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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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 lawyers 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.
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.