Below are the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that we receive. If your question is not addressed here, please email us at info@ and we’ll respond.

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
Case Questions

What’s my case worth?

First, if you’d like to speak directly with an attorney to ask this question, please call us at 615-212-5833.

The amount of money damages you can recover is based upon several factors that vary from case to case. In addition to any harm or loss you have suffered or may suffer in the future, these factors also include the strength of the evidence, the degree to which the defendant is at fault, and the credibility of various witnesses for each side.

On the other hand, we can often provide you with a range of possible recovery amounts for common injuries after a careful evaluation of your case. A successful recovery can consist of one or more of three types of damages:

  • Special damages are awarded for losses that can documented, such as actual lost wages, medical expenses, and damage or destruction of property.
  • General damages are awarded for harm and losses that cannot be itemized and measured, such as pain and suffering, physical disfigurement, a child’s loss of a parent or an adult’s loss of a spouse.
  • Punitive damages are sometimes awarded to a plaintiff (or plaintiffs) in order to punish the defendant(s) and to deter others from engaging in the same behavior that led to the harm or losses. You should know, though, that punitive damages are not awarded in the vast majority of injury cases.

It is important to note that both special and general damage awards are not limited only to past damages, but also make allowance for expected future losses, such as, for example, estimated future medical costs and lost wages. For a more specific case examination, please call to speak with one of our attorneys at 615-212-5833.


How long will it take for my case to be completed?

As you might expect, every case is unique and more complex cases take longer to resolve. With that said, cases involving auto accidents or premises liability with typical injuries usually take three to nine months to settle. Please keep in mind, though, that we want to be confident we have the best possible understanding of your long-term medical prognosis and any permanent physical impairment before you sign a release. This can delay completion of your case.

How much does it cost to have an attorney for a personal injury or wrongful death case?

You pay no attorney fees unless we achieve a successful recovery for you, and we will never ask you for a retainer payment. Further, your initial discussions with us and our evaluation of your case will not obligate you in any way. Our fees in personal injury matters are based upon a contingent fee agreement, which specifies that we are paid a percentage of any recovery we make for you, and any costs and expenses advanced by us during the case are deducted from the recovery proceeds at the conclusion of the case.

What is a mediation?

Mediation is a settlement meeting that occurs typically during the litigation process but before a case goes to trial. Both parties will appear, usually with legal representation, before a mediator. The mediator listens to each side and assists in trying to bring the case to a settlement. If neither side agrees on a settlement during the mediation, the case goes to trial.

How long will it take to resolve my case?

The complexity of the case will typically determine how long the case will last. For example, the norm for a medical malpractice case is between one and two years from the day the complaint is first filed. Personal injury cases such as premises liability/auto or general negligence cases will reach resolution in four to eight months if a law suit is not filed. If a law suit must be filed, it can take from six months to two years on average.

Why do I use my insurance when I am not at fault?

The State of Tennessee does not utilize No-Fault insurance or Personal Injury Protection. Therefore, you must use your own health insurance or medical payments insurance under your automobile insurance policy to pay for medical related expenses. The Nashville Law Firm will help you recover these expenses from the defendant and the defendant’s insurance carrier.

My doctor has asked for a letter of protection. What is this used for?

Medical facilities and doctors will sometimes accept a “letter of protection,” which is a document allowing the patient to continue treatment without having to pay for it until a later date – usually when the case is settled or resolved. No matter what the outcome of your case, if you have a letter of protection or not, you are still responsible for payment of the bill. The letter of protection only delays payment until the outcome of the case is determined.

What is MMI?

MMI stands for maximum medical improvement. MMI is when the patient has reached the point where they are as healthy as they can be and their health has stabilized. At that point a doctor may assign the patient a permanent impairment rating according to American Medical Association guidelines. Our office will typically request this information from the doctor in written form, which is often referred to as a “Final Narrative”.

Why is the client responsible for the costs of the case?

The Fee Agreement that clients sign with The Nashville Law Firm sets forth the rights and responsibilities of the client and our firm. Based on this agreement if client wins the case, then they must pay us according to contract, which includes the repayment of all costs fronted by our firm.

Is it better to settle or to go to trial?

The answer to this question largely depends upon the defendants’ willingness to reach a fair resolution. Some defendants insist upon fighting even the most reasonable claims, often for reasons that are not readily apparent to observers.

Still, it is usually preferable to avoid the time, expense and uncertainty of a trial. Preparation for trial proceedings in a major personal injury or wrongful death case can cost tens of thousands—and in rare cases hundreds of thousands or even millions— of dollars, including expenditures for reviews and assessments by experts, travel, court reporter fees, document copies, photography and illustrations, research reports and special tests.

Naturally, these costs and expenses must be deducted from any eventual recovery. And too, the larger the damage award, the more likely that the defendant will appeal, which starts the clock (and the expenses) running again. One research study showed that during 2001, the average time for lawsuits involving auto accidents to come trial was more than three years. [1]

Sensational news reports about million dollar-plus damage awards usually focus only on the dollar amount of the award, without bothering to disclose the months or years of time and the tens of thousands of dollars of costs that were necessary to achieve a successful outcome. Such reports also do not usually disclose the portion of the award that must be set aside for payment of past and expected future medical bills.

In fact, most cases settle without litigation. However, in some cases there is no alternative but to go to trial. When we must pursue a lawsuit on your behalf, we will not hesitate to aggressively argue your claim. And yes, we do file lawsuits on a regular basis.

Automobile Accident Questions

What is the deadline or statute of limitations for an automobile accident claim?

You have one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in Tennessee. There may be an exception to this but do not assume that there is an exception until you have discussed your case with an attorney.

What should I do if I was just in an accident?

First, you should seek medical attention if you have been injured or someone in the accident has been injured. Second, if everyone is okay, you should contact the police even if the accident is relatively minor or the other driver insists that you do not call the police. Always contact the police. Third, gather each driver’s insurance information and gather the names of any witnesses to the accident and make notes of the time of day, the weather, the condition of the road and any other general environmental factors. Finally, technology has advanced to where most drivers have camera phones; you should take pictures of every vehicle from every angle. Should you have any questions, please contact our office to discuss this further with one of our attorneys.

Do I need an attorney?

Yes. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, you should get an attorney right away. Dealing with insurance companies, medical providers and bill collectors can be both stressful and difficult. An attorney will protect your rights and represent you against the insurance companies.

Do I have to give a statement to the insurance companies or sign a medical release?

Generally, the answer to this question is no. You should not give a statement to your insurance company or the defendant’s insurance company until you have discussed your case with an attorney. Additionally, you should not sign a medical release that allows the defendant’s insurance company to obtain your medical records.

Can I pick my doctor if I have been injured in an accident?

Yes, you have the right to decide who you obtain medical care from.

What insurance applies in an automobile accident?

In Tennessee, drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance. This minimum amount is $25,000.00 of bodily injury coverage per person with a maximum of $50,000.00 per accident. This means that the most one individual may recover is $25,000.00 and if there is more than one individual injured, no more that $50,000.00 can be paid out to all of the individuals. If the defendant driver does not have auto insurance, you may be able to recover under uninsured motorist coverage. Also, if the defendant driver does not have sufficient insurance, you may be able to recover under underinsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage is the difference between the defendant’s bodily injury coverage and your own underinsured motorist coverage. Our attorneys are happy to review both your insurance policy and the defendant’s insurance policy to help you understand what coverages apply to your case.

How do my medical bills get paid after an automobile accident?

Your health insurance carrier should pay for your bills related to an automobile accident. However, your health insurance carrier may have a right to subrogation, which means recovery, should you collect any money from the defendant or the defendant’s insurance carrier Also, you may have purchased a medical payments coverage under your automobile insurance policy which will typically pay up to $5,000.00 in medical bills that you have incurred due to the accident. Just like your health insurance carrier, your automobile insurance carrier may have a right to subrogation should you collection money from the defendant or defendant’s insurance carrier.

Is Tennessee a No-Fault state?

Unfortunately, Tennessee is not a No-Fault state and does not require its residents to carry PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage under their automobile insurance policy. If you were injured in a Tennessee automobile accident but carry an automobile policy from another state, your PIP may cover your medical treatment. Should you desire to have an attorney review your policy, please contact our office for a free consultation.

Slip and Fall Accident Questions

What should I do immediately after a slip and fall, or shortly after the incident?

Inspect the area where you fell. In this age of technology, take a picture with your phone of what caused you to fall and the surrounding areas. Many times the property owner will argue that there were warning signs up, such as wet floor signs, when there were not and a photograph could disprove this. Take note of what caused you to fall, how it looked, what it smelled like, and was it dirty? Are there any witnesses? Write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone in the area where the incident occurred, those individuals who saw you fall and others who were there after the incident. The business owner will most likely put together an incident report, so make sure you leave the property with a copy of the report. The incident report is not an item that we can obtain from the business owner unless you have signed it or were provided a copy when you left the property. Most importantly, at least have yourself seen by the EMT after a fall. Many times an injury, especially a head injury, could be more significant than you first believe. Allow the EMT to make the judgment of whether you need to be seen at the hospital.


What is a dangerous or hazardous condition?

A dangerous or hazardous condition is something that the owner knew or should have known about. If you have sustained injuries as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition, this would be the result of something that you were not aware of and the owner failed to warn you about. An example of something hazardous would be a hole that was left on the property after a tree was removed, the grass was allowed to grow over the hole, which would then be hidden from someone on the property. An example of a dangerous condition would be water or other substances that were permitted to sit on the floor when they should have been cleaned or removed. In cases of liquids, the duration of time the liquid was on the floor is very important. This is why you should take note of liquid’s color, if it is dirty, and if it has left any type of stain or appears to have partially dried in some areas.

When should I hire an attorney to help me with my slip and fall case?

You should hire an attorney immediately. Slip and fall cases are considered one of the more difficult types of personal injury cases due to the burden of proof placed on the injured individual in proving that the owner was at fault for the fall. Insurance companies are trained to handle and defend slip and fall cases and will do everything they can to try to get you to settle your case quick and for less than you deserve.

How do I get my medical bills paid for or get medical attention after a slip and fall case if I don’t have insurance?

If you don’t have health insurance, many property insurance policies carry medical payments coverage for individuals injured on a property. This is typically available without the property owner admitting liability and is usually limited to approximately $5,000.00 to $10,000.00 of coverage. The insurance company may sometimes pay these bills directly to the medical provider but usually requires you to submit the bills for reimbursement. Our firm can assist you in dealing with the insurance company in getting your bills either paid to the medical provider or reimbursed to you.

What is the deadline or statute of limitations for a slip and fall claim in Tennessee?

You have one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in Tennessee. There may be an exception to this but do not assume that there is an exception until you have discussed your case with an attorney.

Medical Malpractice Questions

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital worker or hospital, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient.


What is informed consent?

Informed consent means that a physician or medical provider must inform a patient all of the potential benefits, risks and alternatives involved in any surgical procedure, medical procedure or other course of treatment, and must obtain the patient’s written consent to proceed.

If I signed a consent form before a procedure, can I recover any damages in a malpractice case?

You may be able to still recover damages. A consent form does not release a medical provider from a negligent act. If a medical provider deviated from the applicable standard of care in performing a procedure, you may be able to recover against them.

What is the deadline or statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim?

You have one year from the date of the malpractice to file a lawsuit in Tennessee. There may be an exception to this but do not assume that there is an exception until you have discussed your case with an attorney.

[1] Data from Jury Verdict Research show that for 2001, trials involving motor vehicle accidents took more than three years (39 months) from time of incident to start of trial. The comparable time period for medical malpractice cases was over four years (51 months). The National Center for State Courts found that during 1989, the median processing time for all tort cases in the 25 urban trial courts studied was 441 days.

A tort is a legal wrong for which the law allows money damages as a remedy.