Nashville Injury Attorneys Blog

Articles Posted in Personal Injury

What does AAOX3 stand for?
If you are injured in car wreck, odds are the ambulance personnel will immediately start asking you questions. Often, medical responders to your accident will be using medical lingo. Even though you may be able to hear responders speaking about you, you may not understand what they are saying. A common term that you may hear or see in medical records is “AAOX3”, which stands for Alert and Oriented to Person, Place and Time.
Medical responders use AA0X3 to determine your level of awareness by asking:
“What is your name?” which will demonstrate your alertness to Person,
“Do you know where you are?” to determine if you are alert to Place; and
“What day is it?” to show your awareness of Time.
An additional indicator that may be referred to (AAOX4), is Event, “Do you know what happened?”
These questions are important in head injury and concussion cases. The answers help emergency responders find out what happened and also give health care providers insight into whether you blacked out or sustained a head injury in the accident. If you are ever in an accident, our attorneys will be your voice to ensure you not only understand what is happening with your claim but that will also recover a fair settlement in light of your injuries.

As some of you may know my wife Megan has suffered from RSD/CRPS since August of 2012 after a surgery. We encountered doctors that do not understand this disease. We struggled to understand it ourselves. Luckily, we found some great physicians and therapists who went out of their way to help Megan. Unfortunately, many people struggling with CRPS do not have the understanding, diagnosis, resources or connections to fight it.

Megan has joined a national effort to make November 2, 2015 “Color the world orange day.” The color orange is a reference to the fire-like burn that CRPS patients feel. She asked the Governor to proclaim, like in other states, November 2, 2015 “Color the world orange day” to spread awareness of this poorly understood disorder. Today we received this proclamation from Governor Haslam.

CRPS Awareness Day.JPG

We encourage everyone who knows about RSD/CRPS to spread the awareness of this painful disease so that we can be better trained to fight it and find a cure.

Here is a quick reminder from Nashville car wreck and injury attorney Jonathan Williams of what to do if you are involved in an automobile accident.

1. Call the Police-Get an accident report from the police even if it seems minor. This can be critical to scene recreation if necessary. It also helps identify witnesses and is helpful for the car insurance companies and attorneys to get your claim started quickly. The Metro Nashville Police Department non-emergency line is 615-862-8600.

2. Medical Attention- If you are able, ask if the other parties are okay. If you are injured, seek immediate medical attention for yourself or call 911. Don’t wait. Untreated injuries may get worse over time. Make sure you tell the Doctor about all possible injuries.

3. Document- Take a picture of the other parties Insurance card and get their cell number. Take pictures at the scene of both cars if possible AND the surroundings of the accident. If you believe the other party was not properly obeying street signs or traffic lights, document the signs or lights with a photograph.

4. Do no call – Do not talk to the insurance company for the other party until you have first talked to a lawyer. If you are injured; call Jonathan Williams for FREE advice. If you receive a call, tell them limited personal info only. Let your car wreck attorney deal with the insurance company.

Remember – Your phone or in person consultation with Nashville car wreck attorney Jonathan Williams is always FREE. Call 615-256-8880 to find out more.

The last thing you want to do on a snow day is talk to a Nashville injury attorney. We have all seen the news warning us not to drive and pictures and stories of car wrecks all over Middle Tennessee. Since you should not drive on ice, remember, when you walk, “Walk Like A Penguin!”

According to the National Safety Council, slip and falls are the second leading cause of un-intentional deaths at home. So, if you have to walk on ice, do your best penguin impersonation.


Wear proper footwear, widen your foot base, keep your arms close to your body, turn your feet outward, take small steps, and watch for any curbs or steps that may cause a fall. Concentrate while walking. Don’t text and walk.

Remember your animals need protection as well. If you have a dog, go for short walks during bad weather. Ice can freeze in between their paws and injure your pet so wipe their paws with a warm washcloth and dry after being outside. Use a short leash and do not let your dog go out unattended. Remember that your dog probably cannot “Walk like a Penguin.” If it can, send me a video and I will post it here.

The short answer is yes, but it wasn’t always this way in Tennessee. For many years Tennessee was a contributory negligence state. That meant that if an accident was even 1% your fault you could not recover any damages through the Tennessee legal system. Thankfully, in 1992 Tennessee adopted a modified comparative fault system in the landmark case of McIntyre v. Balentine. Rather than completely barring someone from recovery if they are partially at fault in car wreck in Tennessee, comparative fault allows a person to recover damages depending on their percentage of fault in the accident.

Under pure comparative fault a person can recover damages in a car accident even if they are mostly at fault. If Jack and Jill are in a car accident and Jack is 95% at fault, Jack could in theory sue Jill for damages. However, it is likely that Jill would also file a lawsuit against Jack and whatever award Jack was granted would be minimal compared to that which Jill would be granted since the accident was almost entirely Jack’s fault. In the grand scheme it is really quite pointless for Jack to even file a lawsuit in this situation. For that reason Tennessee adopted the “modified” comparative fault system.

The modified comparative fault system allows a person to recover damages for an accident as long as their fault is less than that of the opposing party. So, if you are in an accident that is partially your fault you may still be able to recover damages for your medical bills, property damages, pain and suffering, etc. An injured person is not entitled to any recovery if the person was 50% or more at fault for causing the damages. Ultimately, a jury and not an insurance adjustor makes this finding.

You may be asking, “what if I’m not sure who was more at fault in my accident?” Car wrecks are determined on a factual case by case basis. Even if you think that an accident was 50% your fault, you may want to at least consult an experienced Tennessee injury attorney. In Tennessee, if a jury or judge finds that you are 49% at fault or less, you are still entitled to a fair recovery but your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

It is important to understand the principal of fairness that is at the heart of comparative fault. The goal is to create a system that is much more reasonable than contributory negligence. Under comparative fault, a person is only entitled to the percentage of the damage that was not caused by their own negligence or irresponsibility. For example, if at trial it is determined that you were 20% at fault in your accident, then you are entitled to 80% of the damages you incurred as a result of the accident.
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The Tennessean reported today that Nashville is one of the most dangerous metropolitan areas for pedestrians. You can read the article here. It includes the following report:

A report released this week identified the Nashville metro area as one of the most dangerous for pedestrians. The study by Smart Growth America, an advocacy group on pedestrian and urban design issues, looked at the number of pedestrian deaths and how often people are walking in those cities.

The Nashville metro area — with 210 pedestrian deaths between 2003 and 2012 — ranked 15th most dangerous out of the 51 areas studied. Memphis was fifth worst, behind four metro areas in Florida.

As Nashville grows, city planners and motorist must be conscious of people on sidewalks and bicycles.

There are many time deadlines in the law. In Tennessee, attorneys know that the statute of limitations (a type of deadline) for injury claims is different that for contract claims. However, for claims involving negligent construction or design of an improvement to real estate, there is another important deadline called a statute of repose.

While a statute of limitations can be extended under certain circumstances, a statue of repose is more strictly enforced and creates an absolute barrier to claims brought after that date. For the construction or design of improvements to a home or other property, the legislature passed Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-202 which states:

All actions to recover damages for any deficiency in the design, planning, supervision, observation of construction, or construction of an improvement to real property, for injury to property, real or personal, arising out of any such deficiency, or for injury to the person or for wrongful death arising out of any such deficiency, shall be brought against any person performing or furnishing the design, planning, supervision, observation of construction, construction of, or land surveying in connection with, such an improvement within four (4) years after substantial completion of such an improvement.

The four year statute of repose begins to run on the date of substantial completion as opposed to the date of the injury or damage. Caldwell v. PBM Properties, 310 S.W. 3d 818, 823 (Tenn. Ct. App. Sept. 29, 2009)(permission to appeal denied Mar. 15, 2010). The statue of repose is “‘substantive … and extinguish[es] both the right and remedy…'” Id. “‘Thus, the effect is to prevent what might otherwise be a cause of action from ever arising… The injured party literally has no cause of action.'” Id. Moreover, “the traditional three-year statute of limitations for injury to property found at Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-105 (2000), cannot extend the existence of a cause of action outside the ceiling “superimposed” by Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-202. Id. at 823-24 (citing Watts v. Putnam County, 525 S.W. 2d 488, 491 (Tenn.1975).

Substantial completion is defined as the date upon which the improvement could be used for that which it was intended. Counts Co. v. Praters, Inc., 392 S.W.3d 80, 86 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2012). The fact that someone attempted repairs after completion of the project does not change the date of substantial completion. Id.

As a result, it is important for people with claims involving poor design, whether it be a breach of contract or an injury claim, to consult with an attorney as soon as the defect is found.

Workers’ compensation protects seriously injured Tennesseans from losing everything. It is a compromise that has protected workers in our state since 1919 and it is under attack. Governor Bill Haslam has introduced legislation that will drastically reduce benefits and keep insurance companies from facing a judge in the courts by creating a purely administrative system, much like unemployment is today.

The new system will have administrative judges appointed by the Governor. The cards will be stacked against every injured worker. The costs of this system are enormous and will be paid by taxpayers. In addition, if insurance companies get out of paying for injuries, then those costs will ultimately be paid by taxpayers through Medicare, TennCare and Social Security.

But, you wonder, don’t the legislators care about the rights of citizens over those of big corporations and insurance companies? No, they don’t. The Chairman of the House and Human Resources Committee yesterday was filmed saying he was going to “freight-train” the bill through the legislative process, regardless of what the opposing side has to say. Here is the link to the video of his remarks. Here is an article about the open-mic gaffe. In his remarks, Chairman Eldridge was responding to a letter to the editor that you can read here. When asked to explain his remarks, the Chairman refused to talk.

I was at the subcommittee meeting yesterday. The room was packed, standing room only. The crowd overflowed down the hall. Everyone was wearing stickers urging the subcommittee to vote no. Rep. Susan Lynn, the subcommittee chair, refused to hear from injured workers and pro-employee organizations. But, she did allow the administrator of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to testify. Talk about a one-sided debate.

Will you help me fight this? The bill is before the full Consumer and Human Resources Committee next Tuesday at 10 am at Legislative Plaza. If you will meet me at my office at 9:15 am. on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 we will gather a group at my office and walk to the meeting together (two blocks from the office). I will reimburse you if you have to pay to park. I hope you can join me because the room next week will be much larger and we will need more people to show the committee that both sides should be heard and no one needs such an important piece of legislation to be “rammed” through government.

In the meantime, before Tuesday, please contact your legislators and let them know to vote know. Here is a link for an easy way to do that. The letter is already written, just insert your email, address and zip code.

I hope to see you Tuesday to help us save workers’ compensation in Tennessee.

Today, January 2, 2013 ends a more than 4 year battle for my client Debbie who was seriously injured when she fell at work in October of 2008. Her employer’s workers’ compensation carrier initially accepted responsibility and paid for her medical care. However, when she was released to return to work, her employer terminated her and denied her any more medical treatment or other benefits. Needing help, Debbie turned to me to help her fight the insurance company.

I filed a workers’ compensation case in Nashville for Debbie. The insurance company, having originally agreed that Debbie was hurt at work, denied her claim and argued that she was entitled to nothing. After at least 10 depositions, including many experts, we had a three day trial resulting in a large judgment for Debbie. The case settled a few days later to avoid an appeal resulting in a $115,000 payment.

Not every case gets this involved. But some do, and when an insurance company treats an injured person like Debbie was treated, you need an aggressive Nashville injury attorney to fight for you. Whether its a car wreck, construction injury or work comp claim, insurance companies in Tennessee often play hard-ball, trying to save money on valid claims. If you know of someone who needs help like Debbie did, have them call me or email me.