Articles Posted in Damages in Personal Injury Cases

It is Friday and we are covering verdict and trial statistics for the last of the largest four cities in Tennessee — Memphis/Shelby County,  the Thirtieth Judicial District.  

Last fiscal year, 1,747 new tort cases (lawsuits for personal injury or wrongful death) were filed in Shelby County courts and 1,817 were resolved.  Shelby County had more trials than any other county in the State with 76 — 53 jury trials and 23 bench trials.  Of those 76 trials, the injured party won 44 of the cases.  In the other 32 cases, the injured party did not receive any compensation whatsoever. 

In terms of verdicts, the total dollar amount awarded in all 44 trials was $10,891,198.00 for an average award of $247,527.00.  The verdicts can be broken down even further:  37 of the trials resulted in verdicts of less than $100,000.00; 5 of the trials resulted in verdicts ranging between $100,000.00 to $999,999.99; and 2 of the trials resulted in verdicts that exceeded One Million Dollars.  Obviously, a relatively small number of large verdicts had a significant impact on the average verdict figure.

Historically, Shelby County (Memphis) has been a good venue for injury victims.  This year, Davidson County (Nashville) had a slightly higher average verdict but that was caused by one case which resulted in the largest verdict in the entire State for the year (the verdict was in excess of $13 million). However,  the average Shelby County verdict was substantially higher than Knox County (Knoxville) or Hamilton County (Chattanooga).  

The jurisdiction in which your injury case will be venued is one of a myriad of factors used to assess the value of your case.  At the Law Offices of John Day, our award-winning lawyers represent people across the State of Tennessee and we carefully watch the verdicts and trial statistics for each county.  If you have a question about your jurisdiction or would like to discuss your injury case, call us anytime at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 or simply fill out this form for a no-fee, no-obligation consultation.   

Today, we are looking at trial and verdict information for Chattanooga/Hamilton County, which is the Eleventh Judicial District.  The Administrative Office of the Courts’ report reveals 711 tort lawsuits (claims for personal injury or wrongful death) were filed in Chattanooga during the last fiscal year and Chattanooga courts disposed of 693 tort cases.  During the last year, 37 cases went to trial in Chattanooga with 21 jury trials and 16 bench or judge trials.   Of the 37 cases went that actually went to trial, only 10 resulted in the injured party receiving any money.  So in more than 2/3 of the trials, the injured party received nothing.  

And in the cases the injured party actually won, the verdict news is similarly bleak.  Not a single case resulted in a verdict of $100,000.00 or more.  The total dollars awarded for all ten cases was $303,648.00 so the average award in each case was $30.365.00.  Of course, we do not know the facts of each one of those cases but we do know this: there is a reason they call it a trial.  It is hard, emotionally-draining and exhausting for the parties and their attorneys.  And most injured people who go through a trial expect their recovery to be more than that, and it should be if they have serious injuries. 

We really can not emphasize enough how important it is for you to select an experienced and well-qualified lawyer.  Of course, we hope you hire us and we believe our awards and client testimonials speak for themselves.  But even if you do not hire us, use this information sheet to help you find a skilled lawyer who can help maximize your recovery.  If you would like to schedule a free and no-obligation consultation, simply fill out this form or call us anytime at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787.  We handle all personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.

This week, we are examining trial and case statistics from the Administrative Office of the Court’s yearly report, Annual Report of the Tennessee Judiciary for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013.  Today, we take a closer look at Knoxville.  

Last year, 938 tort lawsuits (claims for personal injury or wrongful death) were filed in Knox County.  38 cases went to trial — 23 of them were jury trials and 15 were judge or bench trials.  Of the 38 case that went to trial, the injured party recovered money in less than half of those trials (18 of  38).  

Of the 18 cases that actually went to trial and resulted in a verdict for the injured or deceased party, 14 of those cases had an award in the range of $0 to $99,999.99.  Three cases had verdicts in the range of $100,000.00 to $999,999.99 and only one case had a verdict in excess of $1,000,000.00.   The average award for verdicts in Knox County, Tennessee was $149,205.00, a number driven significantly upward by the one verdict that was in excess of $1,000,000.

Of course, the value of any case is dependent on many factors,  including the underlying facts of the accident, the nature and severity of the injuries, the jurisdiction in which the lawsuit must be filed, etc.  But, another important factor is the skill of the lawyer handling the case. At the Law Offices of John Day, our award-winning lawyers are experienced in handling all types of personal injury and wrongful death cases.  We invite you to review the testimonials of our satisfied clients and then contact us online or call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your injury case. 

Last week, we told you that the Administrative Office of the Courts had published the Annual Report of the Tennessee Judiciary for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013. The report provides information on the number of tort filings (lawsuits alleging personal injury or wrongful death), the number of trials and verdict information.  

Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee are in the Twentieth Judicial District. For the year ending June 30, 2013, 1,571 tort cases were filed in the Twentieth Judicial District and 1,441 tort cases were disposed of by either trial, motion, dismissal, etc. Only 66 cases went to trial in Davidson County – 35 were jury trials and 31 were bench or judge trials. Of the 66 cases that went to trial, 43 resulted in a verdict for the injured party. Here is the breakdown of the awards:

·        The vast majority of the cases (34 of them) resulted in verdicts that were less than $100,000.00. 

·        Seven of the cases had verdicts of less than $1,000,000.00 .

·        Two of the cases had verdicts which exceeded $1,000,000.00.

·        While the average verdict was $325,250.00, the average was greatly inflated by one particular verdict in the amount of $13,623,000.00, which happened to be the largest verdict in the State of Tennessee last year. 

Before anyone starts declaring a $13 million dollar verdict excessive, let me tell you the facts of the case. It was a medical malpractice case alleging negligence in the labor and delivery of a baby. Because of the medical malpractice, the baby was born permanently brain damaged and will need ongoing medical care for the rest of his life. In addition, he was permanently impaired from having any sort of normal family, social, recreational or wage-earning activities. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in Nashville and would like to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our award-winning attorneys to confidentially discuss your case, get your questions answered and have your legal rights explained to you in clear terms, contact us by calling 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 or simply fill out this online form.

 

The Administrative Office of the Courts has released the Annual Report of the Tennessee Judiciary for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013.  The report provides detailed information on each judicial district in the state. For instance, the report indicates the number of tort cases (claims for personal injury or wrongful death) filed in each district. It also provides information on how quickly cases are being disposed of in each district, the number of jury trials, the number of bench or judge trials, the average jury award, etc.  

At the Law Offices of John Day, we carefully review this report looking for trends in tort cases or in a particular judicial district. Over the next few days, we will be posting summaries from the report about the big four: Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville. And over the next few weeks, we will be updating our website to reflect the new data for individual judicial districts. 

But for today, here are the statewide numbers for the fiscal year 2012-2013:

·        385 medical malpractice cases were filed in the entire State of Tennessee. Let’s put that number in context for a minute. A 2013 study in the Journal of Patient Safety estimated 400,000 Americans will die each year due to medical errors. As for injuries, there are another approximately 15 million patients harmed each year according to The Institute for Healthcare Improvement. With that background, it would be a stretch to say that 385 medical malpractice filings (remember, these are not wins) is an epidemic. To the contrary, of the 370 medical malpractice cases only 24 went to trial and the average award was $349,354.38. 

·        9,868 tort cases were filed and 9,767 tort cases were disposed of during the fiscal year. The average award was $63,076. There were 17 cases with awards between $500,000 and $1,000,000. And, there were 16 cases with awards over $1,000,000. But there were not any cases with awards over $10,000,000.

These statistics emphasize the need to hire an experienced lawyer to help you and your family with your personal injury or wrongful death case.   If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your case, simply fill out this online form or call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 for a free, no-obligation consultation.  

The Law Offices of John Day, P.C. website has just added some new material on the damages that can be awarded to Tennessee personal injury victims.

The new pages on our website address the issue of the limits on damages in Tennessee cases after the new tort reform law and gives an example of how tort reform limits damage awards in Tennessee.  Also discussed is whether prejudgment interest applies to damage awards in personal injury cases in Tennessee and how subrogation affects the recovery of damages in Tennessee injury cases.  We also explain how a jury determines the amount of damages to be awarded in a Tennessee injury case.

We hope that this information will assist you as you attempt to understand Tennessee law of damages.  Our website allows has lots of other information that can assist you in getting a better grasp on Tennessee personal injury law, so take some time to review other pages on the site as well.  Of course, each case is different, so be sure to speak to a competent, experienced lawyer before taking any action that will affect your legal rights.

Here are the results for personal injury and wrongful death jury trials in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee for January, 201.

Automobile Case:  $339,163 for the Plaintiff

Automobile Case:  $143,451 plus $7500 for the Plaintiff

Automobile Case:  $10,001 (minus 20% for comparative fault) for the Plaintiff

Negligence / Breach of Warranty:  Defense verdict.

 

 

 

Under Tennessee injury law, a person who causes harm to another is responsible for the reasonable medical costs incurred by the injured party to diagnosis and treat injuries that were caused in the incident and to pay the present day value of future medical expenses likely to be incurred in the future as a result of injuries caused in the incident.

However, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is only responsible for future medical expenses that are more likely than not to occur in the future, not those that might occur.  Thus, your ability to recover future medical expenses for injuries that arise out of car or truck accident is dependent on medical testimony that, more likely than not, an injury that happened in the accident will require medical treatment in the future.

The following example will help in understanding the law.  Assume you are hurt in a Tennessee truck  accident and suffer a fractured hip.  You undergo hip surgery and physical therapy.  Your total medical bills are $60,000.  The insurance company wants to settle your case, but you and your lawyer are concerned about the risk of future surgery because your doctor has told you that you might have to have hip replacement surgery in the future.  Hip replacement surgery is expensive, and you want to have the at-fault driver’s insurance company pay for the surgery if it occurs.  How can you make that happen?

You cannot.  The at-fault driver’s insurance company will never agree to cover medical bills that are incurred after your settlement or trial.  And your lawyer can not ask the judge or jury for a court order that requires the the at-fault driver or that driver’s insurance company to pay your future medical bills as they occur in the future.  

If you want to recover the value of the future surgery, you will have to present medical proof that, (a) your hip was fractured in the accident; (b) your hip had to be surgically repaired; (c) as a result it is likely that you will need hip replacement surgery in the future.  Here is a short-hand version of the testimony you would like to have:

In my opinion as an orthopedic surgeon, it is very likely Ms. Jones will require hip replacement surgery in 12 – 15 years.  The cost of that surgery today would be $75,000.  After that surgery, it is my opinion that Ms. Jones will require 18 – 24 physical therapy sessions to recover full mobility.  Today, those sessions cost $110 each.    In my experience, a hip replacement typically provides relief to the patient for only 15 years.  Thus, give the fact that Mrs. Jones was only 48 years old when her hip was fractured in the truck accident, she will need at least one more hip replacement in the lifetime.  After this surgery, the same number of physical therapy sessions will be necessary.  I hold these opinions to a reasonable degree of medical certainty.

With this type of evidence, a lawyer will then use an appropriate expert to estimate the costs of two hip replacement surgeries  and the future physical therapy (adjusting for inflation ) and the same (or another) expert to reduce the cost of the future treatment to current day dollars (the "present value" of the future expenses).  This number is then taken into account in determining the total settlement or, if there is no settlement, the total damages awarded by the jury.

As indicated earlier, however, medical evidence is required to prove these expenses and the need for the surgery, and the medical evidence must meet the "more likely than not" threshold.  If a doctor says that future medical expenses are only "possible," that they "could" happen, or that they "might" occur, Tennessee law will not permit those expenses to be recovered in a personal injury case.  Insurance companies are well-aware of this law, so it is important to have documentation of the this medical evidence at the time of settlement negotiations.  If there is a trial, testimony of the appropriate experts will be required to establish the need and cost of future medical expenses.

The entire issue of future medical expenses is another reason why it is important to employ an experienced person injury lawyer to assist you in Tennessee automobile and truck wreck cases and in all other types of personal injury cases.  A good lawyer not only understands the law but can work with medical expenses to present your case in the best possible light.  Of course, a lawyer cannot or will not force a doctor to give anything other than the doctor’s honest opinion, but a very good lawyer will work with your doctor to make sure he or she understands that the law does not require absolute certainty on this issue but instead only requires that an opinion on future medical expenses be held at the "more likely than not" level of certainty.

 

 

The Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts has released information about Tennessee personal injury and Tennessee wrongful death cases filed and tried in Dickson County, Tennessee for the year ended June 30, 2012.

Here is the data;

 

  • Total personal injury and wrongful death cases filed in court: – 52
  • Total personal injury and wrongful death cases resolved in court – 62
  • Total number of cases going to trial – 0
  • Total number of jury trials – 0
  • Total number of non-jury trials – 0
  • Total number of cases in which damages were awarded – 0 (NA%)
  • Total number of cases where damages awarded was between $1 and $99,999 – 0
  • Total number of cases where damages awarded was between $100,000 and $999,99 – 0
  • Total number of cases where damages awarded exceeded $1,000,000 – 0
  • Total damages awarded in all cases – $0
  • Average damages awarded – $0

There was not a single trial in a personal injury or wrongful death case in Dickson County, Tennessee in the year ended June 30, 2012.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be.  Dozens of Tennessee counties had no personal injury or wrongful death trials during the same period, and others had one or two trials.  Even the second largest county, Davidson, had only 69 trials (47 of them jury trials) that year.  Shelby County had only 79 (47 of them jury trials).

Of course, there are people who are hurt in Dickson County, Tennessee car accidents and other incidents, but many of those cases are settled before suit is filed and still others are settled after a lawsuit is filed but before a trial.

An experienced Tennessee personal injury lawyer can help you navigate your way through the complicated court system and can prepare your case so that it can be resolved for an amount you deserve.

If you need a Dickson County, Tennessee personal injury lawyer call me for a free consultation. My toll-free number is 866-812-8787. You may also complete our Contact Form and we will call you back promptly. 

The Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts has released information about Tennessee personal injury and Tennessee wrongful death cases filed in Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee for the year ended June 30, 2012.

Here is the data;

  • Total personal injury and wrongful death cases filed in court: – 1768
  • Total personal injury and wrongful death cases resolved in court – 1958
  • Total number of cases going to trial – 79
  • Total number of jury trials – 47
  • Total number of non-jury trials – 32
  • Total number of cases in which damages were awarded 50 
  • Total number of cases where damages awarded was between $1 and $99,999 – 35
  • Total number of cases where damages awarded was between $100,000 and $999,99 – 11
  • Total number of cases where damages awarded exceeded $1,000,000 – 4
  • Total damages awarded in all cases – $40,443,910
  • Average damages awarded – $808,878

These statistics show one of the great flaws of statistics.  The total damages awarded figure includes an award of $20,000,000 that was significantly remitted by the trial judge.  Thus, the average damages awarded" figure is skewed significantly.  Also note that the twenty-nine (29) cases in which the plaintiff received no damages is not included in the "average."

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate your way through the complicated court system and can help you not only resolve your case but also help you avoid problems that can complicate your future access to health care.

If you need a  Memphis or Shelby County, Tennessee injury or wrongful death lawyer call me for a free consultation. My toll-free number is 866-812-8787. You may also complete our Contact Form and we will call you back promptly.