Misinformation about malpractice litigation in Tennessee

personal injury lawyer memphis tnOur friend John Day posted an informative blog post about Misinformation About Malpractice Litigation in Tennessee. John points out:

[an article] purports to list the number of filings per state per 100,000 residents and ranks Tennesseans as the 5th highest filers of malpractice lawsuits – at the rate of 33 per 100,000 people.  That would mean that Tennesseans file about 2145 such lawsuits per year (we have a little over 6,500,000 people living here).

But that number is wrong.  Information compiled by Tennessee’s Administrative Office of the Courts demonstrates that there were 374 medical malpractice suits filed in 2013-2014 and 356 suits filed in 2014-2015. (Data is kept on a July 1 – June 30 fiscal year; 2015-2016 data is not yet publicly available). My guess is that the number of suits filed in all of 2015 was down from what it was in fiscal year 2014-2015, but even assuming that it was the same (356), the rate of filed suits was less than 5.5 per 100,000.  That simply didn’t happen.

Lesson: Don’t believe everything that you read.  Some people would like for you to believe that Tennessee residents are “lawsuit happy” and that there are tons of frivolous lawsuits filed against our physicians. And it’s not true.

Need a lawyer in Memphis? We’ve got the perfect one for you.

WISEMAN BRAY PLLC

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103

Memphis, Tennessee 38018

(901) 372-5003 Office

(901) 383-6599 Fax

www.WisemanBray.com

Cordova, TN Apartment Shootings: Was there security?

apartment shooting lawyer memphis tnViolent crime isn’t limited to urban centers, or run-down properties. Areas in eastern Shelby County, including Cordova, TN are experiencing violent crime, often at what many people would consider to be luxury apartment complexes.

Earlier this month, 18 year old  Eddie McDonald was shot and killed at the Country Squire Apartments in Cordova, TN.

And just this week, a man was shot and killed at the Appling Lakes Apartments in Cordova, TN, while two others were injured by gunfire. The Commercial Appeal reports that the Appling Lakes shooting was the 19th murder in unincorporated Shelby County in 2016–the highest number of homicides ever recorded.

Did you know that apartment owners must provide reasonable security?

In Tennessee, apartment owners are generally required to provide reasonable security measure to tenants and guests of the property. What is “reasonable?” It depends on the circumstances, such as the type of crime committed against a victim and the history of crime on the property and in the surrounding neighborhood.

Every single apartment shooting case is different. We can’t help but wonder if in the Appling Lakes and Country Squire shooting cases, security measures could have prevented the victims’ deaths and injuries.  We do not know enough yet about the cases to make an assessment.

Call us. We are lawyers for crime victims.

We are lawyers for apartment crime victims in Memphis, TN. If you are the victim of an apartment shooting or crime, please call us today at (901) 372-5003.

We have the experience, know-how, and financial resources to properly investigate and prosecute your case. If the apartment complex where you were injured did not provide reasonable security, you may be entitled to money damages to compensate you for your injuries and pain and suffering.   This is the case even if you weren’t a tenant and were just visiting.

We have helped others like you. Let us help you. Call (901) 372-5003 and ask to speak to the experienced apartment crime lawyers in Memphis, TN.

Our office is easy to find and we have free parking. 

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103

Memphis, TN 38108

(901) 372-5003

Deadly shooting at Madison Cypress Lakes apartment complex

shooting at madison cypress lakes, crime victim attorneyUPDATED on 08/08/2016:  Police have now identified the victim as Monique Brown, who is the mother of a young child.

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A deadly shooting at Madison Cypress Lakes apartment complex in Memphis, Tennessee.

According to news reports, a young woman was shot and killed in a shooting at the Madison at Cypress Lakes apartment complex.  What makes this shooting especially tragic is that this is hardly the first time the Madison apartment complex has been the scene of senseless violence.  According to News Channel 5, it’s the third incident just this year in which their news crew has reported on a serious criminal incident at the complex.

 History of Crime at the Apartment Complex

Another story reports that “[t]he complex has a history of violent crimes.”  The story also reports that:

In June 2013, a pizza delivery driver was shot during an armed robbery at the complex. In March 2014, one person was shot during another armed robbery. Two months later, in May 2014, a man was stabbed several times by two men during an attempted robbery. Earlier this year, a woman was sexually assaulted by a man who broke into her apartment.

We know the law on Apartment Crime.

Just 8 months ago, our law firm concluded a lawsuit involving yet another shooting at Madison Cypress Lakes in Memphis, involving the senseless robbery and shooting of a pizza delivery driver.  That lawsuit involved allegations of a shockingly low level of security given the Madison’s size, location, and finances.

Unfortunately, though, as confirmed by these local news reports, it appears that residents and visitors of the Madison at Cypress Lakes continue to be victimized by crime.

Obviously, not all crime is preventable.  And not all crime that occurs at an apartment complex is the fault of the property owner.  But all too frequently we find that large, out of town, corporate owners put profit over people, and they fail to implement reasonable security measures that could prevent innocent people from becoming victims of violent crime.

We represent crime victims and their families.

If you or someone you know has been seriously injured or killed at an apartment complex or other commercial property in or around Memphis or Nashville, call Wiseman Bray PLLC for help at 901-372-5003.

Visit our page on Apartment Crime.  Sign up for our blog posts here.

 

WISEMAN BRAY PLLC

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103

Memphis, Tennessee 38018

(901) 372-5003 Office

(901) 383-6599 Fax

www.WisemanBray.com

 

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We assist crime victims in the greater Memphis and Nashville areas. Cities covered include: Memphis, Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Cordova, Eads, Germantown, Lakeland, Ashland City, Belmont, Hillsboro, Brentwood, Belle Meade, Forest Hills, Franklin, Greenhills, Hendersonville, Nolensville, Nolan’s Park, Oak Hill, and surrounding towns and cities.

How to Talk to Your Insurance Company After an Accident

insurance company after car accidentAfter a car accident, you may feel it necessary to contact your auto insurance company or carrier and let them know what has happened immediately. While informing your carrier of an accident is an important step in getting the compensation you deserve, there are a few things you should know before you pick up the phone.

Don’t Always Expect the Insurance Company to be on Your Side

As nice as it is to believe that an insurance company is on your side, this might not always be the case. Insurance agencies are running a business, meaning their main concern will almost always be their bottom dollar. Even though you may have paid your monthly premiums, and followed up on your end of the bargain, the insurance company will likely still not be looking after your best interests. That’s why you may want to consider enlisting the help of a personal injury attorney. Their main objective is to help you get the compensation you deserve. In fact, most DC personal injury lawyers won’t see any payment until you do.

Speaking with Your Insurance Company

After an accident, you may want to follow these steps:

  • Call the police
  • Take care of injuries
  • Exchange information with the other driver
  • Document the accident
  • Report the accident to your insurance company

When you contact the insurance company, you will likely need the following information:

  • Policy information
  • Identity Verification
  • Facts about the accident
  • What property was damaged
  • If there were any injuries
  • Police report and its identification number

At this point, insurance companies will likely try and find ways to reject your accident claims or find a way to pay the least amount of money on a claim. Remember, you only have to provide the basic information at this time. Stick to the facts and avoid adding any personal opinions, or conjecture about liability; an insurance company will likely try to spin any non-factual evidence you provide to avoid paying your claim. This is also not a time to accept any offers from the insurance company for a payout. If you already have an attorney, provide the attorney’s contact information to the representative. If you don’t have an attorney, let the representative know you will be getting one. Retaining an attorney shows the insurance company that you are serious and that they cannot take advantage of you.

If you’ve been injured in an accident and are in the process of dealing with your insurance company to get the compensation you deserve, it may be in your best interest to seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

0 COHEN

 

Thanks to our friends and co-contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their added insight into communicating with your insurance agency.

 

Need a Memphis Personal Injury Lawyer?

Call us at (901) 372-5003.  Our experienced Memphis injury lawyers can help you make the most of your insurance claim. Sign up for email notifications of blog posts here.

WISEMAN BRAY PLLC

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103

Memphis, Tennessee 38018

(901) 372-5003 Office

(901) 383-6599 Fax

www.WisemanBray.com

Injuries to Trespassing Children

injuries trespassing children, personal injury lawyerIn most states, there are special rules addressing injuries to trespassing children.  In Tennessee, for example, there is the “attractive nuisance doctrine,” recently codified in Tenn. Code. Ann. 29-34-208.

Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

In summary, that doctrine holds that a land owner or possessor is liable for injuries to children who trespass if all of the following elements are present:

(1) The owner maintained a dangerous condition that was not a natural condition and knew or should have known that the condition posed a risk of death or serious bodily harm to trespassing kids;

(2) The owner knew or should have known children were likely to trespass onto the property, either because they would be lured there by the dangerous condition or because children regularly play on the property;

(3) The dangerous condition was not apparent, or children, because of their youth, would be unlikely to discover and comprehend the risk;

(4) The usefulness to the owner of maintaining the dangerous condition and the burden of eliminating the danger were significantly outweighed by the risk of harm to kids who would foreseeably trespass onto the property; and

(5) The owner failed to use reasonable care to eliminate the danger or otherwise protect the children.

This statute does not create or increase liability or affect any immunity from or defense to liability established by other statutes or common law to which a landowner may be entitled.

Even Trespassing Children are Protected by the Law

If your child was injured on someone else’s property by a dangerous condition, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer. Cases like this are very fact-dependent and are handled and settled on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover compensation to help you pay for your child’s medical bills and other damages, even if your child was trespassing.

We represent injured children and their families.

The attorneys at Wiseman Bray PLLC not only know how to deal effectively and efficiently with insurance companies, but we are also experienced trial lawyers.  We’d be honored to represent you and your family if your child has been injured. Please call us today for a free consultation at 901-372-5003. Or, if you aren’t a fan of the telephone, please feel free to email our team of injury lawyers.

We serve clients throughout Tennessee and Mississippi, including Bartlett, Cordova, Lakeland, Germantown, Collierville, Munford, Covington, Arlington, Nashville, Brentwood, and the surrounding counties and rural areas.  Sign up to receive our blog posts via email.

WISEMAN BRAY PLLC

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103

Memphis, Tennessee 38018

(901) 372-5003 Office

(901) 383-6599 Fax

www.WisemanBray.com

Does Health Insurance Cover Injuries from a Car Accident?

insurance personal injury lawyer Almost every state in this country requires a motor vehicle driver to carry insurance, except for New Hampshire and Virginia. Whenever you need to go to the hospital, you expect to utilize the services you pay for to cover your care. But what happens when you seek medical treatment as a result of a car accident? Does your medical insurance still cover this bill, or do you turn to your car insurance for assistance?

Which Insurance Company Covers the Bills?

This question is really quite detailed, and many factors come into play. In most cases, whoever is at fault is responsible for the medical bills. If someone else hits you and is cited for the accident, it is their insurance that is responsible for paying your medical bills. Now, let us suppose that you are hit by someone who did not have insurance coverage.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists

For situations where the at-fault party has little to no coverage, carrying an insurance policy known as uninsured or underinsured motorists coverage can help alleviate the stress of mounting medical bills. This coverage can allow your motor vehicle insurance to cover the medical portion of whatever the at-fault drivers could not. This can be especially important if injuries have lasting or permanent effects.

Initial Medical Costs Are Not Always Final

When it comes to a car accident and medical costs, the initial costs of treatment may not be the final total on care. Oftentimes, people do not realize how severely injured they are until days or even weeks after the incident.

Furthermore, if you have had to take time off of work due to your injuries, or have a possibly disabling condition; you may be entitled to further compensation for those damages as well. A DC car accident lawyer can stand beside you and fight for a compensation package that may be able to better recuperate damages you’ve suffered.

Why You May Need an Attorney

An insurance company wants to settle the claim as quickly and as quietly as possible. They do not want to go to court, and do not want to pay a dime more than they have to. Your best interest is not their priority; their main focus is to protect their bottom line. An attorney may be able to help combat attempts to settle your claim with a low-ball offer, expedite the settlement award process, and offer peace of mind by professionally managing all of the complexities of your case.

A top attorney should be able to examine your potential case and determine the path to compensation. They may also be able to assist in determining who is responsible for the medical bills based on your unique situation. There are always loopholes and all sorts of red tape when it comes to an auto accident; which is why having a legal adviser can be so beneficial.

Do you need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Please call Wiseman Bray PLLC for a free consultation at 901-372-5003. We are personal injury lawyers in Memphis and Nashville and have extensive experience handling car accident cases. Tell us about your car accident case and let us help you. Sign up for email notifications of our blog post!

0 COHEN

Thanks to our friends and contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their additional insight into car accident and personal injury practice.

Neck Injuries from Slip and Fall Accidents

memphis personal injury lawyer neck injuriesMost of us in our life have at some time slipped and fallen down with no long lasting effects, but a slip and fall accident can potentially result in a serious neck injury. When it can be proven that the cause of a slip and fall accident was due to someone’s negligence, that person or their company can be held liable. This includes the victim’s company if it can be determined that the slip and fall accident was caused by unsafe work conditions. Neck injuries can be serious.

The Costs of Slip and Fall Accidents

A “simple” slip and fall accident may not have simple consequences. Serious neck injuries can result and wreak havoc on the victim’s long term health and well-being. The associated damages can be high as a result of:

  1. Ambulance transportation from the accident scene to the emergency room.
  2. Examination and x-ray fees plus any additional diagnostic tests.
  3. Medical costs associated with immediate, short and long term treatments.
  4. Physical rehabilitation.
  5. Surgery
  6. Lost wages from the present into the future.
  7. Lost benefits as a result of not being able to work.

Symptoms of a Neck Injury

Immediately after experiencing a slip and fall accident, seek medical attention. There’s no substitute for qualified medical expertise to diagnose the extent of your injury. If you suspect you may have sustained a neck injury, any of the following symptoms may be present but their absence does not mean your neck isn’t injured:

  • A dull aching in the neck
  • Pain when turning your head or moving it in any direction
  • Shooting pains, tenderness, numbness, or tingling in the neck area
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Headache
  • Facial pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Numbness or tingling in the arm

Types of Neck Injuries

A neck injury may affect the nervous system as well as the spinal cord. In the worst case scenarios, neck injuries can cause paralysis or death.

  • Whiplash can be caused by the head forcibly and suddenly moving in one direction and then snapping backward.
  • Neck fracture. A slip and fall accident can result in a break of the cervical bone, resulting in a neck fracture. The elderly and those suffering from osteoporosis are at greater risk of this injury due to the brittleness of their bones.

Who can be held accountable for a slip and fall accident?

This will largely depend on where the accident occurred, the circumstances of the accident, and who owns the property on which the slip and fall occurred. Negligence must also be proven. The following are only general guidelines and are in no way a substitute for legal advice:

  • If on private property, was the owner aware of the dangerous conditions but did nothing to address them?
  • If at your workplace, did your employers ignore unsafe working conditions?
  • If on public property, were those responsible for its maintenance knowingly ignore dangerous conditions that led to your slip and fall injury?

Statute of Limitations

Most slip and fall accidents will fall under the statute of limitations which limits how long you can wait before you seek legal recourse. If the at-fault party is a government entity, the statute of limitations period may be even shorter. It’s important that if you have had a slip and fall accident and suffered a neck injury as a result that you immediately consider contacting a Washington DC slip and fall lawyer.

Need a Memphis Personal Injury Lawyer?

Call Wiseman Bray PLLC at 901-372-5003 or email us here.

If you’d like to receive email notifications for our blog posts, please sign up here.

0 COHEN

Thanks to our friends and contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their additional insight into neck injuries as a result of a slip and fall accident.

Will I have to pay taxes on my settlement?

personal injury settlementMany of our Memphis and Tennessee injury clients ask – will I have to pay taxes on my settlement for personal injuries?  The general answer is NO.

Will the IRS make me pay taxes on my settlement?

Here is what the IRS currently says about Settlements and Taxability:

If you receive a settlement for personal physical injuries or physical sickness and did not take an itemized deduction for medical expenses related to the injury or sickness in prior years, the full amount is non-taxable. Do not include the settlement proceeds in your income.

What if I did take an itemized deduction for related medical bills in prior years?

Will I have to pay taxes on my settlement if I did?  You must include in income the part of the settlement that is for medical expenses you deducted in any prior year to the extent the deduction provided a tax benefit. For detailed information on how to report this, we recommend that you speak with your accountant or tax professional.

What about settlements for Emotional Distress or Mental Anguish?

If you receive a settlement for emotional distress or mental anguish stemming from a personal physical injury or sickness, then the settlement is treated the same as a personal injury, as noted above above. However, if the settlement for emotional distress or anguish does not arise out of a personal injury or sickness, then you must include the proceeds in your income. Here is what the IRS states on this issue:

If the proceeds you receive for emotional distress or mental anguish do not originate from a personal physical injury or physical sickness, you must include them in your income. However, the amount you must include is reduced by: (1) amounts paid for medical expenses attributable to emotional distress or mental anguish not previously deducted and (2) previously deducted medical expenses for such distress and anguish that did not provide a tax benefit. Attach to your return a statement showing the entire settlement amount less related medical costs not previously deducted and medical costs deducted for which there was no tax benefit. The net taxable amount should be reported as “Other Income.”

Punitive Damages are Taxable

If you receive an actual court award of punitive damages, those proceeds are taxable and should be reported as “Other Income.”  This is true even if the award stems from personal injury or sickness.

Recovery of Lost Wages is Taxable

If your personal injury settlement is itemized to include recovery for lost wages, then that portion of the settlement is taxable and should be reported as income.  During the negotiation phase, most attorneys are careful to clarify and/or minimize, if not eliminate, any apportionment of the settlement to wages.  You would likely also receive a Form 1099 for any recovery attributable to lost wages.  [Note: Wages and/or settlements paid in connection with work comp are not taxable.]

Interest on a Settlement is Taxable

What if the other side doesn’t pay my settlement all at once? Will I have to pay taxes on my settlement if they pay me interest? Yes. Interest you are paid on any settlement is taxable as “Interest Income.”

Do I have to tell my CPA or Tax Preparer about my settlement?

We advise that you do, so that he or she can advise you on the most up-to-date reporting requirements applying to your specific settlement.

Injured and seeking legal representation?

Call us at 901-372-5003 or email us here. We handle a wide range of personal injury cases.  Our approach to handling cases is what sets our firm apart. While some injury lawyers and firms take on hundreds of cases, and may seem more interested in quickly settling the case than seeking full and fair compensation for their client, we focus on identifying great clients and great relationships.

Victims need a lawyer with the experience, drive, and knowledge necessary to compete with the insurance companies who are handling your claim. Otherwise, you’ll end up being a victim twice, and you might not even realize it until it’s already too late. Our personal injury practice is led by Harvard-educated attorney Lang Wiseman. We know how to get fair and just results.

Click here to learn more about the work we do.

 

The Other Side is Lying. Can I Sue for Defamation?

defamation, slander, libel, attorney“Can we sue them for defamation?” That is a question we receive very frequently from both Plaintiffs and Defendants we are representing in pending litigation. Typically, the question is a reaction to reading or hearing something alleged in the lawsuit, whether in a complaint, answer, discovery responses, or during courtroom or deposition testimony.  The client asking that question usually feels that his or her integrity is being questioned, is very upset, and wants to know if he or she can “counter-sue.”   In the context of litigation, the answer is no.  Let’s explore why.

What is Defamation?

To win a defamation case, you must prove that:

(1) Someone “published” a statement about you. (“Publication” is a legal term of art meaning the communication of the subject defamatory matter to a third person.)

(2) The publication occurred with knowledge that the statement was false and defaming to you, or with reckless disregard for the truth, or with negligence in failing to ascertain the truth.

(3) Your reputation was injured.  Damages from false or inaccurate statements cannot be presumed. Actual damages must be suffered and proved.

Brown v. Christian Bros. Univ., 428 S.W.3d 38 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2013). A statement is not defamatory just because it is annoying, offensive or embarrassing. Rather, the statement must be a serious threat to your reputation. Defamation includes both libel and slander. Libel is written defamation. Slander is spoken defamation.

But wait . . . there’s the Judicial Proceeding Exception

Statements made in the course of judicial proceedings which are relevant and pertinent to the issues cannot be used as a basis for a libel action for damages. This is true even if the statements are known to be false or even malicious.

The policy behind this rule is the paramount importance of access to the judicial process and the freedom to institute, defend, and participate in a lawsuit without fear of being sued for defamation.  This exception in Tennessee may leave a wronged individual with no remedy, but our courts have determined that the rights of the individual must be sacrificed for the public good. Desgranges v. Meyer, No. E2003-02006-COA-R3CV, 2004 WL 1056603, at *5 (Tenn. Ct. App. May 11, 2004).

What should I do if I think I have a defamation, libel, or slander case?

Call a lawyer to discuss your case as soon as possible. The deadline for filing a slander suit is 6 months from the time the words are spoken. The deadline for filing a libel suit is 1 year after the words are written. Gathering and preserving your evidence is crucial. Remember you must prove not only that someone defamed you, but that you suffered actual damages.

Wiseman Bray PLLC

8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 103

Memphis, Tennessee 38018

(901) 372-5003

Visit our website to learn why we’re not your everyday law firm.

We have offices in Memphis and Nashville and represent clients in Lakeland, Arlington, Cordova, Bartlett, Germantown, Collierville, and many other areas throughout Tennessee and Mississippi.

Injured by a Drunk Driver?

drunk driver personal injury lawyerChances are, you either have been or will be the victim of a drunk driver in your lifetime. We know that intoxicated drivers cause personal injuries and deaths every day, but they also cause property damage. Even if you are not injured, your property may be. For example, drunk drivers often cause damage to other cars, houses, businesses, guardrails, signs, yards, and landscaping.

Drunk Driving Statistics

What are the odds that you have been or will be affected by a drunk or intoxicated driver? Take a look at these harrowing  statistics:

  • Every 2 minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash.
  • On average, 2 in 3 people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
  • The rate of drunk driving is highest among 26-29 year olds at 20.7%.
  • In 2014, 9,967 people died in drunk driving crashes. That’s one every 53 minutes. Another 290,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes.
  • Drunk driving costs the U.S. $132 Billion a year.
  • In 2010, drunk driving alone accounted for 18% of the total economic loss from motor vehicle crashes, costing the economy as much as $199 billion in direct and quality-of-life losses.

What does Drunk or “Intoxicated” Mean?

Tennessee law provides that a person is intoxicated when his or her physical and mental abilities are impaired as a result of drinking or drug use. The impairment must be to the extent that the person can’t act with ordinary and reasonable care like a sober person would under similar circumstances.

Can a Drunk Driver or Person Be Negligent?

Yes!  A drunk person is held to the same standard as a sober person.  Being intoxicated is no excuse for failure to act as a reasonably careful person.

We Represent Victims of Drunk Driving.

As a victim, you need a lawyer with the experience, drive, and knowledge necessary to compete with the insurance companies who are handling your claim. Otherwise, you’ll end up being a victim twice, and you might not even realize it until it’s already too late.  We are victim attorneys and we represent people who have been injured or damaged by drunk or intoxicated drivers. If you need help, we have offices in Memphis and Nashville Tennessee.  Please call us at 901-372-5003 or email us here.