Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. is the continuation of one of Bristol, Tennessee’s oldest law firms which has been assisting clients in this region since 1909. We have a skilled staff and our law practice is built on the principle of personal service and relationships.
Tennessee Personal Injury Attorney Myers Massengill II defends the rights of his clients who have suffered injury caused by the negligence or willful act of another person. Personal injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways. The following are some of the most common accidents resulting in personal injury:
If you or someone you care about has been injured in Eastern Tennessee, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers of Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. toll free at 423-484-8240 or via email using the contact form in the left-hand column to set up a free consultation with a skilled personal injury lawyer. Don't delay -- there are statutes of limitation that apply.
Personal injury claims are legal disputes that arise when an individual suffers harm from an accident or injury caused by the negligence or intention of another individual or party. A personal injury case can become formalized through civil court proceedings, or may be resolved through an informal settlement before a lawsuit is filed.
Unlike criminal cases, which are initiated by the government, a formal personal injury case typically starts when a private individual (plaintiff) files a civil charge against another individual, business, corporation, or government agency (defendant), alleging that their negligent or careless actions caused the plaintiff to sustain injury or harm.
Most people think of personal injury as a physical injury caused by another party, but not all personal injury causes physical harm. There is a form of personal injury that does no physical harm, but can be extremely harmful to a person’s reputation, or "character." This form of personal injury is called defamation, which is sometimes known as "defamation of character."
Most personal injury disputes are resolved through an informal settlement, usually between those involved in the dispute, their insurers, and attorneys representing both sides. A settlement commonly takes the form of negotiation, followed by a written agreement in which both sides forgo any legal recourse, opting instead to resolve the dispute through an acceptable monetary arrangement.
What financial compensation might I be entitled to in a personal injury claim?
Personal Injury victims are entitled to recover monetary damages for all losses and expenses they incur as a result of an accident. The damages may include:
What is negligence in regard to personal injury?
Negligence is any conduct that falls below the standards of behavior established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. A person has acted negligently if he or she has departed from the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances. Negligence is also the name of a cause of action in the law of torts. To establish negligence, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff, the defendant breached that duty by failing to conform to the required standard of conduct, the defendant's negligent conduct was the cause of the harm to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff was, in fact, harmed or damaged.
How do I prove negligence?
The burden of proof in a tort case, as in most civil law cases, is lower than the proof required in criminal law cases. In a criminal case, the state must prove a person's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. To win a personal injury lawsuit based on tort law, the plaintiff need only prove that a majority of the evidence shows that an injury was caused by the defendant's negligent actions. This standard of proof is called "the preponderance of the evidence." The different burdens of proof mean that a company might be acquitted of criminal charges stemming from its actions, but be found liable in a civil lawsuit stemming from the same actions.
What if the accident is partly my fault, do I still have a claim?
Even if an accident or injury was partially your fault, you still may have a claim based on the concept of Comparative Negligence or Contributory Negligence. The term "Contributory Negligence" is used to describe the actions of an injured person who may have contributed to their own injuries. For example, a person who ignores a "Caution - Wet Floor" sign and slips and falls in the supermarket may be found to have been careless and at fault for any injuries sustained. "Contributory Negligence" can prevent a person from collecting any monies to compensate for injuries suffered, even if that person's carelessness was minor.
The term "Comparative Negligence" means that the fault of all parties involved is compared, and the amount of the recovery for damages sustained by the injured victim is reduced by the percentage of his or her own fault. In this way, each person is held accountable for the amount of damages that they caused.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
Every state has certain time limits, called "statutes of limitations," that govern the period during which you must file a personal injury lawsuit. In some states, for example, you may have as little as one year to file a lawsuit from an automobile accident. When the statute of limitations expires on your case, you simply don't have a case anymore.
Statutes of limitation differ not only from state to state, but also in regard to the kinds of lawsuits involved. In some states the statute of limitations for medical malpractice, suits against governmental agencies, and wrongful death actions is shorter than that for other types of personal injury cases. In general, however, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is from one to three years, and the time begins from the time of the accident. There are some exceptions and an experienced lawyer can help you with them.