Articles Tagged with Tennessee injury lawyer

The Tennessee General Assembly passed several bills that became law effective July 1, 2010.  One of those is Public Chapter 752.   The legislation revises a deadline for a special definition of governmental entities in governmental tort liability cases against governmental entities in Shelby County.   The legislation was designed to protect The Med in Memphis from litigation.  The special definition was supposed to expire in 2011.  The deadline has been removed and the special definition will apply to all tort cases filed after July 1, 2003. 

Note:  the Tennessee Supreme Court has declared a portion of the earlier act unconstitutional to the extent that it applied to injuries occurring before July 1, 2003 but impact the rights of plaintiffs who filed after July 1, 2003.   The case is Estate of Bell v. Shelby County Health Care Corporation,  W2008-02213-SC-S09-CV  (Tenn. June 24, 2010).

Judge Susano and his colleagues on the Eastern Section of the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued an opinion yesterday in Usher v. Charles Blalock & Sons, Inc.   The opinion addresses some important issues of Tennessee law, but is mentioned here because it utlizies photographs scanned into the body of the opinion to help the reader understand how the wreck occurred.

 From time to time, I have seen drawings (and maybe even a photograph) appended to court opinions but I do not recall seeing a photograph inserted into the text of a Tennessee appellate opinion.  The photographs help tell the story in this case, and Judge Susano and his colleagues are to be congratulated for using them.

Usher has been assigned  Case No. E2009-00658-COA-R3-CV.   The opinion was released on June 30, 2010.

PC Magazine Oprah Winfrey has been urging her viewers to promise not to text or make telephone calls while driving.   Last Friday she dedicated her show to the subject.

Some 23 states, including Tennessee, have laws banning texting while driving.  Eight other states have partial bans on texting while driving.  This chart summarizes the law of those states.

A July 2009 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute concluded that texting while driving increases the risk of a crash by 20 times.   A recent University of Utah study reached a similar result.  The Secretary of Transportation has testified that distracted drivers caused the death of nearly 6000 people in 2008.

Today’s Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article about a California program that helps determine if physicians who have been disciplined can start practicing again.  The goal of PACE (Physician Assessment and Clinical Education Program) is "

to evaluate the competence of troubled doctors whose infractions range from serious medical error and negligence to sloppy record keeping and anger management. Using a mix of computer-based simulations, multiple-choice exams, cognitive-function screenings and hands-on observation, PACE faculty and staff tests doctors’ knowledge, skills and judgment, providing remedial courses and a weeklong mini-residency supervised by UCSD medical faculty.

The article also states that

Paul Luvera does a nice job in this post  hitting the high points of David Ball’s book Ball on Damages.  

An excerpt: 

[W]e must shed our law school training about advocacy and learn to present cases consistent with the way that people really make decisions. You were probably taught in law school to carefully examine all of the facts and law, following which you were expected to analyze intellectually in order to arrive at the right decision. You were probably taught to speak and write as an intellectual or like a scholar might. Law students try to sound like intellectuals to impress everyone. The problem with approaching a trial in that manner is that it doesn’t work when we are talking about groups of people we call jurors..

I have had several lawyers ask me to post our most recent work in the area of filing motions to strike insufficient affirmative defenses in comparative fault cases.

I have been filing these motions since 1992.   A defendant has an obligation to follow Rule 8.03 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and set forth the facts upon which a affirmative defense, including the defense of comparative fault, is based.   The failure to do so should result in the defense being stricken from the answer.

A  defendant has a right to have a reasonable amount of time to investigate the case and amend their answer to assert a comparative default defense of a party or non-party.  This is discussed in my article called "Party Planning for Tort Lawyers" in the November 2009 edition of the Tennessee Bar Journal

Tennessee’s nursing homes rank the 5th worst in the United States, according to an analysis done by the Tennessean.   

The February 3, 2010 article points out that 

[a]bout 15,000 nursing homes nationwide got ratings of one to five stars, with five being the best, from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The ratings are based on inspections, complaint investigations, staffing levels and other nursing home survey data collected in 2008 and 2009.

My daughter was hurt in a soccer game because the ref refused to reign in a reckless player on the opposing team.  Can I sue?  My son is devastated because he was improperly called out on strikes by a blind umpire.  Can I sue?

Setting aside the merits of these complaints, or the wisdom of pursing such a claim, Tennessee law gives a relatively high level of immunity to sports officials.  Under T. C. A. Section 62-50-201, a “’sports official’ means any person who serves as referee, umpire, linesperson or in any similar capacity in supervising or administering a sports event and who is registered as a member of a local, state, regional or national organization that provides training and educational opportunities for sports officials."

Section 62-50-202 provides that "[a] sports official who administers or supervises a sports event at any level of competition is not liable to any person or entity in any civil action for damages to a player, participant or spectator as a result of the sports official’s act of commission or omission arising out of the sports official’s duties or activities."

The Tennessee Medical Malpractice Claims Report for 2009 (which reports data for 2008) contains lots of information of interest to lawyers who represent Tennesseans in medical malpractice claims. Last week I wrote about the number of claims closed in 2008 and the amount paid on these claims. Today I will drill down a little deeper on one topic – resolution of claims involving death.

About 1960 Tennesseans die each year as a result of medical malpractice in a hospital.  (The number that die as a result of malpractice in a doctor’s office or nursing home or dentist’s office or elsewhere has not been estimated to my knowledge.)  Yet, in 2008, there were 538 medical malpractice claims resolved in cases where the allegation involved malpractice-related death of the patient  in all settings.  

The total amount of money paid to resolve the 538 death claims was $60,663,764, or an average of less than $120,000 per claim.  I hasten to add that gross payment figure includes claims on which no money was paid.  The report does not indicate how many closed death claims resulted in no payment whatsoever.  However, the report does indicate that payments were made in only 15% or so of all closed claims in 2008.  If that statistic is true in the wrongful death area, it means that payments were made in only about 80 wrongful death cases in 2008 and the average payment was about $750,000 per claim.

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