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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.

Many Tennessee premises liability claims revolve around determining who is responsible for an accident and who should pay. In some instances, however, liability is not contested. Instead, the parties must fight with insurers about the extent of the related damage and what must be covered.

In this recent insurance appeal, Jefferson County Schools sued Travelers Indemnity Company to provide full coverage of all of the damages related to a recent building collapse. One of the school district’s high school buildings collapsed during a rainstorm. After reviewing the damage, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office directed the School District to repair the collapsed building and to ensure that all repairs were taken to prevent a future collapse.

Travelers did not contest its obligation to pay for the repairs on the collapsed portion of the building, nor did it disagree with its obligation to pay for some of the repairs made to the existing uncollapsed building in order to prevent future collapses. Indeed, the company paid almost $900,000 in repairs to the school district. However, Travelers took issue with the final recommendation from the engineer whom the school district hired, which advised the school district to provide additional reinforcement to the walls at the school. Travelers argued that this recommendation was discretionary and that they did not need to pay for it.  The school district argued that under the terms of the policy, Travelers was required to pay for all of the work necessary to comply with the ordinances of the state, and this was an ordinance, since it came directly from the fire marshal.

When we are injured by another party’s misconduct, we may be certain that we know who and what caused our injuries. Many lawsuits are filed on the belief that a specific individual is responsible for a plaintiff’s harm, or that a certain bad act caused damages.  While plaintiffs might know deep down who is responsible for the pain that they suffered, courts cannot rely on allegations and intuitions when considering legal claims. Instead, they require specific irrefutable evidence to establish the elements of a plaintiff’s claim and to show that a defendant has done harm. A recent case before the Tennessee Court of Appeals illustrates what happens when a plaintiff cannot meet this burden.

In this Tennessee property damage case, J.E. sued Piedmont Natural Gas Company for damages that he alleged were intentionally caused to his sewer line. According to J.E., in 1984, Nashville Gas Company installed a natural gas pipeline near a sewer line that serviced J.E.’s property. In 2013, sewage overflowed into J.E.’s basement. During the process of dealing with the sewer issues, J.E. learned that his sewage line had been damaged by digging equipment. According to J.E., no digging permits had been issued for his property other than to Nashville Gas Company in 1984.

J.E. sued Piedmont Natural Gas Company, which had purchased Nashville Gas Company by that time. J.E. alleged that Piedmont knowingly and intentionally damaged his sewer line while installing their gas line and that Piedmont had intentionally concealed the damage that had occurred. J.E. sought $25,000 in damages to repair his sewer line. At an initial jury trial, the jury awarded J.E. approximately $5,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $10,000 in punitive damages. Piedmont appealed.

Bringing claims in a Tennessee courtroom can be expensive. Getting a case ready for trial takes extensive preparation, discovery, and long days and nights thinking through the details of the case. This means that fees can add up, and lawyers may seem too expensive to consider. In these circumstances, some plaintiffs decide to go it alone in their case, acting as a pro se plaintiff, or a plaintiff without representation, in the courtroom. A recent case before the Tennessee Court of Appeals illustrates the complexity of bringing a premises liability lawsuit without an attorney and the care that must be taken in proving all of the elements of a negligence or failure to warn claim.

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The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is a federal law that governs claims for benefits under retirement and disability plans, among other things.  In enacting ERISA, Congress explicitly stated that ERISA is an area of federal law that can preempt related state law claims. This means that when a state law claim duplicates or supplants the federal enforcement schemes set forth under ERISA, Congress makes ERISA the exclusive remedy for relief, and the state law claim is preempted.  While such preemption may seem straightforward, plaintiffs are still entitled to bring tort and personal injury claims that may be tangentially related to an ERISA violation, as long as the claims do not essentially duplicate the ERISA claim.  In many cases, plaintiffs may also attempt to artfully plead personal injury claims so that they appear to be independent of an ERISA violation, when they are in fact the same thing.  A recent case in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals takes a look at claims of negligence against medical practitioners involved in an ERISA-related evaluation of disability.

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According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), large trucks travel approximately 275 billion miles across America’s roadways each year. In recent years there has been a major focus on the safety regulations involving large truck operation throughout the United States, but unfortunately an estimated 385,000 large truck accidents still occur each year, and approximately 4,000 of those result in fatality.

Large truck accidents are different than other types of motor vehicle accidents. They often result in significantly higher levels of property damage, frequently involve multiple severe injuries, and are more likely to result in death than accidents involving smaller passenger vehicles. In addition, when you become the victim of an accident involving a large truck, the odds are against you before you even get out of your vehicle. Trucking companies often have decades of experience in dealing with accident claims similar to yours, and chances are their risk management department will already be working on ways to either deny your claim or minimize the payout you could receive. They frequently even have attorneys on standby- just waiting to fight against you. The bottom line is: if you or a loved one has been involved in a large truck accident in the “volunteer state”, you are almost certainly going to need a Tennessee truck accident lawyer.

Finding the Right Tennessee Truck Accident Lawyer

Personal injuries can be a traumatic experience both physically and emotionally. An injury due to another person’s negligence may leave you feeling distraught. In severe cases, the personal injuries may lead to the loss of a loved one. If you feel another person or entity is at fault, contacting a personal injury lawyer Tennessee should be your next step. An experienced lawyer will be able to determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim.

Types of Personal Injury Claims

The personal injury lawyer Tennessee will act as your personal advocate by protecting your legal rights. Allowing you time to focus on the healing process or grieve for your loss. Personal injury claims may be filed for a variety of reasons.

Slip and fall injuries can happen when you least expect it, leaving you to deal with the aftermath while trying to recover at the same time. People of all ages are apt to these types of accidents and often end up injuring more than just their pride. Slip and fall accidents can be caused by everything from simple negligence to failure to properly maintain properties. These hazardous conditions can include:

  • Improperly signed wet floors, or waxy residue left behind
  • Improperly lit walkways and paths

There are several things that happen when you are injured in an auto accident. The first and most obvious is medical care. The second is attempting to repair your vehicle, if it had also been involved. The third is dealing with the insurance companies–both your own and that of any other parties. These three things often become a source of hardship for the victim, instead of relief.

Hiring a trained Nashville car accident attorney is an important step to your recovery. The reason for this is simple: You and your family wish to focus on healing and not on endless bills or playing the blame game. Consider some of the following facts:

1. The insurance company of any other involved party does not wish to give you money, attempting to find a way to exempt their client of any liability. If that doesn’t work, they shall try to settle for the least amount possible, often making the process so tedious that you’ll agree to less out of frustration. It is better to have a mediator investigate the accident and handle negotiations the company on your behalf so that you may deal with your recovery without any added stress.

A major change in Tennessee tort law occurred on June 11th, 2011, when controversial tort-reform legislation capped non-economic damages at $750,000 per plaintiff. Though certain catastrophic injury cases still allow $1,000,000, state law definitely cut back on reimbursement for pain, suffering and emotional trauma. This law is being challenged in the courts, but for now, it is fully in effect.

Despite these new limitations, however, economic damages can be collected for medical expenses, loss of work, inability to continue your career and more. Furthermore, most tort claims never reached as high as 3/4 million dollars per person to begin with, and some claims fall under federal law. Thus, with the help of a good Nashville personal injury lawyer, victims can still expect to secure extensive damages. Experienced personal injury attorneys, such as those at the Law Offices of Eric Beasley, know how to fight hard and win the maximum reimbursement allowed by the law.

Some of the most common causes of personal injury that lead to a lawsuit include auto accidents, slip and fall injuries at work, medical malpractice, defective and dangerous devices, nursing home abusive neglect  and dog bites. There are, of course, many other types of cases, but they all have these fundamental facts in common: