Winchester, TN Personal Injury lawyer
“Personal injury” is a legal term which means an injury or death caused by the negligent behavior of another. Claimants in personal injury cases may seek compensation for economic losses, such as property damage and medical costs, as well as non-economic losses, such as emotional anguish, humiliation, and grief.
The basis for personal injury cases can vary, but some of the most common suits concern:
- Vehicle accidents
- Slip-and-fall (premises liability)
- Wrongful death
- Nursing home negligence
- Workplace accidents
- Product liability
- Hunting accidents
Why Walmart Has Become a Public Nuisance
Imagine a place where hundreds of thousands of petty crimes happen each year, where – on average – there is at least one violent crime committed each day, where police resources are strained to respond to the overwhelming occurrence of crime. Perhaps you’ve envisioned a major American city plagued with urban decay, or a third-world country riddled with social unrest. But the description above is not of a dangerous city or a remote, war-torn country – it’s of Walmart.
Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits
Under Tennessee law, a plaintiff in a personal injury case can collect no more than $750,000 in non-economic damages, with a few exceptions. In the case of catastrophic injury, which includes some spinal cord injuries, severe burns, and wrongful death of a parent with a surviving minor, a jury may award up to $1 million in damages.
If the act that caused the injury was malicious, intentional, fraudulent or reckless, a plaintiff may also pursue punitive damages – a monetary penalty intended to punish a wrongdoer. Those awards cannot exceed $500,000, or two times the amount of compensatory damages, unless the plaintiff can show one of the following:
- The defendant intended to – and did – seriously injure the plaintiff.
- The defendant falsified, hid, or destroyed evidence in an effort to hide his liability.
- The defendant, at the time of the accident, was under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
Before 2011, there was no cap on non-economic damages in civil litigation. The $750,000 limit was established in the Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011. In March 2015, a Tennessee circuit court judge ruled the damage cap is unconstitutional, which means the state supreme court may end up deliberating the constitutionality of the law. As of June 2014, eight state supreme courts had declared their laws capping non-economic damages to be unconstitutional.
The Cost of Medical Care in Tennessee
Some injuries are so severe that they result in long stays in the hospital and multiple procedures.
In 2002, a 6-year-old boy was seriously injured in a car crash that killed his father and grandfather. He spent 54 days in the hospital, as doctors worked to repair his spine, intestines, lungs and abdomen, along with several other injuries. He then spent 25 days at a children’s hospital, and after his release, he was hospitalized several times for the treatment of infections and complications that arose from his injuries. The boy’s mother filed a suit against Ford Motor Co., claiming a seat belt defect had caused her son’s injury. A jury awarded $43.8 million in damages to the mother, and found Ford was 15 percent at fault and therefore liable for $6.75 million of the total award.
In instances of extreme disabling injury or death, families count on the justice system to help them cope with the costs of medical care and loss of income. And in order to achieve a favorable outcome, it’s important to find an experienced Winchester, TN personal injury lawyer. John R. Colvin has represented the interests of many families in personal injury cases. If you need help with your personal injury case, call us today for a free consultation, at (931) 962-1044.
TN Health Care Negligence
When an injury arises in the care of another – in a hospital or nursing home, for example – the victim may have a hard time proving a claim of negligence. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 29-26-115, states, “ … injury alone does not raise a presumption of the defendant’s negligence.”
To prevail in a claim of negligence against a health care provider, a plaintiff must provide evidence that establishes the standard of professional care for the defendant’s specific function and that the defendant “acted with less than or failed to act with ordinary and reasonable care in accordance with such standard.”
These types of cases can become complicated when the suit is filed by the family member of a victim who is incapacitated or who is unable to deliver clear testimony about the cause of their injury. That’s one reason why nursing home abuse or neglect may be difficult to prove, although statistics indicate nursing home patients are routinely exposed to unreasonable hazards.
As of June 2015, data from the previous three inspection cycles of Tennessee nursing homes found that of 321 homes inspected, 37 had serious deficiencies, meaning factors that put residents in immediate jeopardy. One nursing home was cited for failure to properly investigate a patient’s lacerated foot and broken bone and was cited for additional serious deficiencies just three months later.
Winchester, TN Personal Injury Attorney John Colvin: Defending Your Rights
Whether a patient in a nursing home or a passenger in a car, a person whose injuries are caused by the negligence of another party may exercise their right to seek compensation. Insurers and businesses will do their best to defend their own interests in such cases, or to reduce awards paid to plaintiffs. With a lawyer on your side, however, you’ll have a better chance at getting favorable results.
If you need help with a personal injury case, call a Winchester TN personal injury attorney now at (931) 962-1044, or fill out our online contact form.