Tennessee law imposes time limitations for pursuing certain claims. For example, a personal injury lawsuit has to be filed within one year of the date of an accident. In some cases, even if a plaintiff initially files a lawsuit within the statute of limitations, his or her claim may nonetheless be time barred, if he or she fails to comply with other procedural requirements.

This was illustrated in a recent case decided by the Court of Appeals of Tennessee, where the plaintiffs’ case was dismissed due to the failure to have an administrator appointed to the tortfeasor’s estate within the statute of limitations, despite filing the initial complaint in time. If you were injured in a Tennessee car accident, you should speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible to avoid waiving your right to recover damages.

Factual Scenario

Reportedly, the plaintiffs were involved in a car accident with the tortfeasor on May 11, 2015. They filed a lawsuit against the tortfeasor on March 30, 2016, which was within the one year statute of limitations for filing a personal injury action under Tennessee law. Shortly thereafter, the plaintiffs received notification from the tortfeasor’s insurance company that the tortfeasor passed away after the accident. The plaintiffs then filed an underinsured/uninsured motorist lawsuit against their own insurer, to seek benefits for the damages caused by the accident. The insurer objected, arguing that the plaintiffs had not provided proper notice.

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While people are generally aware that there are statutory limitations that set forth deadlines for when a lawsuit must be filed, most people do not understand the full extent of what this means. For example, an injured party may think that if his or her lawsuit was filed within the statutory period provided by law, they cannot waive the right to recover. This is not true, however, as shown in a recent car accident case decided by the Court of Appeals of Tennessee.

In that case, the court found that although the lawsuit was filed within the statute of limitations, due to the injured party’s failure to comply with the procedural requirements regarding service the suit was properly dismissed. If you were involved in a Tennessee car accident, it is essential to retain an attorney with the skills and experience needed to help you establish a strong case in favor of your recovery of compensation.

Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was involved in a car accident with the defendant police officer who was employed by the defendant city on October 21, 2014. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit on October 5, 2015, and on October 13, 2015, a city clerk accepted service of the Complaint. Subsequently, on November 30, 2015, the defendant city filed an Answer to the Complaint, arguing in part that it was not properly served with the Complaint and therefore, service was not effective. In detail, the defendant city stated that because the Complaint was not served on the Mayor or City Attorney the service was improper. In February 2017, the defendant city filed a motion for summary judgment setting forth the same argument. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

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There are several elements that must be met to successfully recover damages in a personal injury case. One factor that is very important but seldom considered by injured parties is the procedural requirements for filing a lawsuit. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee recently dismissed a case due to the plaintiff’s failure to file her lawsuit within the time required under the applicable statute of limitations. If you suffered harm in a Tennessee car accident, it is important to retain an experienced attorney who is mindful of the procedural requirements imposed by the law.

Procedural Background

Reportedly, the plaintiffs, a mother and daughter, who live in Virginia, were driving in Tennessee when they were involved in a motor vehicle collision with the defendant driver, a resident of Florida. The defendant driver was engaged in the course of his employment with an Alabama based employer. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit seeking damages for their injuries in a district court in Alabama, on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative to transfer, the case to the Eastern District Court of Tennessee, which is the court for the district where the accident occurred. The court granted the motion to transfer the case. The defendants then filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the one-year statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims in Tennessee precluded the plaintiffs’ claim.

Under federal law, for an expert report to be admissible the party introducing the report must show the expert witness is qualified, the report sets forth an opinion relevant to determining an issue of fact, and the testimony is reliable. The United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee recently explained that a district court evaluating whether an expert report should be admitted is not required to analyze whether the report is correct, but only if the report is supported by a reliable foundation. If you were the victim in a Tennessee car accident, it is in your best interest to retain a knowledgeable car accident attorney to discuss the circumstances surrounding the accident and develop a plan to assist you in recovering damages.

Factual Scenario

Allegedly, the plaintiff and the defendant driver were involved in a car accident. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant driver, a truck driver, was negligent and that his employer should be held vicariously liable for her injuries. In response, the defendant alleged that the plaintiff caused the accident. The defendants served the plaintiff with expert disclosures as required by Federal law. The defendants’ expert reviewed photographs, video footage, and analyzed the specifications of the plaintiff’s vehicle, a reconstruction program and his own experience in determining that the plaintiff caused the accident by driving into the path of the defendant driver and that the collision was minor. The plaintiff moved to preclude the expert and his report, arguing that the report was contrary to the photographs of the accident and the physical evidence. The plaintiff also argued the report alleged negligent behavior on behalf of the defendant driver, not the plaintiff.

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Under Federal and State laws regulating motor carriers, tractor-trailer drivers are required to keep logs of their driving times. If you were involved in a car accident with a tractor-trailer, the logs may be important evidence in proving the tractor trailer’s driver was negligent. While the employers of tractor-trailer drivers involved in collisions have a duty to produce any logs in a lawsuit arising out of the collision, it may not always be clear when it is necessary to retain records. The United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee recently held that boilerplate language in an incident report was not sufficient to place the employer on notice that it needed to retain records. If you are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer you should confer with an experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney as soon as possible, to ensure any evidence that is helpful to your case is not lost.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff and a defendant tractor-trailer driver were involved in a collision in October 2016. Plaintiff sued defendant driver for negligence and defendant’s employer for vicarious liability. In June 2017, plaintiff sent defendants correspondence in which she requested that defendants preserve any evidence related to the accident, and specifically asked defendants to retain any daily logs produced by the electronic logging device in the truck for the date of the accident and the six months preceding the accident. Defendants advised plaintiff they no longer had the logs due to the fact that they were automatically overwritten every six months. Plaintiff filed a motion for sanctions against defendants alleging that defendants purposefully destroyed evidence related to the accident.

If you were injured in a car accident, the other driver may dispute the cause and extent of your injuries. One method the other driver’s attorney may employ to attempt to diminish your injuries is to introduce medical records that indicate that your alleged injuries existed prior to the accident. While you may think it is in your best interest to preclude any medical records that are not related to treatment from injuries caused by the accident, in a recent case, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee held that a trial court erred in excluding medical records indicating a pre-existing condition at the plaintiff’s request and remanded the case for a new trial. As such, if you are involved in a Tennessee car accident, it is important to retain a knowledgeable Tennessee personal injury attorney to assess the facts of your case and assist you in gathering evidence to support the claim you suffered new injuries or that an existing injury was exacerbated due to the accident.

Facts of the Case

Plaintiff sued defendant, alleging defendant’s negligence caused a car accident that resulted in plaintiff’s injuries. The case was tried in front of a jury, who found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded her damages in the amount of $70,000.00. Defendant moved for a new trial, which the court denied. Defendant appealed.  On appeal, defendant argued, in part, that the trial court erred in excluding plaintiff’s pre-accident medical records and testimony regarding plaintiff’s medical expenses. Defendant further argued that plaintiff lacked sufficient testimony to establish her injury was permanent, and justify the award of damages that arose out of permanency.

Recently, a 53-year-old man from Del Rio was killed on in a Tennessee car accident on East Highway 25/70. A trooper reported that she and other first responders had been sent to the intersection of the highway and another road shortly before 6:30 p.m. due to the 2-vehicle accident. When the trooper arrived, she learned that the man was traveling east when he tried to pass a 2013 Honda CRV that was being operated by a 59-year-old man and his 63-year-old wife, who was 63. Their vehicle was stopped in the roadway.

When the accident happened, the decedent’s front tire hit the couple’s CRV from behind causing both vehicles to move to the left of the road and roll over. The decedent hit a utility pole and came to a stop. The decedent wasn’t wearing his seat belt.

If your loved one was killed in a car accident, you may be able to recover damages by bringing a wrongful death claim. Under Tennessee Code section 20-5-106, a wrongful death is a death caused by the injuries suffered from another or by another’s killing, omission or wrongful act. Wrongful death claims are basically personal injury claims, in which the injured person has passed on and so a family member or personal representative of the decedent’s estate has the right to bring the claim.

Recently, a Tennessee car accident led to a man being charged in criminal court. The car crash occurred on I-55 and I-240 and killed a 13-year-old girl. At the time of the accident, the man was driving on a suspended license and didn’t have insurance. He collided with an SUV parked on the side of the road. The thirteen-year-old was taken to the children’s hospital in critical condition, and later died from her injuries. Others were taken to the hospital while not in critical condition.

Inside the man’s truck were empty beer cans and vodka bottles. Someone who knew the man told the press that the man was disabled and helped people in the neighborhood find jobs.

If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a drunk driving accident, you may be able to recover damages through a civil suit. As with other types of car accident cases, you’ll likely need to show the drunk driver’s negligence by proving: (1) the drunk driver owed you a duty, (2) breach of duty, (3) actual and proximate causation, and (4) actual damages. It’s unusual for juries to award punitive damages for car accidents. However, punitive damages are sometimes awarded in drunk driving cases in order to punish the defendant and deter future misconduct. In order to obtain punitive damages you’d need to show by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted recklessly, fraudulently, intentionally or maliciously.

In a recent Tennessee construction accident, an appellate decision was announced after a construction worker fell from scaffolding while working in a factory. The worker ran an extension cord over the warehouse floor so that he could reach an outlet in which to plug in a screw gun that he would use to put in sheetrock during renovation. The factory owner’s employee drove a forklift over the extension cord, which dislodged scaffolding. Summary judgment was granted in favor of the factory owner, finding there weren’t any factual disputes and no duty to warn.

The case arose when the plaintiff was employed by a subcontractor of a contractor hired to renovate an LLC’s warehouse. When he fell, the plaintiff was using a screw gun to install sheetrock on an inner wall. The screw gun was plugged into a 100-foot extension cord. He said the use of the extension cord was needed because the only source of electricity was in another place in the warehouse. As the sheetrock was being installed the defendant’s employee had moved product through the door with a forklift.

The plaintiff and his brother had hung sheetrock in that same spot for three days before the accident. On the accident date, the factory employee drove a forklift in reverse through the door and didn’t see the extension cord or the plaintiff. The cord got tangled up in the forklift and triggered the plaintiff’s fall 10 feet down to the concrete floor.

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In a recent Tennessee appellate decision, the court considered a lawsuit arising out of a tractor-trailer accident. One of the plaintiffs was hauling a trailer owned by the defendant with an over-the-road tractor. The hauler’s wife was riding as a passenger on the accident date. The hauler and his wife filed suit claiming that the accident happened because the trailer’s tandem axle suddenly came loose as they went down the highway and that the tractor-trailer overturned. The wife was injured and the trailer and tractor were damaged.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged that the owner of the trailer had exclusive control over it and had negligently inspected and maintained it and hadn’t made sure the trailer complied with all federal motor vehicle safety standards. The plaintiffs claimed the trailer had caused the accident and that the wife had suffered severe and permanent bodily injuries as a result of the accident. The plaintiffs also claimed the husband had incurred lost wages due to total loss of the tractor. They asked for damages of $850,000 and later added a request for punitive damages, claiming that the defendant falsified its year inspection reports.

The defendant answered, denying claims of negligence and wrongdoing. The defendant claimed that the causes of the accident were the plaintiff’s speeding and failure to control the tractor and use reasonable care. It also claimed the plaintiff hadn’t performed the requisite pre-trip inspection in accord with federal motor carrier safety regulations and that his own negligence barred recovery.