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Articles Tagged with Tennessee

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Compared to some states, Tennessee has a very short statute of limitations for the filing of claims involving personal injury: just one year. If a claim is not filed within this time period, the plaintiff’s case will be dismissed regardless of its merits.

In addition to filing his or her claim in court within one year of the accident, the plaintiff must also serve a summons and a copy of the complaint on the defendant within a certain time period.

A recent Tennessee personal injury case illustrates the difficulties that a claimant faced when his opponent not only moved out of the county but also filed for bankruptcy protection.

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cyclist and passengerAs one might expect, a large number of motor vehicle and motorcycle accident cases focus on the issues of who was at fault and how much money it will take to fully compensate the injured person (or deceased person’s family) for the damages suffered in the collision.

Sometimes, however, the issue is not who is at fault but instead whether a particular insurance company is obligated to pay a claim arising from the accident. Such was the case in a recent declaratory judgment action that was reviewed by the Tennessee appellate court.

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Our civil justice system is built on the premise that a jury of disinterested individuals is in the best position to determine matters such as the credibility of witnesses and the amount of money that a person injured by another person’s negligence should receive in compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and so on.

Unfortunately, no system is perfect. Even juries sometimes get it wrong. When that happens, it is the trial judge’s job to grant a new trial so that justice may prevail.

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large clockIf you believe that you have a claim for personal injuries or for a loved one’s wrongful death, you should speak to an attorney about your case as soon as possible. This is because there is a limited time for filing both injury and death cases. This Tennessee product liability lawsuit case is a reminder that the statute of limitations isn’t flexible.

The statute of limitations prescribes the exact time period for bringing a claim, such as a negligence action arising from a motor vehicle collision, an act of medical malpractice, or an injury from a defective product. There may also be an applicable statute of repose that places additional constraints on the time for filing suit, based on factors such as, for example, the date an allegedly defective product was manufactured.

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parking areaIn a pedestrian accident involving a motor vehicle, most people would assume that the pedestrian’s medical expenses and other damages would be paid by the driver’s insurance carrier. If for some reason that did not happen, most would assume the injured person’s own uninsured motorist insurance would honor its contractual obligation and pay the medical claim.

Unfortunately, those assumptions proved to be wrong in a case arising from an incident that occurred in 2012. Instead, the injured man had to file a lawsuit and take his case all the way to the state supreme court in order to obtain relief under uninsured motor vehicle provisions in his insurance.

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iphone calendar in handSince there are so many variables and complexities involved in a motor vehicle accident case, it is always best for those who are injured in car crashes to consult with an attorney as early in the process as possible. Issues such as the statute of limitations, notice requirements, and other matters concerning timeliness must be dealt with promptly.

The courts do not favor those who don’t exercise their rights to sue in a timely manner. Recently, a Tennessee appellate court was called upon to decide whether an insurance company (which stood in for its insured, to which it had paid damages arising from a motor vehicle accident) had forfeited its right to recover from the responsible party because it failed to file their case after the defendant appealed a verdict for the plaintiff to circuit court.

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If you follow this blog regularly, you have probably read several posts regarding situations in which a car accident lawsuit or other type of complaint was dismissed due to the plaintiff’s failure to file a claim within the statute of limitations. It is a common problem, and one of the reasons we emphasize contacting an attorney as soon as possible when you have been injured.

Filing a timely claim in a court of competent jurisdiction is only the first step in the process of filing a lawsuit. The complaint also has to be served upon the defendant according to the applicable rules of civil procedure.

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feet on sidewalkProperty owners and business operators owe certain duties to those who come onto their premises for a business or social purpose. A breach of this duty can potentially result in a finding of liability against the landowner and an award of damages in favor of an injured party. This is most commonly referred to as a “slip and fall” case, in which someone is injured because of property that isn’t maintained, such as a cracked sidewalk or other similar issue.

For this reason, it is increasingly common for would-be defendants to ask for a waiver of liability from those with whom they do business. It is up to the courts to determine whether such waivers are valid under the facts of an individual case.

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lawn mowerBy Kyle Roby, Attorney and Partner
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

The reported cases decided by the appellate courts sometimes come in batches of cases involving similar issues. Since a criminal case questioning the applicability of the death penalty, for example, involves an entirely different set of issues, research, and analysis than does a tort case arguing about liability in a medical malpractice lawsuit, there is judicial economy when the courts decide similar cases during the same time period.

Lately, it seems the courts have been faced with a number of cases involving whether or not a given situation is covered under a particular insurance policy. In the recent case of Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Holland, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Nashville was called upon to decide whether a commercial general liability insurance policy provided coverage in an accident in which a child was injured by the gate of a trailer that an insured used to transport lawn care equipment.

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By Kurt Maier, Attorney
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

The basic components of a negligence case are duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. In slip and fall injury cases, called premises liability cases in legal terms, an injured person must also show that the owner or operator of the premises either caused the hazardous condition that led to his or her injuries or had constructive notice of.

The constructive notice element of proof can be shown in several ways, including proof that the dangerous or defective condition had been in place for a length of time sufficient for the defendant to have become aware of the condition in the exercise of reasonable care. Constructive notice can also be shown through the defendant’s recurring conduct or a continuing condition.

Of course, each case is unique, and disagreements can certainly arise as to whether a defendant was constructively notified of a particular situation. In some such cases, video surveillance footage can be an important piece of evidence, even if the slip and fall injury in question was not captured on camera.

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