The Cohn Law Firm
handles many different types of personal injury
cases. These include car, truck, and motorcycle
accidents, Medical Malpractice, slip and fall
accidents, workers' compensation accidents, and
other similar injury cases.
These cases are based
on the law of negligence, except for Workers'
Compensation, which is based on a statute enacted
by the Legislature to protect workers.
I. Initial Interview
The attorney must meet
with you for an interview so that he might obtain
all of the information needed to determine whether
the Firm will take your case and thus help you.
This information will include facts about yourself,
your family, the accident, the person who caused
the accident, and many other different
authorization will have to be signed by the client
so that we might obtain medical
Further, a release of
information is often obtained from the client so
that we might obtain other information about you
which may be needed.
Finally, our contract of retainer must
be signed in every case. The contract of retainer provides for a
contingency fee agreement within the guidelines of the statutes
and laws of the state of Tennessee. The contract provides that no
attorney fees are paid unless we obtain a recovery for you either
by settlement or by Judgment. It may further provide an increased
percentage if the case is appealed to the Court of Appeals or Supreme
Court of Tennessee or of the United States. Further, it also provides
that the expenses of the case will be borne by the client. On occasion,
we may advance some expenses for you, but these are not credited
against attorney fees. This is your case and we certainly want you
to maintain an interest in this case. Your financial participation,
even though it is minimal, helps us ensure that you will maintain
your interest in this case.
for a free appointment to discuss your situation.
A. After you leave the
office, we will obtain an accident report if one
exists from the Sheriff's Department, the Police
Department, or whatever authority has the accident
report. Further, we will contact your employer and
your employer's Workmens' Compensation insurance
carrier. We will try to obtain copies of your
medical records from them. If you are not happy
with their doctors, you should see your choice of
doctor. We can use that doctor's opinion if it
differs with the Insurance company's doctor.
However, the doctor will be at your cost, or at the
cost of your hospitalization insurance if it will
B. We will investigate
the case and determine if you have a reasonable
probability of having a successful case. We will
either inform you that we do not wish to proceed,
or we will proceed with the case. If we do not wish
to proceed, then we will notify you that we are not
proceeding and we will close our file.
IF WE DO NOT HAVE A
WRITTEN CONTRACT SIGNED BY YOU, AND BY ALL
NECESSARY PARTIES, THEN WE WILL NOT PROCEED AND WE
WILL NOT INVESTIGATE YOUR CLAIM, even if we have
opened a file.
C. If we decide to
proceed to represent you, we will then send letters
to all of your doctors, therapists, and hospitals
to which you have been admitted either as an
inpatient or as an outpatient and obtain your
medical records and bills. We also try to obtain
narrative reports from your physicians who treat
It is important that
you see a medical specialist for each different
affliction. Your injuries are not your fault, and
you should not sacrifice adequate medical diagnosis
for someone else's financial well being.
It is also important
that you see your physician and continuously
communicate to him the pain you are suffering or
the progress that you are making. If a physician
does not believe that you are suffering pain, and
you continue to suffer pain, then you should obtain
a new physician.
Your physicians may
not release you for a substantial length of time.
We will not settle your case until the physician
has either released you, or given you a percentage
of disability with an assessment of how much more
treatment that you will need.
Once you contact us
and inform us that the physician has released you,
we will then obtain updated reports and bills from
D. We may also give
you a form to be completed which will indicate how
many days and hours you have missed from work
because of this accident. If you are self-employed,
we have a separate form for you to complete, but we
will also need copies of your tax returns for the
last three years. Only in this way can we obtain
your lost wages for you.
E. We will need for
you to provide us with the names of the physicians,
doctors, and any other medical related providers
that you have seen or see after the initial
F. UNLESS WE RECEIVE A
WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT FROM YOUR DOCTOR SIGNED BY YOU,
WE HAVE THE OPTION OF PAYING YOUR PHYSICIANS
DIRECTLY WITH SETTLEMENT PROCEEDS OR COLLECTED
JUDGMENT FUNDS. On occasion, we may pay the
physicians and/or hospitals directly from recovered
funds. We may also pay those funds directly to you
and allow you to pay the medical providers.
Pursuant to the contract, that is our
G. Further, we will
need you to provide us with a copy of all items for
which you have lost money because of this accident.
This includes estimates from body shops for your
property damage, and estimates to replace personal
property items lost or damaged in the accident. We
will need copies of invoices (if available) showing
what you paid originally for items which would have
been lost or damaged in the accident. Further, we
would need copies of any receipts for the purchase
of new glasses, new dentures, or any other items
which you have had to purchase as a result of this
H. Costs are the
responsibility of the client. These must be paid in
Costs prior to the
filing of a lawsuit are generally less than
$150.00, unless an investigator is hired for
special investigation, or unless doctors must be
obtained for evaluation of a medical malpractice
case, in which the event the cost would be $650.00
The filing of a
lawsuit for negligence commonly requires a filing
fee to the Court of approximately $350.00;
deposition costs for a Court Reporter and for
Expert Witnesses (this may include but is not
limited to dentists, doctors, engineers, vocational
specialists, psychologists, accident
reconstructionists, and investigators) of from
$300.00 to $5,000.00; costs for blow up pictures
and diagrams, photocopies, travel, and clerks fees.
III. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
In Tennessee, THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
IN Workers' Compensation ACTIONS (injuries to the person) IS ONE
YEAR FROM THE DATE OF THE INJURY, OR ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE THAT
YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN OF THE INJURY. Sometimes where there is a
continuous buildup of an injury, such as a progressively deteriorating
back, the time limit is a little less restrictive. The Statute of
Limitations for property damage (not injuries to the person) is
three years from the date the accident happens.
Many times, the client
is not released until very near the end of the
year. We must file the lawsuit, however, before the
As you can see, these
type of cases can take a very long time. We do not
like to settle these cases quickly because a quick
settlement may mean that certain delayed injuries
or delayed reactions to injuries or other
consequent problems you might experience may not be
Once the case is settled or Judgment
in a lawsuit is entered, you cannot then go back and sue for more.
If you cannot stand up the next day after the settlement or judgment,
the odds are that you are not going to be able to obtain any more
compensation. Therefore, it is important that the case be properly
administered, analyzed, and a settlement in the proper amount be
for a free appointment to discuss your situation.
At some point in time,
we will have obtained all of the information and we
will submit a demand letter to the insurance
company of the defendant or to the defendant. We
will try to obtain for you all of your medical
expenses, medical reports, lost wages, property
damage, and any other damages you may
We cannot obtain an
amount for you to compensate you for the pain that
you have suffered. This is not allowed in Workers'
Compensation. In return, the legislature has
included in the law that your fault is NOT an
issue. That is the trade off. Further, your sole
remedy against your employer is the Workers'
Compensation Lawsuit. You cannot sue him for
negligence, even if the employer kept someone on
the payroll who punched you. You can sue a third
party such as another vehicle who hit your
employer's truck which you were driving; but
workers' compensation insurance gets paid back
first from any proceeds for any medical bills that
the insurance or the employer has paid for you and
for any benefits that the insurance or the employer
has paid to you. This is called their right of
If we cannot obtain a
settlement directly with the employer or its
insurance company, we can arrange a settlement
conference presided upon by the state of Tennessee
Department of Labor. This is a mediation
If there are any
broken bones, broken teeth, bad cuts, bad bruises
or other items which a jury would first hand
understand to be more painful, then we will be able
to obtain a larger settlement.
If there is any
permanent disability or permanent disfigurement,
this obviously would lead to a still larger
settlement. Further medical expenses may also be
considered. Obviously psychological damage, if
present, will still further increase the amount of
In any event, the
final decision as to whether or not to accept a
settlement will be yours. We will be happy to make
a recommendation upon your request and to explain
how we arrived at our recommendation and demand.
However, the final decision will be yours.
Should you decide that
the insurance company is not dealing in good faith,
you may want to sue. Please understand that the
insurance company is in business to make money.
Rarely do they offer the lawyer anywhere near what
could be obtained in trial, and more rarely still
would the insurance company offer an individual
without a lawyer anything more than his medical
payments and an amount to fix your car. "Good
Faith" interferes with the insurance company's
"profit", and the adjusters "bonuses" and
"promotions", and good faith is therefore not in
the vocabulary of the insurance company. To make a
long story short, the insurance company is not
interested in your best interests. You are not
A lawsuit involves
filing a Complaint. The defendant files an Answer.
Each party may serve written questions on the other
party, and the party must file written answers.
Each party may request documents, and these
documents must be produced. Depositions may be
taken of the parties and the witnesses. This is
where the lawyers and the party or a witness sit
down before a court reporter, and the lawyers ask
the party or witness questions. The court reporter
records the questions and answers, and types it up
for the lawyers to use at trial.
There may be Motions
filed and argued. This is where a Judge decides
questions of law upon which the lawyers disagree
prior to trial. The Judge may also, upon motion of
one of the lawyers, dismiss the case, or grant a
Judgment to one of the parties without a trial.
This is called a Summary Judgment and means that
the Judge has decided that there is no need to have
a trial on one issue or on all issues.
There are expert
witnesses which must be hired. These costs money,
as do doctors who are going to testify, even if the
doctors testify by deposition. Investigations and
court reporters are another common source of
Finally, there is
trial. This will last from two days to two weeks,
and possibly more.
A Judgment is entered
either for you or against you. This can be appealed
to the State Court of Appeals (or to the 6th
Circuit Court of Appeals if your trial is in
Federal Court). After the Court of Appeals rules,
you must ask for permission to appeal to the
Supreme Court of Tennessee (or the Supreme Court of
the United States if your case is in Federal
Court). During the appeal time, your Judgment is
After the appeal
process is over, if you have won, we can then
obtain payment if there is an insurance company
involved. If not, we must utilize our knowledge of
post-judgment collection procedures to collect your
money. It is possible that your Judgment will be
uncollectible if the defendant has no money and no
These are the items
for which you should be compensated by the
defendant under the law of the state of Tennessee.
The lawyer will explain these to you as they vary
from case to case.
McGaughy, et al v. MLG
& W Electrocution Judgment for $450,000.00
Cole & Cole v.
Nichols Car Accident Judgment for
Settlements (which are
not public record)
truck/car accident $105,000.00
for a free appointment to discuss your situation.
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