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 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.
What is preterm premature rupture of membranes?
Preparing for a child’s birth should be an exciting time for a parent. However, it’s always possible for complications and problems to occur during delivery. One type of complication happens when the mother’s water breaks prematurely. This is known as premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and will not normally cause serious issues for either the woman or child. Preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), however, can present far more serious problems and threaten the health of the unborn child. It’s important to understand the risk factors and complications of PPROM.
What Is PROM and PPROM?
When a pregnant woman is ready to deliver her child, usually her water breaks. The membranes, or layers of tissue holding fluid, rupture. However, sometimes her water breaks when there is no sign of labor. This is called premature rupture of membranes (PROM). If the woman is beyond 37 weeks of pregnancy, babies are considered full term, so PROM is not typically a reason for concern.
If the woman’s water breaks before the 37th week of pregnancy, this is called preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), and it is a far more serious condition for the mother and child. Basically, the earlier these membranes rupture, the more critical the health issues.
What Causes PROM and PPROM?
Each case of PROM and PPROM is different, and it’s not always easy to determine why a woman’s water breaks prematurely. However, there are a few risk factors that have been associated with both PROM and PPROM, including:
- Uterine infections
- Stretching of the amniotic sac
- Smoking while pregnant
- Lack of adequate prenatal care
- Sexually transmitted diseases that have gone untreated
- Vaginal bleeding
- Previous PROM or PPROM occurrences in past pregnancies
What Are the Dangers of PPROM?
When a woman experiences PPROM, it’s possible for the following complications to occur:
- A serious infection of the placenta known as chorioamnionitis that can be very dangerous to both baby and mother
- A greater chance of a prolapsed umbilical cord
- A premature birth, which can lead to an underdeveloped infant
- An infection in the newborn such as septicemia or pneumonia
We Can Help
If your doctor failed to treat an infection, STD, or other problem that caused your PROM or PPROM or failed to diagnose and treat the condition leading to your child’s birth injury, you may want to seek legal help. Contact the Holton Law Firm in Memphis at 888-443-4387 to discuss your case.
What is a vacuum extraction?
With you’re about to give birth, you want to feel sure that, as a parent, you’ve done everything you can to deliver a healthy baby. However, sometimes deliveries don’t go as planned, and the doctor needs to use special equipment to help deliver your child. This is called an “assisted” delivery. Sometimes the doctor will use forceps—an instrument that looks like a long pair of tongs; or, he may use a vacuum extractor to apply gentle suction to the top of the baby’s head to help pull or “vacuum” the baby out of the vaginal canal.
Approximately 10 percent of births need help with special equipment, and while vacuum extractions have grown in popularity, there are dangers involved with this assisted delivery. It’s important to know how this assisted delivery happens and the dangers it could present to your child.
When Doctors Use a Vacuum Extraction
There are situations when a doctor needs assistance to deliver a newborn vaginally. These situations include:
- The baby is displaying a fatal heart rate.
- The baby isn’t progressing properly to the second stage of labor.
- The baby is not positioned properly and/or gets stuck during the process of birth.
- The mother is in the second stage of labor for too long.
- The mother isn’t able to finish the vaginal birth because of fatigue.
- The mother’s pelvis is too small for the birth.
- The baby is too large.
The Dangers of a Vacuum Extraction Delivery
While the use of a vacuum extraction can aid a difficult birth, a vacuum extractor can present the following real dangers to the child:
- Damage to the baby’s sensitive scalp and skull (mostly cosmetic damage that will heal within a couple of months)
- Brain hemorrhages or swelling
- Skull fractures
- Severe nerve damage
If your child suffers any of these damages, he is at risk of cerebral palsy as well as intellectual and motor disabilities. If your doctor does not properly use the vacuum extractor because he is inexperienced, the fetus is premature, or there are other labor complications, your child could be at risk for these injuries.
Seek Legal Action
If your child has suffered injuries due to a vacuum extraction, don’t hesitate to contact the Holton Law Firm to help you build a case. A birth injury can change the life of a child and your entire family. Contact us for a free consultation.
What is subrogation, and how does it affect my car accident case?
If you are involved in a car accident and file a lawsuit against the negligent driver, you may have to deal with a process known as subrogation if you win. This process allows for the healthcare insurance company to be paid back for the medical bills it paid on your behalf if you win your lawsuit and recover damages.
After an accident, you may have a growing number of medical bills to deal with it. Hospital stays, doctor visits, medication, and other treatment can make the cost of an accident very expensive. Usually, a secondary payer such as a private health insurance company will cover the costs of these expenses. If you take legal action against the negligent driver and receive compensation after the case, that secondary payer will want to be paid back for the amount covered for you. In other words, that company has a right of subrogation.
If you’ve hired a legal representative but don’t have insurance, the attorney can help get you needed medical assistance and have your medical bills paid. However, if you recover damages after your lawsuit, those medical providers who helped with the cost expect to be reimbursed. In this case, the medical provider has a right of subrogation.
Negotiating the Subrogation Process
It’s important to know that subrogation is often negotiable. The amount you owe back to the insurance company or other party may be far less than what is being communicated. And a skilled attorney can help you with this part of your financial obligation of reimbursement. Additionally, your insurance company is required to let you know they are seeking subrogation. Failing to communicate this action is against the law.
We Can Help
If you’ve been in a car accident and need assistance with your case and potential subrogation costs, don’t hesitate to contact the Holton Law Firm. We’ll work with you to determine the specifics of your accident and attempt to lower potential subrogation costs.
Do I need a copy of the police report after my accident?
After seeking medical care for your injuries, one of the first things you should do following a car accident is obtain a copy of the accident report. This report was written by the police officer who responded to your accident and contains information that will be important for any accident or injury claim you decide to make.
What Information Is in an Accident Report?
If you were injured in the accident, or even if you were just shaken up, it will be difficult for you to gather information at the scene and you may have a hard time remembering details from the crash even a few days later. The police report will provide the following details:
- The date and time of the accident
- Where the accident occurred
- Names of other drivers involved
- Makes and models of all of the vehicles involved
- Whether the drivers have insurance
Also included in the report will be a narrative explanation of what happened in the crash. The responding officer will examine the scene, survey the damage, and interview witnesses in order to piece together what happened and who was at fault.
What Can You Do With the Report?
Because the officer did not actually witness the accident, his report will not be admissible in court. However, the information will be used by attorneys for those involved and by insurance adjusters to determine fault and settlement amounts. It is important that the information in the report is accurate. If you feel that the report contains inaccurate information, you may be able to take action to correct the mistakes or at least submit an addendum to the report with your version of events. In order to do this, you will need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney. An attorney will know how to get a report, how to use it to your advantage, and how to correct it if necessary.
The Holton Law Firm Can Help
While you can obtain your own copy of the crash report from the Central Records Office for less than a dollar, if you are planning to pursue a settlement for your injuries, you may want to find an attorney to represent you. Schedule a free evaluation of your case at the Holton Law Firm and we will help you get a crash report and investigate your crash.
Do I need to be concerned about suffering a uterine rupture?
While a pregnancy following a previous C-section is not generally considered to be a high-risk pregnancy, there are some risks to the health of the mother and the baby, most significantly, the risk of uterine rupture. A uterine rupture is a life-threatening medical emergency and expectant mothers should be aware of the risk during pregnancy and delivery.
What Is a Uterine Rupture?
A uterine rupture is a tear along the wall of the uterus, usually along a previous C-section incision or at the site of other uterine surgery. In a complete rupture, the tear goes through all the layers of the uterine wall, resulting in extreme danger to the mother and baby. Uterine ruptures are fairly rare occurrences, especially for women who have not had previous uterine surgery, but are still a concern for women who have had a C-section in the past and are attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
What Are the Signs of Uterine Rupture?
Uterine ruptures usually occur in the early stages of labor, but they can happen before labor even begins. The initial signs are often overlooked by labor and delivery staff as they focus on other aspects of the delivery. Signs may include:
- Abnormality in the baby’s heart rate
- Abdominal pain
- Vaginal bleeding
- Mother’s rapid pulse
- Signs of shock
- Chest pain
- Slowing or stopping of labor
Doctors and nurses attending to women attempting a VBAC should be watching for these symptoms of a uterine rupture and a C-section should be performed immediately if a uterine rupture is suspected.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Women who have had one previous C-section with a low-transverse uterine incision are considered good candidates for VBACs as the risk of uterine rupture is believed to be less than one percent. However, women who have had multiple previous C-sections, or who had a vertical uterine incision, have a much higher chance of a uterine rupture during a VBAC. If your doctor did not advise you of the risks or did not react quickly enough during your labor and you suffer a uterine rupture, you may have a case for medical malpractice.
Our Attorneys Know What to Do Next
The experienced medical malpractice and birth injury attorneys at Holton Law understand that you have already been through a tough time. We know that the decision to pursue a medical malpractice claim is not an easy one. We will be with you every step of the way to make sure are comfortable with the process and that you and your baby get the settlement you deserve.