Last year, 40,200 people lost their lives in car accidents. Think about that. 40,200 lives cut short. 40,200 funerals. 40,200 families mourning the loss of a loved one. For more perspective on that, the Chicago White Sox stadium holds 40,615 people, so we lost almost a stadium full of people to car accidents last year. The death toll represents a 6% increase over 2015 and a 14% increase over 2014. Experts attribute the rise in deaths to a number of factors and, of course, have offered suggestions to protect yourself. Continue reading
We wrote just a few days ago about the bus crash in Nashville involving a school bus in Chester County. That school bus wreck was bad enough, but today’s school bus accident in Chattanooga is even more tragic.
Apparently, a school bus filled with 35 children crashed into a tree. It has been reported that six children have died in the crash off Talley Road in Hamilton County and many others have been injured, some in critical condition. The students attended Woodmore Elementary School.
No information about the cause of the crash is currently publicly available, although speed is being investigated as a factor. Reportedly the school bus driver is cooperating with authorities. UPDATE: CNN reports that the bus driver, Johnthony Walker, 24, has been charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving and that the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating on Tuesday November 22. Continue reading
The Chester County school bus crash in Nashville injuring 23 students (with 20 more seeking a medical evaluation) provides a good opportunity to remind our readers of one of the most unfair provisions of Tennessee law. That’s saying a lot – there are lots of unfair parts of Tennessee personal injury and wrongful death law – but this one is a biggie.
Most people think that people and companies who harm others should be held accountable for the harm they cause. But, when a local government causes harm, its accountability is very limited. Local governments (and the state and federal government) can only be sued under certain circumstances and when they can be sued special rules apply. The special rules are set forth in the Tennessee governmental tort liability act and the relevant case law. (Claims against the State of Tennessee are addressed in a separate law.)
The Chester County school bus crash shines the light on two of the special rules. Before I discuss them please know that I know nothing of the facts of the accident. I have seen the news reports, but cannot vouch for their accuracy or completeness.
The last two posts have been about the John Jay High School incident in which two players purposefully hit a referee from behind and then while he was lying prone on the ground. The first post examined Tennessee civil (not criminal) law on assault and battery. The second post reviewed the defense of provocation because the players claimed they were provoked by the referee’s use of racial slurs against them. On our final post on this incident, we will discuss Tennessee’s law on defamation. The referee has insinuated he might take legal action against the players for falsely stating he made racist remarks to, in what he believes, justify their battery of him. And yes, this all really did start as part of a high school football game.
Under Tennessee law, defamation can take two forms: slander and libel. Libel is a written defamatory statement and slander is a spoken defamatory statement. If someone has slandered you, then you have 6 months to bring suit. If someone has committed libel against you, you have one year to bring suit. To prove a case for defamation, you must show: Continue reading
First, allow me to use an example to explain subrogation: You are hurt in an accident. You go to the emergency room, are admitted to the hospital for several weeks and then have a few months of follow-up appointments and physical therapy. After deductibles and co-pays, your health insurance company pays all of your medical bills. After you recover from the accident, you settle your injury case with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Using the money you got from your settlement, you buy your first home. Several months later, you get a letter from your medical insurance carrier demanding to be paid back for the medical bills they paid on your behalf after the accident. You no longer have the cash because you bought a home, but they are threatening to sue you.
Can they do that? What about if you are on Medicare or Tenncare? Isn’t that why you paid the premiums for your medical insurance? If they sue me, could they take my house or garnish my wages? What if I never tell them about my accident? Continue reading
According to the Administrative Office of the Courts data, for the 2013-2014 reporting year, there were 10,232 tort cases filed in the State of Tennessee. (Tort cases are claims for injury or death and include medical malpractice or healthcare liability claims.) During that same time frame, 10,322 cases were concluded in some fashion such as dismissal, settlement or trial. However, very few were concluded by way of a trial. In fact, only 416 cases or 4% of tort or healthcare liability cases were tried in the entire State of Tennessee last year. So what kind of verdicts were returned in these 416 cases? Continue reading
Almost two decades ago, Congress decided $200 million should be the most a passenger train company like Amtrak should be required to pay to injury victims. Sounds like a lot of money, but let’s look at that for just a moment.
Passenger trains can hold hundreds of people and train wrecks can cause an array of injuries from broken bones to death. Without knowing how many people would be injured or what type of injuries they sustained, Congress set a limit on how much money, as a group, they could recover. Congress set a limit without knowing how many people would be killed and what those lives lost meant to their families. For example, was the person who was killed the sole breadwinner for a family consisting of three very young children? But it gets worse. Continue reading
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.
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.