has the injury changed your ability to engage in daily activities?
- Has your family—perhaps your spouse or children—suffered as a result of your injury?
Our Database Offers a Clearer Perspective
In addition to considering the unique details of your case, our firm uses a large database of case information to calculate and make an informed decision about the value of your case. Our team has represented injury victims for over 30 years, successfully earned over $260 million in compensation for them, and collected and created a database that tells us more about:
- How different insurance agencies handle an injury claim
- What elements each company may consider when calculating a claim’s worth
- How our other clients in similar situations have recovered compensation
Personalized Assistance With Your Injury
If you’ve been recently injured and need help determining whether or not you have a case, contact us to discuss your situation. The attorneys at the Holton Law Firm will put their many years of experience to work for you, so give us a call at 888-443-4387.
Which Tennessee court will hear my car accident injury case?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company may not negotiate in good faith to arrive at a fair settlement to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In fact, you may have to file a lawsuit in order to obtain the compensation you deserve.
In Tennessee, civil matters such as car accident lawsuits are heard in either a General Sessions Court or Circuit Court.
General Sessions Court
General Sessions Courts serve every county in the state of Tennessee. These courts are also known as courts of limited jurisdiction because they can only try certain types of criminal and civil matters. Following are some important things to understand about filing your car accident lawsuit in a General Sessions Court:
- Monetary damage awards cannot exceed $25,000.
- A judge—not a jury—decides your case.
- Decisions from the General Sessions Court may be appealed to the Circuit Court. These appeals are heard de novo, meaning the trial starts over as though the original one never occurred.
Circuit Courts have authority to hear all kinds of legal matters, including serious criminal offenses and felony traffic violations, contract disputes, domestic matters, and civil matters (including car accident injury cases). Following are some key things to know about filing your car accident lawsuit in Circuit Court:
- Jury trials are available.
- There is no limit on monetary damage awards.
- Decisions from the Circuit Court may be appealed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals. The court reviews the records from the earlier trial to determine if there was an error that should be reversed—it does not take testimony or admit new evidence.
Determining the Best Court for Your Car Accident Injury Case
There are pros and cons to filing a lawsuit in either of the two courts. For example, the ability to appeal an unfavorable General Sessions Court decision and have a new trial in Circuit Court may be an advantage in some situations. The ability to request a trial by jury in Circuit Court may be an advantage in other situations. But the best court for your lawsuit is the one that your attorney recommends after reviewing your specific situation and deciding how best to handle your case. After all, your attorney has the knowledge and experience to know what will work best.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s important that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options. If you are ready to get started, call our office or start a live chat with us now. We look forward to speaking with you.
How many jurors will hear my case and decide the outcome?
In a car accident lawsuit, the injured victim (the plaintiff) brings a case against the at-fault driver (the defendant) with the hopes of recovering financial compensation for bodily injury, property damage, and pain and suffering. If both parties cannot agree on a settlement amount, the case could go to trial in front of a jury. If you were injured and are about to enter into the trial process, it’s important you understand how a jury is selected, what they do, and how they make a decision.
The Jury Selection Process
People who live in the county where the case will take place are summoned for jury duty—usually 30 – 60 people. Both attorneys question potential jurors to identify biases that may keep them from deciding fairly. Each attorney can opt to dismiss at least 4 and no more than 8 jurors for any reason unless it has to do with a federally protected identity. At the final count, a jury is usually 12 people, and in Tennessee, every juror must be:
- A resident of Tennessee—meaning the juror has lived there for 12 months or more
- A resident of the county in which the trial will take place
- At least 18 years old
The Role of a Jury in a Car Accident Trial
The jury, as an impartial entity, serves by listening to arguments and evidence from both sides. Although it’s impossible to know how a jury will decide a case, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that the plaintiff won in 56 percent of civil cases, which include car accident suits. Additionally, the group must only consider the information presented by the plaintiff and defendant. Then, the jury uses evidence, statements, and arguments to deliberate two main issues behind closed doors:
- Who is liable or at fault? To reach an acceptable decision, the jury must return a unanimous verdict—that is, all 12 must be in agreement.
- How much are the damages worth? With the information at hand, the jury adds up how much the victim may need to pay for medical bills, property damages, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If the jury is unable to reach a unanimous decision, the judge can declare a mistrial—which means the case can be tried again with a different jury.
When You Have Questions and Need Answers
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and need legal help, contact the Holton Law Firm. We are trial lawyers who win cases for our clients, and we want to win for you, too. Contact us today by calling 888-443-4387.
How can I find the names of people who witnessed my accident?
In a car accident claim, more than just money is at stake. Car accidents cost an annual average of $230.6 billion each year, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), but injured victims need to heal properly, too. Recovering adequate compensation relies heavily on building an accurate narrative of what happened. Eye witnesses and their accounts are a key piece of evidence in supporting the facts, so it’s important that you know the ways to identify witnesses, get their information, and what information you’ll need from them.
Finding Key Witnesses
Sometimes, a good witness who confirms the details of your story can convince an insurance company or a jury of the legitimacy of your injuries and need for compensation. Witnesses to your accident are also important because they have no interest in the outcome of your case, financial or otherwise. To find eye witnesses:
- Speak with people at the scene of your accident. If you are capable, speak with people who may have seen what happened as soon after the accident as possible. Similar to taking pictures and obtaining the other driver’s information, recording an eye witness account can assist your case.
- Return to the scene. If you were unable to speak with strangers directly after the accident, it may help to revisit the scene. Any nearby business owners or people who walk near the scene frequently may know something.
- Obtain a police report. At the scene of an accident, police often investigate by speaking with bystanders. In the police report, you may find names of people you can speak to.
- Ask other witnesses. If you were able to get one witness testimony, that witness may have been with another person at the time of the accident who also saw what happened. Multiple agreeing accounts of how the accident occurred can help corroborate your story.
What Information You Should Collect
After finding good witnesses, it’s important to obtain all the information you need to assist your lawyer in building a solid case. Once you ask for their accounts of what happened, you should also collect the following from each witness:
- Full legal name
- Telephone numbers (home, work, and cell)
- Mailing addresses for home and work
Legal Assistance You Can Count On
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and need assistance finding witnesses, the team at the Holton Law Firm can help. We’ve been advocating for our clients and earning them fair compensation for decades, and we are available to help in your case, too. To speak with a member of our team, start a live online chat on our website.
What is gestational diabetes and What Risks are Involved?
A 2014 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that gestational diabetes (GD) affects between 1 to 14 percent of births each year in the U.S. If you’re pregnant, it’s important to understand the risks of GD and how it can impact you and your baby.
Gestational Diabetes Defined
Gestational diabetes usually occurs with women in late pregnancy who have never had diabetes. It’s often marked by high blood sugar levels and low insulin production, and these changes can affect how a woman’s body processes and uses sugar. Usually, women who experience GD will see their blood sugar return to normal after delivery, but these women are also at a high risk of developing Type II diabetes.
Risk Factors of Gestational Diabetes
Any woman can develop GD, but some women may be more susceptible than others. High risk factors include:
- Having a family history of diabetes
- Being aged 25 or older
- Being overweight, specifically with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more
- Having a personal history of polycystic ovary syndrome
- Having a personal history of gestational diabetes
- Having a personal history of delivering large babies
- Taking certain medications such as antipsychotics or beta-blockers
- Being of non-white genetic heritage
Complications for the Baby
It’s very common for women who have GD to deliver babies who are healthy; however, if you don’t manage your condition, it can be problematic for your child. If you have GD, your baby could be at an increased risk of:
- Excessive birth weight and size. Typically, a baby’s head is the largest presenting body part, but GD can lead to enlarged chest and shoulders, as well as cause excessive birth weight.
- Pre-term birth. If the mother has high blood sugar, it may increase her risk of delivering early. Babies who are born prematurely may suffer from respiratory distress syndrome. This condition makes it difficult for babies to breathe normally.
- Type II diabetes later. Babies whose mothers experienced GD may be more prone to obesity later in life and, therefore, may have a higher risk for developing Type II diabetes.
- Hypoglycemia. If a baby’s insulin production is high because his mother’s is low, he may experience low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) at birth, which can be normalized through feedings and medications.
When You Need Legal Help
If medical professionals failed to test you for GD or failed to manage your case properly, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or those to your newborn. To ask questions and learn more about how to proceed with a birth injury lawsuit, call the experienced team at the Holton Law Firm. You can reach us at 888-443-4387.
What is a breech baby?
If a baby is breech—positioned to exit the birth canal feet or buttocks first—a doctor may have to change his delivery method. Although only 3 – 4 percent of full-term births involve a breech position, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), mistakes or unpreparedness in delivery of a breech baby can lead to brain trauma, bleeding, asphyxia, lifelong disability, and even death.
Types of Breech Positions
As a pregnancy nears its end, a baby naturally shifts to accommodate for a safe vaginal birth—a position in which a baby would exit the birth canal head first. However, when a baby positions itself to exit buttocks or feet first, this is when a breech presentation occurs. Usually, a doctor will suggest a cesarean section (C-section) in the event of a breech baby. There are three types of breech positions:
- Frank breech: The most common type of breech position is a frank breech that occurs when a baby pikes and prepares to exit the birth canal buttocks first.
- Complete breech: When the baby’s body contorts into a cannonball shape—hinged both at the knees and the hips into a tuck—and prepares to exit buttocks first, a complete breech occurs.
- Footling (incomplete) breech: As the name suggests, a footling breech happens when one foot or both feet will exit first. This can often mean a baby’s hips enter into a problematic position, as well.
Why Do Breech Positions Occur?
Ultrasound technology helps the medical staff determine the breech position, and then the doctor will inform the parents-to-be about alternative measures. However, medical professionals can’t usually explain why breech positions occur. Risk factors include previous pregnancies, a small pelvis, and a history of premature delivery, and breech deliveries can lead to serious complications, including:
- Fetal distress. This can occur when there are issues with the umbilical cord. Complications can include the cord becoming compressed or wrapping around the child’s neck.
- Nerve damage. This can occur from excessive compression during attempts to dislodge the baby from the mother’s birth canal.
- Head and spine injury. This can occur when the baby’s head becomes stuck in a small birth canal, sometimes leading to bleeding and permanent disability.
- Low APGAR scoring. This can indicate a traumatic birth.
How an Attorney Can Help Your Family
If your baby suffered a traumatic birth injury because a doctor mishandled a breech position, the attorneys at the Holton Law Firm can help. To speak with an experienced attorney about your case, fill out the online contact form on our website.
Do I have a birth injury case?
For every 1,000 babies born in the U.S., nearly 6 die in their first year, according to a 2014 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sometimes, babies are born with birth injuries that may be caused by medical negligence—which occurs when a doctor fails to meet accepted standards of practice when caring for patients. If your difficult delivery resulted in injuries to your newborn, you might wonder if you have a negligence case. There are many factors a lawyer will consider when making a determination of medical negligence.
Your First Steps
If you and your delivery staff know something is wrong when your baby is born, the first priority is to ensure the baby is given proper treatment and medical attention. Then, if you have questions about what mistakes may have transpired during labor, speak with a trusted attorney as soon as possible. The best way to determine the validity of your case is to speak with someone who has decades of experience handling birth injury lawsuits.
Building a Birth Injury Case
The cost of caring for an injured child can be expensive, so building a case for fair compensation is essential. However, in order to sue for birth injury, you and your lawyer must work together to prove negligence. To prove your case, your lawyer can gather important evidence by:
- Investigating the circumstances surrounding the delivery
- Examining the quality of neonatal care
- Evaluating the significance of any abnormalities during labor
- Establishing the doctor’s response to any problems with delivery
- Determining the child’s condition right after birth and currently
- Identifying any consequences of the child’s injury
- Examining medical records
- Consulting with other medical experts to identify evidence of negligence
Seek Counsel for Your Case
Again, speaking with a lawyer is the most effective method of determining whether or not a doctor’s mistakes caused your newborn’s injuries. The Holton Law Firm has been trying birth injury lawsuits since the 1980s, and we can assist you with your case, too. Call 888-443-4387 to speak with a member of our team.