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 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 subpoena duces tecum?
A subpoena duces tecum is an order from the court that requires that you appear with certain documents (books, papers, or other physical evidence) or electronic data. Sometimes, this kind of subpoena is called a “subpoena for the production of evidence,” and it’s usually requested when the parties involved in a case, or their attorneys, need documents from a third party not involved in the case. In the state of Tennessee, this subpoena can be served by a sheriff, one of the attorneys in the case, or by a Private Process Server. Once you get a subpoena duces tecum, you must appear in court and bring the requested documents with you.
Is a Subpoena Duces Tecum the Same as a Subpoena?
A standard subpoena, also called a “subpoena ad testificandum,” is different from a subpoena duces tecum which does not require the third party to testify in court. All that’s required is for the third party to present the necessary documents. Sometimes, both types of these subpoenas are combined in court. For example, if a person is summoned to give a deposition, he may also have to present the required documents. This is a common practice in court.
In the past, a subpoena duces tecum usually required that a person deliver the specific items to the court where the case was taking place. However, today it is more common for the documents to be delivered to the attorney’s office that originally creates the request. The subpoena duces tecum usually includes a date and time for the delivery of these documents, and if this deadline isn’t met, the third party can face penalties.
If you have any questions regarding subpoena duces tecums or any other type of subpoena, don’t hesitate to contact the Holton Law firm at 888-443-4387. We’re happy to help you, or you can also explore our Frequently Asked Questions page on our website.
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.
Can I sue the other driver even If I got a ticket after a wreck?
Following your crash at a four-way stop intersection, you were issued a ticket by the officer who responded to the incident. You are certain that you were not at fault and that the other driver failed to stop at all before hitting you in the intersection. Since you were ticketed, you are wondering if there is any action you can take to recover damages from the other driver. Rest assured, all is not lost. It may still be possible to assign fault to the other driver.
Determining Fault After the Fact
The officer who responded to the crash did not see the crash and may not have even conducted an investigation. He may have simply ticketed both parties involved, or he may have wrongly determined fault based on the appearance of the cars or what the drivers said. In order to get traffic moving again, he may not have taken the time necessary to accurately assess the scene. With the help of an experienced car wreck attorney, there are some steps you can take after the accident to place fault where it belongs so that you can pursue an injury claim:
- Interview witnesses. If you were able to collect names and phone numbers of witnesses at the scene, your attorney will be able to easily locate them for follow-up interviews. If you did not get this information, it may be available from the police report.
- Reconstruct the crash. Attorneys often work with an accident reconstructionist who can examine tire markings, damage done to the cars, and photos of the scene to determine exactly what happened.
- Obtain surveillance footage. If there are surveillance cameras in the area, footage may show the accident. An attorney will be able to secure this footage and submit it as evidence.
- Depose the other driver. Before presenting your claim to the other driver’s insurance company, an attorney will question the other driver and get his version of events.
- Correct or amend the police report. If the police report reflects the events incorrectly, an attorney can file a correction or amendment to the report so that insurance adjusters can hear your side of the story.
If you truly were not at fault in the accident, these actions should prove that definitively and you could be compensated the full amount of your damages. However, if there is any doubt as to your contribution to the crash, you may end up sharing the blame.
Tennessee’s Modified Comparative Negligence
If the insurance company finds that you are partially to blame in the wreck, despite obtaining all the evidence you can, you may still be entitled to partial compensation. Under Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence law, if you are determined to be 49 percent or less at fault for the crash, you may be awarded the amount of your damages minus the percentage of fault. For example, if your damages total $100,000 and you are determined to be 40 percent at fault, you will be awarded $60,000. If you are 50 percent or more at fault, however, you will not receive any compensation.
It’s Complicated—Call Us!
Determination of fault and comparative negligence laws are complicated legal issues. Don’t attempt to navigate these waters on your own. Call the Holton Law Firm now to schedule a free review of your case. You have nothing to lose!
It there Somewhere to Check to see if a Product has been recalled?
Yes. The Consumer Products Safety Commission maintains a web site where you can check for product recalls. If you have questions about a specific product, you can check it by going to
I just read that one of my Prescriptions has been recalled, what should I do?
If you are taking a medication which is the subject of a recall, you should contact your doctor immediately. Make sure you advise your doctor what you are taking, and where and when you heard of a recall. Sometimes you may need to keep taking the medication until you are put on something to replace it.
How Can I find Out if the Medicine I am on is recalled?
Many times we hear from friends or family that a medication has been recalled. Sometimes this is true, but many times it can be just a rumor. The Food and Drug Administration maintains a web site where recalls are listed and updated. If you have questions about your specific medication, you can check it at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/
If you have questions about drug recalls and drug injury claims, you can contact us at the Holton Law Firm so we can investigate your claim. We keep up with the latest drug safety information and what claims are being brought and why.