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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Do I Have a Valid Injury Case?
Lawsuits are not uncommon. In 2013 alone, 284,604 civil cases were filed, according to the United States Courts. People who are involved in a personal injury accident often need to file a lawsuit to help pay for their medical bills and damages. To determine if you have a valid injury case, an experienced lawyer can help you answer three important questions about the injury, cause, and the link between the two.
Were You Injured?
The first question that needs to be answered is if you were injured. A claimant’s injuries are an important part of a successful injury lawsuit, and the outcome of the case may depend on how serious those injuries are. If you sustained injuries in a car accident, after medical treatment, or while using a manufactured product, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for present and future medical treatment, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering.
Did Someone Make a Mistake?
Building a case means determining whether or not someone made a mistake in the circumstances leading up to your injury. You need to show:
- That someone broke traffic laws that caused your car accident. You’ll need to show evidence that the other driver was at fault in some way such as driving while distracted or drunk, running a red light, or failing to yield.
- That you were injured after using a product. You’ll need to show evidence that the manufacturer used defective parts or ingredients, or the distributor damaged the functionality of the product.
- That you were injured after medical treatment. You’ll need to show evidence that medical professionals who treated you breached the expected standard of care while administering medication, performing surgery, conducting tests, or prescribing medication.
Did the Negligence Directly Cause Your Injuries?
The most important piece of the case is whether or not you can prove that your injuries are a direct result of another person’s mistake or negligence. When you work with an attorney, he’ll investigate many aspects of that connection for the following types of lawsuits:
- Car accident. A lawyer will scrutinize the circumstances surrounding the accident. This includes outlining the events leading up to it and interviewing witnesses.
- Defective products. A lawyer may purchase the defective product, send it out to qualified experts who can identify malfunctions, investigate who knew about the issue, and discover what measures (if any) were taken to correct the defect.
- Medical negligence. A lawyer may gather medical records, review them with known medical experts, and identify evidence that might show negligence.
Speak With an Experienced Attorney
The best way to determine if you have a valid injury case is to contact an experienced lawyer. It’s also important to be aware of the time restrictions that come with filing an injury claim. The team at the Holton Law Firm has been successfully handling injury lawsuits for decades, and we’re here to answer your questions about the validity of your case, too. Reach out to us by starting a live online chat.
What Happens If a Child Is Born With Birth Asphyxia?
Birth asphyxia is a complication that can occur during labor and cause mild to fatal injuries to a baby. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that two-thirds of newborn deaths are preventable if effective treatments are implemented at birth and in the first week of life; however, sometimes doctors and medical staff make mistakes with these treatments. When mistakes cause birth asphyxia, you may want to seek compensation by hiring an attorney to file a birth injury lawsuit.
Birth Asphyxia Defined
The word asphyxia refers to a lack of oxygen. A baby’s brain, muscles, and organs depend on a consistent flow of oxygen, and this is key to a safe and successful delivery. However, complications can arise during labor that cause asphyxia, including:
- Long or difficult delivery
- Blocked airway
- Malformed or underdeveloped airway
- Pinched or kinked umbilical cord
- Insufficient blood oxygenation in the mother
Diagnosing Birth Asphyxia
After a tough delivery, a doctor might suspect birth asphyxia if a baby is weak or not breathing, appears pale or blue, has trouble flexing muscles, or reacts slowly. However, officially diagnosing birth asphyxia to begin treatment often involves:
- APGAR Scoring
- Cord Blood Gasses Measurement
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
After birth asphyxia, a baby can face short- and long-term consequences, including severe brain injury, paralysis, cognitive deficiencies, and even death. Families affected by asphyxia should consult with a lawyer to discuss the possibility of proving:
- A doctor made a mistake during labor, causing asphyxia
- The asphyxia directly led to the baby’s injury or disability
Legal Assistance You Can Rely On
If you believe your baby’s birth asphyxia and resulting injuries were directly caused by the delivering doctor and medical staff, you should speak with an attorney. The Holton Law Firm has been a trusted source of legal help in our community for decades, and we can assist with your birth injury lawsuit, too. Get started by filling out the online contact form on our website.
What is neonatal head cooling?
Nearly four million babies are born each year in the U.S. And while childbirth is a common occurrence, delivering an infant can sometimes be challenging and difficult, causing complications later on. The World Health Organization reports that three-quarters of all newborn deaths occur in the first week of life. And some of these can be attributed to brain damage during the birth process. However, doctors can slow the effects of swelling and injury by using neonatal head cooling.
What You Need to Know About Neonatal Head Cooling
Neonatal head cooling is a somewhat new treatment through which doctors cool a newborn’s head immediately after a traumatic delivery. If a baby experienced a lack of oxygen during birth, otherwise known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) caused by asphyxia, the brain can experience irreversible damage. The treatment, which helps to slow the death of brain cells, includes:
- Placing a thermal cap on the baby’s head or placing the baby on a cooling blanket
- Reducing the temperature to around 33 degrees Fahrenheit
- Monitoring the infant for approximately three days
Babies who have experienced the following are eligible for neonatal head cooling treatment to prevent the progression of brain swelling and cell death, which can lead to long-term damage or death:
- An APGAR score of less than 5 in the 10 minutes following birth
- Delivery in week 36 of pregnancy or later
- Serious abnormal brain functioning
- Significant lack of oxygen during delivery, rendering the infant unconscious
Head Cooling Might Mean Birth Injury
Even though head cooling is a relatively new treatment option supported by positive results from preliminary research, some risks are involved. Additionally, there’s more potential for a birth injury case involving head cooling. For example, a birth injury suit might result from:
- A medical mistake warranting head cooling treatment
- Failure to treat brain damage with head cooling
- Improper administration of head cooling
- Delaying of head cooling treatment
- Missed diagnosis of HIE, causing a failure to treat
Because medical personnel must meet a standard of care when delivering a child, failing to meet that standard in any way can lead to a birth injury lawsuit.
Legal Help Is Available
If you suspect your baby was injured as a result of head cooling or a medical mistake created the need for head cooling treatment, it’s important you seek help from a trusted birth injury attorney. The legal team at Holton Law Firm is ready to advocate for you and your baby, and we invite you to review our free guide, Answers to Parents’ Questions About Birth Injuries.
What Is an Emergency C-Section?
In 2014, 32.2 percent of all births occurred by cesarean section, or C-section, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In some cases, performing an unplanned or emergency C-section can prevent life-threatening complications for both mother and child. However, this type of surgery also comes with some risks.
Why Doctors Perform an Emergency C-Section
An emergency C-section is a method of delivery when doctor’s take the baby through incisions in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. Doctors perform emergency C-sections to avoid life-threatening injuries to the baby and the mother. Here is a brief look at some reasons why doctors may choose this method of delivery:
- Failure to Progress. Sometimes, labor stalls and the baby doesn’t progress down the birth canal. This can pose significant risks to the mother and child.
- Lack of oxygen. During labor, a baby needs sufficient oxygen before there is a risk of brain damage. Sometimes, performing a C-section can get that oxygen to a baby more quickly. Estimates show that a baby has only 15 minutes without adequate oxygen before serious damage occurs.
- Abnormal fetus position. If the fetus is positioned abnormally in the uterus, a vaginal birth might not be a viable option.
- Small or abnormal pelvis. Some women have undersized or abnormally shaped pelvic bones, which can complicate the process by which the baby exits through the birth canal.
- Large infant. If the mother has a small pelvis, and the baby is large in size, a vaginal birth may be impossible without injuries to both.
- Umbilical cord concerns. If the umbilical cord exits through a mother’s cervix before the baby, or if the umbilical cord becomes pinched or compressed, a C-section might be a safer procedure for birth.
- Previous C-section. Women who’ve experienced a C-section can still give birth vaginally, but a doctor may suggest a second to prevent injury to the mother.
Risks Associated With C-Sections
Though a C-section can save the lives of both the mother and her baby, it can be a dangerous procedure. If a baby is experiencing fetal distress, and a doctor is not present and prepared to perform a C-section, or the medical staff delays the procedure, risk of injury might increase. Common injuries associated with C-sections include:
- Breathing problems that develop as the baby grows
- Injury to the baby, usually by surgical tools
- Infection in the mother
- Excessive uterine bleeding after delivery
- Blood clots
- Increased risk of complications during future C-sections
We Can Help
If you believe the medical staff did not handle your emergency C-section properly and you or your child suffered injuries, you need experienced help. The team at the Holton Law Firm provides excellent legal help while also serving each client on a personal level. If you have questions, reach out to us by filling out our online contact form.
Is it possible to obtain another driver’s cell phone records after an accident?
In 2014, over 400 people died as a result of cell phone-related distracted driving accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, making a case against a distracted driver can be complicated, especially when you need the cell phone records from the at-fault driver. It’s possible to obtain these records through a subpoena, but you need an attorney to first file a lawsuit on your behalf.
What Is a Subpoena?
A subpoena is a court order to appear in court or produce documents. These could include the cell phone records for a distracted driving case. When the court issues a subpoena to the at-fault driver’s cell phone carrier, the carrier must produce the cell phone records or face the following:
- Jail time
- Other penalties
When asking the court to issue a subpoena, keep in mind that most cell phone carriers only keep certain records such as cell phone logs for a limited time. Moving quickly to file a lawsuit and issue a subpoena is critical.
How Cell Phone Records Are Used
It’s important to note that the court cannot serve a subpoena until your attorney brings a lawsuit against the suspected distracted driver. Using cell phone records obtained by a subpoena, your attorney can show the following to prove the accident was caused by cell phone use:
- The time of the accident. If you suspect the at-fault driver was using his cell phone, it’s important to log the time of the accident, report it to the responding police officer, and ask her to include that time in the police report, so your lawyer can use it in court.
- The cell phone activity window. Cell phone records provided by the at-fault driver’s carrier can show times and durations of incoming and outgoing calls, timestamps on text messages, and data communications with satellites used in GPS features.
By showing a correlation between the time of a call or text message and the accident, your attorney can argue that the accident was in fact caused by the at-fault distracted driver.
Getting Help With Your Case
If you believe the driver who caused your accident was on his cell phone, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney to file a lawsuit and obtain cell phone records through a subpoena. The legal team at the Holton Law Firm provides excellent legal services to our clients, and we can help you, too. Contact us today by calling 888-443-4387.
What are the costs to hire a lawyer on a contingency fee basis?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 600,000 lawyers practiced law in 2015. When you begin the research process to hire a lawyer for your unique case, you will find that some attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This type of fee between lawyer and client allows the client freedom to hire a lawyer without paying large sums of money up front.
How Does a Contingency Agreement Work?
Lawyers who work on a contingency fee basis only accept payment after the case is complete. When you enter into a contingency fee agreement with a lawyer, he will most likely pay for up-front costs, including:
- Court filing fees
- Deposition fees
- Fees to obtain important documents
- Traveling costs
- Expert witnesses, when necessary
If your lawyer wins your case, he will receive a percentage from your award or settlement as payment for his services. If he loses, he does not charge any fees for his work on your case. However, it’s important to remember that you are still responsible for paying certain fees, even if you lose your case, such as court fees and costs for expert witnesses.
Why Do Attorneys Offer Contingency Fees?
Many lawyers who offer contingency fee agreements often handle personal injury cases such as car accidents or workers’ compensation lawsuits. Because a lawyer must win to receive payment for his work under a contingency agreement, this payment method is a positive solution because:
- Lawyers may exhibit a higher level of motivation to earn you the highest award or settlement possible. Your lawyer wants to get paid for his time while advocating for your safe and healthy future, so he will advocate fiercely for your fair award or settlement.
- Lawyers offer help to people who may not be able to obtain legal help otherwise. Personal injury victims often have many financial challenges. For this reason, many injury victims think that quality legal help is too far out of reach financially. Lawyers who offer contingency fee agreements help those who could not afford to hire an attorney who requires up-front fees.
We Want to Help You
Your case matters, and the attorneys at the Holton Law Firm want to help you fight for what you deserve. We work hard for every one of our clients and want to make quality legal help easily accessible. That’s why we work on a contingency basis. To get started on your case, start a live chat with us on our website.
What are APGAR scores, and why are they important?
You deliver your new baby hoping she is healthy, and the medical staff has a scoring system that can help determine the overall health of your infant. The APGAR scoring system, named in the 1950s after its creator, nurse Virginia Apgar, helps doctors and nurses evaluate a newborn in the following ways:
- Appearance: skin coloring
- Pulse: healthy, steady heart rate
- Grimace: normal facial expressions
- Activity: normal joint and muscle function
- Respiration: healthy rate and quality of breathing
How Does the Scoring Work?
At 5 minutes and then 10 minutes after birth, a doctor or nurse will use the APGAR scoring system in the delivery room to evaluate a baby’s overall health. A perfect APGAR score is 10, and each component can earn 0 points, 1 point, or 2 points. All five scores are compiled to get the APGAR score. Additionally, the score is recalculated more than once to give a baby a chance to improve with time.
If Your Baby Has a Low APGAR Score
A baby with a score of 6 or lower is at a high risk of hypoxia, which occurs when sufficient oxygen does not reach important parts of the infant’s body. If a baby scores low even 10 or 30 minutes after birth, the child will need medical intervention. Often, hypoxia can result in both temporary and permanent injury, including:
- Brain damage
- Tissue damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Cognitive deficiencies
If you have questions about the APGAR scoring system, or if your baby was injured during delivery, the experienced lawyers at Holton Law Firm are here to help. Request a FREE copy of our book, Answers to Parents’ Questions About Birth Injuries today.
What is placental abruption?
As an expectant mother, the life and health of your baby is your first concern. However, pregnancy can be a complicated process with many risks. One of the greatest risks is placental abruption. This pregnancy complication occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine wall. When the placenta detaches, the baby is unable to receive any oxygen or nutrients through the umbilical cord or placenta. Because placental abruption is life threatening, it is imperative to deliver the baby as soon as possible—either by cesarean section or, if the baby has made significant progress out of the birth canal, through a vaginal delivery.
Causes of Placental Abruption
Often, a pregnant woman will know placental abruption occurred because she will experience extreme abdominal pain, especially if she is in labor. If she is already at the hospital, the doctor will diagnose the mother with placental abruption because the baby’s heart rate will decelerate with no sign of recovery.
In general, medical professionals cannot point to a specific cause of placental abruption; however, the Mayo Clinic cites trauma or injury to the abdomen as a possible cause. Car accidents or a trip and fall can cause this pregnancy complication. When trauma to the abdomen occurs, the mother might experience a rapid loss of the amniotic fluid cushioning the baby.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Sometimes placental abruption occurs without warning, but some women are at a higher risk. If any of the following factors apply to you, work closely with your doctor to continually monitor the health of your baby:
- Previous placental abruption. If you’ve experienced placental abruption before, your risk is higher to experience another.
- High blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, either as a result of pregnancy or as a pre-existing condition, your risk is higher.
- Blood clotting issues. If you have a history of blood clotting problems, your risk is greater.
- Older age. Women who become pregnant later in life have a higher risk of this pregnancy complication.
Placental abruption can happen to any pregnant woman and can threaten the life of both baby and mother. If you have questions about the cause of your placental abruption, contact the experienced attorneys at Holton Law. Give us a call at 888-443-4387, or fill out our contact form to learn more about your legal options.
What can I do if an uninsured driver hits me?
As a responsible driver, you follow the laws that govern road safety, and you keep your auto insurance policy up to date. However, not all people carry auto insurance, even though Tennessee state law requires drivers to have liability insurance. If you’re hit by an uninsured driver, you may wonder who will pay for the damages.
Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you were hit by an uninsured motorist, you should first check your own policy for uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, as auto insurers offer coverage against drivers who don’t carry insurance. To find out if you have UM coverage, get a copy of your policy from your insurance company, check your declarations page, and look for UM coverage. If you have it, there should be a dollar amount listed next to it for how much your policy covers you against uninsured motorists.
What If I Don’t Have UM Coverage?
In 2009, the Insurance Research Council reported that 24 percent of Tennessee drivers didn’t carry insurance. Some of these drivers cite rising insurance costs and poor economy as reasons for not maintaining adequate car insurance. If you are a driver who doesn’t carry UM coverage, you still have options, including:
- Personal injury protection. Your insurance policy may provide personal injury protection coverage, which should cover any injuries from the crash. Again, check the declarations page on your policy to see if you have this type of coverage.
- File a claim against the at-fault driver. If you pay for your own medical bills, rental car, and car repairs, it’s possible to file a claim against the uninsured driver to recover these costs.
If you’ve been hit by an uninsured driver and you have questions about your insurance policy or how to proceed with filing a claim against the driver who hit you, call the experienced lawyers at Holton Law. We can help you navigate the legal process to recover damages after the accident.
What is prolonged labor?
Having a child is usually an exciting time for parents, and expectations are high that the delivery will be normal and uneventful. However, some women experience complications during child birth—problems that can endanger the life of their child. One type of complication is prolonged labor. This problem—also known as “failure to progress”—occurs when labor for a first-time mother continues for 20 hours or more. If the mother has given birth at least once before, she’s considered to have prolonged labor after 14 hours.
The Causes and Risks of Prolonged Labor
Prolonged labor can occur when the baby’s head is bigger than the mother’s birth canal and has difficulty moving through it. Additionally, if the baby is in an abnormal position within the uterus, there are problems with the mother’s contractions, or there are problems with anesthesia, these can cause prolonged labor.
Signs of a prolonged labor include maternal exhaustion, high pulse rate, a tender uterus, and back pain. The following are risks involved with prolonged labor:
- Intracranial hemorrhaging
- Post partum hemorrhaging
- Fetal distress
- Hypoxia, ischemia, and asphyxia
- Intrauterine infection
A prolonged labor can put your baby at risk. If your child was injured as a result of a prolonged labor, the Holton Law Firm can help. Contact us at 888-443-4387 for a free consultation, and we’ll discuss your specific situation to determine if the hospital or medical staff made mistakes when dealing with your prolonged labor.