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For most people in Tennessee, whether you live in Memphis, Jackson, Knoxville, Nashville, or Chattanooga, we get up each day and go to work. Workers rely on their paychecks to take care of everyday necessities – rent, mortgage, utilities, food, childcare, bills and more. What happens if one day, you go to work like you always do, but when performing your job duties, you get hurt? All of the sudden, you start to worry about your health and how you can get better. Another concern is your paycheck, and how bills could start to pile up.

Suffering a work-related injury is stressful. Sometimes there can be animosity towards a co-worker or the employer itself, especially when the injured employee thinks his or her employer did something to cause the injury. A question commonly asked by injured Tennessee workers is this: can I sue my employer for a work injury?

The Exclusive Remedy Rule

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ThinkstockPhotos-619512230Bird scooters are all the buzz in Memphis these days. In June 2018, Bird and the City of Memphis reached an agreement to bring the California-based startup to the Bluff City, marking the 15th United States city for Bird. Memphians who want to use a Bird scooter can rent them from Bird’s smartphone app and pick them up and drop them back off at designated spaces, which initially will be Downtown, Midtown, Cooper-Young, Uptown and South City. Proponents of these scooters tout additional mobility options for Memphis residents and tourists. But what happens if you get into an accident while riding a Bird scooter?

Safety Is Most Important

Members of the Memphis City Council are excited about Bird and what it could mean to Memphis. City Councilman Kemp Conrad described the move as “Memphis being an innovative, nimble and busy, friendly city.” Of course, with more scooter traffic comes safety concerns, and the top priority is always to keep citizens safe. For example, one condition of Bird entering Memphis is a requirement that Bird launch a citywide marketing and targeted community outreach to educate the public as to how to safely operate and maneuver these electric scooters.

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Talcum-Powder-on-WoodAnother talcum powder verdict was handed down against Johnson & Johnson – this time, the large Fortune 500 company was ordered to pay $4.69 billion to 22 women (and their families) who argued Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products caused them to suffer ovarian cancer. The verdict was awarded in Missouri, following a trial with claims that the company failed to warn the victims of cancer risks associated with use of J&J products such as baby powder. The jury verdict consisted of $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages.

The trial, which was held in St. Louis, Missouri, lasted nearly six weeks. Jurors heard testimony from expert witnesses on both sides. They also heard testimony of the plaintiffs. 15 of the 22 plaintiffs were in the courtroom. Unfortunately, six of the plaintiffs died as a result of ovarian cancer before trial, and one was too ill to attend due to her chemotherapy. According to reports, the jury spent eight hours deliberating over compensatory damages but just 45 minutes on punitive damages.

Why Are Talcum Powder Lawsuits Filed?

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ThinkstockPhotos-695204372Each year, legislators from all states introduce proposed bills in an effort to better their particular state, and Tennessee is no different. Throughout legislative sessions, proposed bills are introduced among a wide range of topics, including healthcare, motor vehicles, watercraft, child custody, drug offenders, constitutional rights, firearms, public contracts, taxes, and real estate. Through the voting procedures of the state, many of these bills get signed into law. In Tennessee, more than 150 bills became law effective July 1, 2018. Here is a summary of all of the new Tennessee laws. Below are a few that apply specifically to public safety:

  • Boating laws – Bill SB1335 affects boating across Tennessee’s bodies of waters, including numerous lakes where people like to enjoy holidays. One new requirement is that any Tennessee resident born after January 1, 1989 must obtain a boating education certificate before renting a boat. If a resident from another state wishes to rent a boat in Tennessee, that individual must present a boating education certificate from his or her home state.
  • Proof of motor vehicle registration – Bill SB0727 will now allow people to show evidence of proper title and registration of their motor vehicle via electronic formats. These formats could include cell phones or similar electronic devices such as tablets.
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ThinkstockPhotos-849305810All parents want to have a healthy baby, but sometimes it is simply out of their control. Statistics show that out of every 1,000 infants born in the United States, between 6 to 8 of them will be born with some type of birth injury. Birth injuries can have a lasting effect on the infant as well as the infant’s parents and family members.

What Is a Birth Injury?

Birth injuries commonly arise due to physical pressure during the birthing process. This typically happens in or around the birth canal. Sometimes, an infant will suffer injuries that simply heal themselves and resolve without the need for any medical treatment or future procedures. Others are not as lucky.

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ThinkstockPhotos-149419721Summer is out in full force. Cookouts, vacations, breaks from work and school – entertainment options are all over the place. In Southeastern areas like Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri, a popular activity is a trip to the lake. On any body of water, you may see boats and jet skis. Boating activities can be fun, whether we are fishing, water skiing, tubing, or just relaxing. However, safety should always be the top priority, as boat accidents are on the rise.

Boating Accident Statistics and Causes

According to the American Boating Association, 2016 saw 4,463 boating accidents, the highest number since 2012. Of these accidents, there were 2,903 injuries and 701 fatalities. All in all, these accidents caused nearly $49 million in property damage. The 2016 statistics unfortunately show troubling trends when compared to 2015 – there were 7.3% more accidents, 12% more deaths, and 11.1% more injuries in 2016.

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Self-Driving-Semi-TruckOn March 18, 2018, a 49-year-old woman was killed after being struck by one of Uber’s autonomous vehicles in Tempe, Arizona. Around 10:00 p.m. that evening, the victim was crossing the street when she was struck by an Uber autonomous vehicle traveling approximately 40 miles per hour. This tragic accident has received heavy media coverage as a story of major public interest. Autonomous and self-driving vehicles have surged in popularity recently, with some of the biggest tech companies in the world investing heavily in the technology.

As more information continues to be released, here are 5 things to know at this time:

1. The accident happened with a human operator sitting inside Uber’s self-driving car. It is common for companies testing self-driving vehicles to utilize “test operators” to remain inside the vehicle. Their roles include monitoring the road and being able to grab the wheel, apply the brakes, or take other corrective action when necessary. Video footage of the inside of the Uber car showed the operator, a 44-year-old man, appearing to look at something else inside the car when the accident happened, instead of being focused on the road ahead at all times.

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Car-Crash-Cell-Phone-PhotoLike all states, the Volunteer State sees its fair share of motor vehicle accidents. Accidents can cause one’s life to flip upside down in the blink of an eye. While some victims are fortunate in that the wreck causes little to no damage to anyone’s vehicle or property, others are not nearly as lucky. Catastrophic accidents can cause permanent injuries or even death. The Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security works to protect Tennesseans and reduce motor vehicle crashes, which includes providing driver education and keeping track of statistics.

2017 Tennessee driving statistics were recently released, and they yielded interesting results. For starters, there were a total of 208,104 motor vehicle crashes statewide, with 50,174 deemed to have caused an injury. Of course, these would only include injuries reported at the scene, so this figure is likely much higher considering some motor vehicle accident related injuries can take hours, days, or longer to develop. The total accident figure is an increase from 2016, when 206,404 wrecks were reported. While accidents saw a slight increase from 2016 to 2017, these figures represent a stark increase from 2008, when 159,214 accidents were reported.

In 2017, fatal car accidents slightly increased from 2016, going from 1,037 to 1,040. July was the deadliest month, with 120 fatal crashes. This can likely be attributed to the 4th of July, a holiday that typically sees a higher rate of drunk driving. 83 of the fatal crashes in 2017 involved teen drivers, compared to 103 in 2016. While teen driving fatalities decreased, the opposite occurred to seniors aged 65 and older. In 2017, 250 seniors were involved in deadly accidents, compared to 231 in 2016. Pedestrian fatalities also increased from 2016, going from 110 to 134.

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On March 1, 2018, in Carpenter v. Southern Transit, the Tennessee’ Workers Compensation Appeals Board affirmed the trial court’s ruling in favor of NST’s client that had suffered an on the job injury. Following his injury, our client’s medical treatment recommended by his doctor was denied by multiple insurance carriers, leading to NST attorney Monica R. Rejaei filing for an expedited hearing on the issue, which was granted. The decision was appealed, with the insurance companies claiming our client’s injuries were not caused by his employment.

Under Tennessee workers’ compensation law, “injury” is defined to mean “an injury arising out of and in the course of employment that causes either disablement or death of the employee and shall include occupational diseases arising out of and in the course of employment that cause either disablement or death of the employee.” To determine whether one’s condition constitutes an on the job “injury” compensable through workers’ compensation, relevant evidence can include the employee’s medical records and testimony of the treating physician.

Our client is a 66 year old resident of Memphis, Tennessee, employed as a truck driver for a logistics company. Occasionally, he would drive trucks belonging to another trucking company in the area when his primary truck was being serviced. In November 2016, while operating a truck belonging to the other company but within the course and scope of his employment, our client was transferring a trailer to another driver and bringing said driver’s trailer back to the hub. During this travel, the driver’s seat in the tractor was broken, continuously striking him in the lower back throughout his travel. He reported this injury to his supervisor that day. Just over one week later, as our client was stepping out of the truck belonging to the other company, he felt a sharp pain in his lower back that radiated down into his legs. This incident was once again reported to his supervisor.

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On March 1, 2018, Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz (NST Law) opened an office in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to better serve the growing client base throughout Southeast Missouri, which includes Cape Girardeau County (including Cape Girardeau and Scott City), Scott County (including Sikeston and Benton), Butler County (including Poplar Bluff), Stoddard County (including Dexter), Pemiscot County (including Hayti and Caruthersville), Dunklin County (including Malden and Kennett), St. Francois County (including Farmington and Bonne Terre), and surrounding areas. NST attorneys David W. Hill and Glenn K. Vines are licensed to practice law in Missouri, and attorneys Amanda Altman and Travis Bargeon will serve as Of-Counsel to the firm’s Cape Girardeau office.

Our Cape Girardeau office is located at:

210 N. Sprigg Street