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Time Limit for Reporting a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Tennessee

brownandroberto : June 26, 2019 12:57 am : Workers' Compensation

B&R Time Limit for Notifying Employer Workers' Comp

Is There a Time Limit for Reporting a Work-Related Injury?

If you were injured at work, you should promptly notify your employer. In Tennessee, you need to report your work-related injury to your supervisor within 15 days of the accident (or the date when a doctor first tells you that your injury is work-related) so that the proper forms and paperwork can be completed. This revision to a previous law which gave employees 30 days went into effect on July 1, 2016.

What is a Compensable Injury?

In Tennessee, a compensable injury under workers’ compensation law is one that arises “primarily out of and in the course and scope of employment, that causes death, disablement, or the need for medical treatment of the employee” (T.C.A. § 50-6-102(14)).

What if I was Injured Over a Period of Time?

A compensable gradual injury is the result of continual exposure to the conditions of employment, and there is no requirement that your injury be traceable to a definite moment in time or triggering event in order to be compensable (Wyatt v. Mueller Co.).

How Do I Know if I’m Getting the Compensation I Deserve?

The workers’ compensation rules can seem overwhelming, which is why it is often a good idea to enlist the help of an experienced attorney to help make sure you get the compensation you are owed.

If you have been injured at work, put The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto to work for you today. Give us a call at 865-691-2777 or contact us through our website at WWW.BROWNANDROBERTO.COM to set up a free consultation.

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Should I Hire an Attorney for My Workers’ Compensation Claim? 

brownandroberto : June 18, 2019 7:50 pm : Workers' Compensation

B&R Should I Hire an Attorney for my Workers Comp Claim

Should I hire an attorney for my Workers’ Compensation claim?

Some injured workers decide to go it alone on their Workers’ Compensation claim for various reasons.  Some do so because they are worried about paying an attorney or owing money in the end.  Workers with this mindset do not realize that their attorney gets paid out of what it recovered for the worker.  This payment is capped at a low 20% fee plus expenses.  This payment method gives the attorney every incentive to get the worker as much money as possible.

Some injured workers may think they will come out with more money in the end if they avoid hiring an attorney.  This is an especially risky bet to make if the case is in front of a judge. In Admir Hadzic Employer v. Averitt Express, the injured employee sought his temporary pay, known as Temporary Total Disability, from his employer.  He filed a Request for An Expedited Hearing in front of the judge.  He was not represented by an attorney.  The injured employee failed to file his affidavit with the request. His claim was ultimately dismissed on this technicality. This is just one example of the many nuances that most injured workers will not know about.

It is important for injured workers to hire an attorney early in their claim.  Some problems are very difficult to fix on the back end. Injured workers often pick a workers’ compensation doctor that they later regret. The injured worker will not know as much about the tendencies of the physicians as a lawyer that takes a lot of workers’ compensation cases. However, once that worker picks a doctor without legal advice, it is very hard to undo the mistake.

In order to avoid making mistakes in the claim, injured workers should hire an attorney as soon as possible for their workers’ compensation claim. Put The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto to work for you today. Give us a call at 865-691-2777 or contact us through our website at WWW.BROWNANDROBERTO.COM to set up a free consultation.

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If I File a Personal Injury Suit Against Someone, Will They Gain Access to my Psychological History?

brownandroberto : June 12, 2019 2:05 am : Car Accidents

B&R Psychological Records Car Wreck CaseIf I File a Personal Injury Suit Against Someone, Will They Gain Access to my Psychological History?

The short answer in most cases — no.

Oftentimes, individuals with legitimate personal injury claims avoid seeking the compensation they are entitled to for the fear of having personal records exposed in court.

When you file a lawsuit against another person, it is true that they may be able to compel you to produce certain types of records. However, Tennessee law limits the opposing party’s access to your psychological records (T.C.A. 63-11-213). In fact, the communication between you and your licensed psychologist is given the same level of protection as the communication between you and your attorney.

Whether you have been injured in a car accident, at work, or at another’s place of business, bringing a personal injury suit against someone in Tennessee does not necessarily mean you will have to disclose sensitive or embarrassing mental health details. Working with an experienced attorney to file your personal injury suit can help alleviate the stress and fear that often comes with trying to navigate the legal system.

If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of another’s negligence or wrongful acts, put The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto to work for you today. Give us a call at 865-691-2777 or contact us through our website at www.brownandroberto.com to set up a free consultation.

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Does the Statute of Limitations Apply to Bringing in an Uninsured Motorist Carrier?

brownandroberto : June 5, 2019 12:24 am : Blog, Car Accidents

B&R Statute of Limitations Uninsured Motorist Carrier

Statute of Limitations on Car Accidents in Tennessee

In Tennessee, you only have one year after a car accident to bring a personal injury action. This means that if you wait one year plus a day to file a lawsuit to try to seek damages to help compensate you for your injuries from the car accident, you will not be allowed to do so. This is one reason that it is so important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to discuss your options.

Are There Exceptions to the One-Year Limit?

While there is a one year statute of limitations on personal injury cases, a case decided in Tennessee held that the one-year limit does not apply when it comes to bringing the uninsured motorist carrier into the suit (Larrystine Bates v. Michael J. Green, Et Al.).

In this 2017 case, the plaintiff-driver filed a lawsuit against the defendant-driver within one year; then, more than a year after the lawsuit was filed, the plaintiff-driver added her insurer to the suit as the uninsured motorist carrier. The insurance company tried to keep her from adding them to the suit, citing the one-year statute of limitations. However, the court ruled that because the insurance company is not a tortfeasor, meaning that the insurance company is not the one who negligently caused the car accident and thus the driver’s injuries, that they can only be liable under contract law. Under contract law, a six-year statute of limitations applies, rather than the one-year personal injury statute.

You Might Be Wondering, What Does This Mean for Me?

What this means for you is that you have options. If you have been injured in a car accident because of the negligence of another driver who either does not have insurance or can’t be reached, this ruling gives you the opportunity to bring in the uninsured motorist carrier, even past the one-year mark following your accident. However, you still need to file an initial suit before the one-year limit against the other driver.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, put The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto to work for you today. Give us a call at 865-691-2777 or contact us through our website at www.brownandroberto.com to set up a free consultation.

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Distracted Driving Awareness Month

brownandroberto : April 10, 2019 8:58 am : Car Accidents

Brown & Roberto Distracted Driving

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to the National Safety Council, at least 100 people are injured in distracted driving crashes in the U.S. each day. Smartphones, dashboard screens, and other in-vehicle technologies can cause drivers to glance away from the road and take their minds off driving. When a driver reads or sends a text, the average time their eyes are off the road is five seconds. While five seconds may not seem significant, would you be willing to drive down the highway blindfolded for that amount of time?

Smartphone-related distractions often lead to serious injuries in car accidents, but driving distractions aren’t limited to just the use of technology. Eating, drinking, grooming, reading, changing the radio station, or using a GPS device can also cause drivers to take their eyes and minds off the road.

It is important that we all commit to not drive distracted. The Lawyers of Brown and Roberto have seen an increase in injuries due to distracted drivers over the past few years and these accidents are, for the most part, preventable if we all focus on the road in front of us.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, put The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto to work for you today. Give us a call at 865-691-2777 or contact us through our website at www.brownandroberto.com to set up a free consultation.

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Motorcycle Accidents in Tennessee

brownandroberto : March 27, 2019 2:03 pm : Motorcycle Accidents

B&R Motorcycle Accidents

East Tennessee boasts thousands of miles of roadways that are idyllic for motorcyclists. Unfortunately, many motorists are not mindful of motorcyclists on the road. This is a growing issue with the increase in distracted driving. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, there were 166 motorcycle fatalities in 2018 in Tennessee.

The Deadliest Road for Motorcyclists

The “Tail of the Dragon,” an 11-mile stretch located on US 129, is one of the hottest destinations for motorcyclists around the world. But the Dragon is also considered one of the most dangerous roads in Tennessee for motorcyclists.

The Dragon has 318 total curves, so it’s not a road for sightseeing despite the fact that it’s surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest. Taking your eyes off the road for just a second can lead to devastating consequences.

Local police officers have increased their presence along the Dragon in an effort to help prevent life-threatening motorcycle accidents. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents can happen anywhere.

Below are a few tips for preventing accidents and keeping yourself safe on the road.

1. Make Your Presence Known

Wear bright colors and add reflective elements to your apparel and your bike. Always use your headlight and if you’re not sure if a car driver sees you, honk your horn.

2. Wear an Approved Helmet at All Times

Tennessee requires that all motorcyclists, including drivers and passengers, wear a helmet. Some states don’t, but without one you’re twice as likely to suffer traumatic brain injury in a crash.

3. Gear Up

Regardless of the temps, wear long pants and thick sleeves, along with gloves and sturdy shoes that protect your ankles.

4. Be Alert

Watch for road hazards, including potholes, road debris, and standing water. Also be aware of other drivers on the road. Unfortunately, the reality is that most motorcycle accidents are caused by a car driver.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, put The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto to work for you today. Give us a call at 865-691-2777 or contact us through our website at www.brownandroberto.com to set up a free consultation.

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I Was Injured at Work and Then Suffered Another Injury: Does the Second Injury Apply Under Workers’ Compensation?

brownandroberto : March 7, 2019 9:39 am : Employment Law, Workers' Compensation

Brown & Roberto Reinjured from Work Injury (1)Injured at Work Under Workers’ Compensation

If you’ve been injured on the job and have been approved for treatment under the Worker’s Compensation statute by your employer, and then you re-injure yourself as a result of the initial injury, you should still receive medical benefits for the second, related injury.

Your Employer Might Try to Deny Your Second Claim

Sometimes employers approve an initial Worker’s Compensation claim but then attempt to deny you when that initial injury causes another injury. For example, say you injure your left shoulder at work and your employer approves that claim. But then, because you’re relying more on your right shoulder, you ultimately injure it as well. Or maybe you hurt your leg at work and then fall at home as a result of the workplace injury. Your employer might wrongfully try to deny the second medical claim.

When your employer denies your claim, they are denying you access to an authorized treating physician. Your employer is essentially keeping you from establishing that your initial injury caused the need for further medical treatment. This premature denial goes against the Tennessee’s Workers’ Compensation Statute.

Tennessee Law

Tennessee follows the “natural consequences rule” which states, “A subsequent injury, whether in the form of an aggravation of the original injury or a new and distinct injury, is compensable if it is the ‘direct and natural result’ of a compensable injury.” Basically, this means that if you injure yourself as a result of an initial work-related injury, it’s related and should be covered under Worker’s Compensation.

What Now?

If you have been injured at work, put The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto to work for you today. Give us a call at 865-691-2777 or contact us through our website at www.brownandroberto.com to set up a free consultation.

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Legal Jargon: 8 Terms You Need to Know if You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident

brownandroberto : February 19, 2019 10:45 pm : Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, Truck Accidents, Wrongful Death

 

  1. Lawsuit
    If you’ve been injured in a car wreck that you were not at fault in or only partially at fault in, you may be able to file a lawsuit, which is a complaint against another party, to receive compensation.
  2. Settlement
    If you agree to settle in a car wreck case, you’re agreeing to give up the possibility of a lawsuit or other action in exchange for an amount of money that is acceptable to you and the other party. This is common in car wreck cases.
  3. Statute of Limitations
    You don’t have forever to file a lawsuit. In Tennessee, starting on the date of your car wreck, you only have one year to file a lawsuit.
  4. Alternate Dispute Resolution
    This is a way to resolve a disagreement such as the amount of money to be paid without going to court. It is often accomplished through arbitration or mediation where a neutral third party, uninterested in the outcome of your case, helps both parties reach an agreement.
  5. Plaintiff
    The injured party who is filing suit.
  6. Defendant
    The party against whom the plaintiff, or injured party, is filing a claim.
  7. Car Accident Attorney
    An attorney who specializes in car accidents can help you get compensation for any property damage that resulted from the accident, along with any injuries you suffered as a result of the car accident.
  8. Car Accident Attorney Fees
    Fees for car accident cases are contingency based. That means you do not need any money up front for The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto to start working for you. It also means that we don’t get paid unless you do.

If you’ve been injured in a car wreck, the last thing you want to do is try to sort through a bunch of legal jargon to figure out what your next step should be. At The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto, we would be happy to help you navigate the system and take the work off of you so you can focus on recovering and receiving the compensation you are entitled to. Please give us a call at 865-691-2777 or contact us through our website at www.brownandroberto.com to set up a free consultation.

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My Disability Benefits Were Denied: Could It Be a Mistake?

brownandroberto : February 17, 2019 8:20 pm : Social Security Disability, Veterans Disability
If your application for disability benefits was denied, there’s a good chance you might still be entitled to benefits. Contract doctors are paid a flat rate for reviewing disability applications, which means the faster they work the more money in their pockets. This incentivizes physicians to work as quickly as possible to review applications. 
 
Last year, one Tennessee doctor reviewed an average of one case every 12 minutes and earned over $400,000 solely from reviewing, and primarily denying, disability applications. If you were denied benefits, there’s a good chance that the physician who looked at your application made a mistake.
 
Currently, more than one million Americans who have been denied disability benefits are waiting for an appeals hearing. A wrongful denial for a Medicaid applicant typically results in either spiraling medical expenses if you continue to get treatment or a lack of medical care if you choose to avoid the healthcare system altogether.
 

Tennessee has one of the highest denial rates for disability applicants in the nation. With the pressure on doctors to review applications as quickly as possible, mistakes are bound to happen. 

What Should I Do Next?

While the system can seem overwhelming and unfair, the good news is that an experienced attorney can help you get the benefits you are owed. Put our experience to work for you. Let us help you get the benefits you’re entitled to. 

If you or a loved one has been denied disability benefits, contact The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto today by calling 865-691-2777 or visit our website at brownandroberto.com
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Can I Bring an Uninsured Motorist Claim in a Road Debris Accident?

brownandroberto : February 5, 2019 4:16 pm : Car Accidents
B&R Uninsured Motorist
Have you ever been driving down the road when a piece of debris seems to appear out of nowhere, giving you no time to avoid it or even slow down? Road debris can be hard to dodge and can cause major damage to your vehicle and even injury to you.
 

You may be wondering if you can bring an Uninsured Motorist claim when your vehicle is damaged by road debris.

 
Unfortunately, no. Under Tennessee’s Uninsured Motorist statute, uninsured motorist insurance will not cover damage caused by an unknown person, especially when that person is not a motorist.
 
If road debris causes damage to your vehicle and you suspect you know how it got there, it may seem like you should be able to file an uninsured motorist claim. Some even argue that a road debris accident is comparable to a hit-and-run because the person who left behind the road debris left the scene just as a motorist who leave the scene of an accident. 
 
But if you can’t prove by “clear and convincing evidence” who left the debris behind, your only option is to file a collision claim which means you will be considered at-fault by your insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance is only intended for accidents caused by other known motorists.
 
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Put the Lawyers of Brown & Roberto to work for you today by calling 865-691-2777 or by visiting http://brownandroberto.com/
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Stopping for School Buses

brownandroberto : January 4, 2019 11:31 pm : Blog

B&R Stop for School Bus

School bus safety is always a concern, especially now that winter break is almost over with kids going back to school next week. It’s important to know and understand the law about stopping for school buses so you can help keep kids safe and avoid getting a ticket.

Under Tennessee law, you are required to stop when school bus lights are flashing, even if you’re traveling in the opposite direction.

There have been an increasing number of complaints from parents and other bystanders, especially on social media, who witness drivers who don’t stop for buses picking up or dropping off children.

In Tennessee, passing a stopped school bus can get you a fine of anywhere from $250 to $1,000.

If you need legal advice, you deserve serious lawyers who know how to win. Call 865-691-2777 or visit brownandroberto.com today.

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Avoiding Car Accidents in Inclement Weather

brownandroberto : December 21, 2018 10:02 am : Car Accidents

Brown Roberto Inclement Weather Car Accident

Winter is officially here, and with it comes the potential for more severe weather in East Tennessee. While snow days can be filled with hot cocoa, holiday movies, and snow angels, they also bring the potential for increased car wrecks. Snow, freezing rain, sleet, and ice can all lead to car accidents. Below are a few reminders to help you avoid being involved in an accident this holiday season.

  • Stay Home

Obviously the easiest way to avoid a car wreck is to stay off the roads. We know this is not always possible, but try to plan ahead and avoid any unnecessary trips out in inclement winter weather. In East Tennessee fashion, if the meteorologists are calling for snow, go ahead and head to the grocery store to stock up on essentials. Then if you must get out, go straight to your destination and back home. Not only does this reduce your risk of an accident, it also frees up the roads for emergency responders to be able to help those in need.

  • Clean Your Windshield

Driving with impaired visibility is never a good idea; especially in winter weather! If you’ve got snow or ice on your windshield, either start your car a few minutes before you need to leave to give your car time to defrost or keep an ice scraper handy to remove all snow and ice before you start driving.

  • Slow Down

Speed limits are for optimal driving conditions. The Oak Ridge Police Department says, “Even though some roads appear relatively clear, they could still be slick. It doesn’t mean you should drive faster or even go the speed limit. Slow down!” Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination; it’s better to show up a few minutes late than to get in a car wreck.

  • Know Your Vehicle

Be familiar with your vehicle; some models feature a “snow” button to help improve handling in inclement weather. Make sure you have good tires and that your car is up-to-date on its regular maintenance.

If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident this season, it is important to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Contact The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto today by calling 865-691-2777 or by clicking here.

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Settlement Too Low? Four Ways to Know

brownandroberto : March 16, 2017 11:35 am : Workers' Compensation

Workers’ Compensation Settlement Too Low? Four Ways to Know.calculator

Four Ways Your Workers’ Compensation Settlement May Not Be All You Are Entitled To Under The Law:

1. Has Workers’ Compensation calculated your pay wrong?

Whether it is for temporary benefits or your final disability award, how your pay is calculated is very important. Workers’ Compensation is paid out based on your “Compensation Rate.” This is sixty-six and two-thirds percent of your Average Weekly Wage in the 52 weeks prior to your injury.  This calculation can get complicated if you did not work all 52 weeks with that employer.  If your rate was calculated wrong, you may be entitled to back pay for the arrearage and more money in your final award.  If you believe you aren’t receiving everything you are entitled to, please contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you check and make sure the calculations have been done properly.

2. After Being Released From the Doctor, Were You Returned to Work?

If you were not returned to full employment after being released by your doctor, you may be entitled to additional benefits. This can get complicated so the best way to make sure you are getting everything you are entitled to is to review your case with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. If your injury was so bad that you cannot return to your pre-employment job, there can be more benefits available to you then you might have been initially offered.  When you have a serious injury and you can’t return to work, you need to have your case reviewed by a workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.

3. Was The Right Impairment Rating Used To Calculate My Award?

The easiest way to have a low offer is by using the wrong impairment rating.  It’s important to double check and make sure the right impairment was used, but it’s also important to make sure that a rating is challenged if it isn’t right.  An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can spot when the impairment rating can be challenged to allow you to receive all the benefits you are entitled to under the law.

4. I Have An Impairment Rating, But I’m Still Treating?

If you have multiple injuries from the same work accident that require different doctors, you need to complete all your treatment before settling you case.  For instance, if you have both a physical and a psychological injury from the same work accident; both doctors will give you a rating.  Again, if this is a serious injury, you need an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to review your case before you agree to settle.

If you have a serious work injury, you need serious lawyers who know how to win on your side. Call 691-2777 today for your free consultation to be sure you are getting all you are entitled to under the law.

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Is This A Good Offer?

brownandroberto : March 9, 2017 4:31 pm : Car Accidents, Truck Accidents

Is This A Good Offer?money

Is this a good offer?, is one of the most common questions we get at the Lawyers of Brown and Roberto after a car accident. When you think about it, it’s easy to see why. Most of us aren’t familiar with dealing with an insurance company and when you’ve been injured and your medical bills are piling up, you don’t have time to waist talking with an adjuster. The best advice is to call an experienced lawyer and review your case as soon as possible to avoid any time limits that could negatively impact your case.  But, how do you know… is this a good offer?

Five Reasons The Insurance Company Is Not Offering You Enough:

1. Many insurance companies make a small initial offer until a lawsuit is actually filed.

While their first offer is probably not their final offer, some insurance companies will not offer you what they should until you have hired an attorney and filed a lawsuit. The Lawyers of Brown and Roberto will fight to make sure you are receiving all the money that you are entitled to.

2. You may not have provided the insurance company adequate documentation of your injuries.

Insurance adjusters are looking for very specific information. It is important to package that information right so that the pertinent facts stand out. Our attorneys and staff will presented your case to the insurance company in a way that gets the results you are looking for as quickly as possible.

3. The adjuster does not know about all of the damages that you are claiming.

The easiest way to be sure you aren’t being offered enough is to not include all of your damages. Did you miss time from work? Did you have out of pocket expenses? Not knowing what to ask for will affect what you get for your injuries. The Lawyers of Brown and Roberto will review your case with you and make sure that your losses are properly documented so you can get the recovery you are entitled to under the law.

4. The adjuster may assume that your medical bills have been “written off.”

Many adjusters are devaluing claims because the injured party is not represented or based on the Tennessee Supreme Court West v. Shelby Co. Healthcare Corp. This decision reduces the amount of medical damages to the amount that your insurance actually paid and not the full bill. It is important to understand this case and how to handle it to be sure that you are getting all you are entitled to under the law.

5. The adjuster may have offered you the policy limits of their policy.

Insurance is a contract and that contract only covers up to a defined amount.  In order to receive a policy limit offer, you have to know the proper way to ask for it under the law and what to do to trigger uninsured motorist coverage.

When you are dealing with serious injuries with significant medical bills, you need to call an experienced car accident lawyer who can help you maneuver through a complicated claim.  Call 691-2777 for a free consultation today.

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Injured At Work, What Are Five Things You Should Do Before Calling A Lawyer

brownandroberto : February 13, 2017 5:00 am : Blog, The Law, Workers' Compensation

Injured At Work, What Are Five Things You Should  Do Before Calling A LawyerWCImage1

Tennessee’s Workers’ Compensation Law has gone through significant changes since 2014 and now it’s far more difficult to prove your case if you’ve been injured at work than ever before.  Those who have been injured at work, may need an attorney to guide them through the process and it’s normal to have a lot of questions.  Remember that the insurance company isn’t looking out for your best interest, that’s up to you.

When you have been injured at work, what are five things that you should do before calling a lawyer?  Keep in mind that the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation statute is complicated and if you have questions you should speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, but before you make that call, here are five things to do:

1. Report your work injury to your supervisor as soon as possible:

Tenn. Code Ann. Section 50-6-201 gives you only 15 days to provide notice to your Employer of the injury or your claim is no longer payable.  In other words, if you do not promptly notify your Employer of the injury, you could lose out on any and all workers’ compensation benefits.  Your attorney cannot undue a problem of notice to the Employer.

2. Keep a copy of all correspondence that you have had a with the workers’ compensation insurance company:

Your attorney will need to know who to contact about your benefits including their address, phone number, and the claim number assigned to your injury.

3. Collect your wage information:

Workers’ compensation benefits are based upon your average weekly wage for the 52 weeks prior to your injury.  If you have a pay stub or tax information to provide to your attorney, that will help him or her determine your average weekly wage.

4. Be prepared to discuss how the accident causing your injury occurred and where you have treated for your injury.

The insurance company may ask for a recorded statement after you report your injury.  If you have been injured at work, and the adjuster wants to take your statement, it’s a good idea to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer before your statement is taken.

5. Request a written panel of physicians to treat your work injury:

You are entitled to a panel of physicians, so don’t let the insurance company steer you towards a particular physician.  It’s a very good idea to review the physicians list with a workers’ compensation lawyer before making your selection. Bring a copy of that panel to your attorney.

If you have been injured at work, the Lawyers of Brown & Roberto are here to help.

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Car Accidents Are More Likely in the Rain

brownandroberto : January 20, 2017 2:27 pm : Car Accidents

Car Accidents Are More Likely in the Rain:

rain picWith heavy precipitation expected in the Knoxville, you might be wondering if car accidents are more likely in the rain than on a snowy day? Surprisingly, National Highway Safety Administration studies have shown that 46% of weather related car accidents occur when driving in the rain, while only 17% when it is snowing.  One reason for this may be that, at least here in East Tennessee, winter weather is at least somewhat uncommon.  So when winter weather is present, we tend to avoid going out. However, car accidents are more likely in the rain because rain is a relatively common occurrence so we don’t typically think twice about it. This leads to an important reason why car accidents are more likely in the rain, many drivers don’t make the appropriate adjustments in their driving style to properly handle potentially hazardous road conditions.

Remember that roads are slickest at the start of a rain storm and wet pavement has less traction for your tires to grip. Here are some driving tips to avoid trouble driving in the rain.

Car Accidents Are More Likely In The Rain, so Take It Slow:

Some estimates indicate that wet roads have about one-third less traction than dry roads.  With reduced traction, we all need to slow down and resist the urge to get home quickly because of the weather as this could result in a car accident. So, reduce your speed as is appropriate for the road conditions.

Car Accidents Are More Likely In The Rain, so Give Other Drivers More Space:

Remember with reduced traction, you will not be able to stop as quickly as you would have on a dry surface.  As such, adjust to the conditions and allow more space between your car and those in front of you.  This will be somewhat dependent on the traffic intensity, but try to give yourself a lane you know you can escape quickly into if traffic stops suddenly ahead of you.

Car Accidents Are More Likely In The Rain, so Let Your Technology Do Its Job:

If you have ABS or an anti-lock braking system, remember that this technology is designed to help you maintain steering control when braking hard on a slick surface.  Apply the break with steady consistent pressure and continue to steer. If hydroplaning occurs gently take your foot off the gas and continue to look where you want to go, and try to avoid steering until your front tires regain traction.
Even though car accidents are more likely in the rain, we hope with these safe driving tips you can avoid a car accident. But, If you are injured in a car accident by another driver’s carelessness, you need to take it seriously and call The Lawyers of Brown and Roberto, serious lawyers who know how to win.

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Driving in Snow

brownandroberto : January 6, 2017 10:50 am : Car Accidents

Driving In Snow Isn’t Something We Deal With Often In Tennessee:snowdrive

Let’s face it, we are blessed to live in a region that doesn’t typically see significant winter weather. The downside of that is that many of us are unprepared to deal with driving in snow or ice simply because it’s not something we are very familiar with. This morning we all looked out the window to see that our region is seeing its first snowfall and here are some helpful tips to keep you and your family safe while driving in snow today and throughout the winter.

Slow Down When Driving In Snow

Although it’s easy to think, I want to get home and out of this weather quickly, that isn’t the best approach with slick roadways. But, when we say slow down, that doesn’t just mean ease up on the gas pedal, it also means slow down your movements on the steering wheel. Remember that ice or snow covered roads provide less friction for your tires so quick movements, as well as sudden increase and decreases in speed can result in a loss of control.

Keep Moving When Driving In Snow

It’s best to try to avoid coming to a full stop if driving conditions allow, another reason why taking it slow is the best approach. With less friction available for your tires to grip onto the road it can be difficult to get started when driving in snow, so take it slow and try to time turns and keep from stopping if you can. One way to do this is to put your car in a lower gear, this will slow down the speed of your car without applying the brake.

Braking When Driving In Snow

No matter how slow you take it you are likely going to have to apply the brake at some point. Apply your brake slowly and smoothly, the same way you are steering in a calm and easy manner. If you feel your brake pedal shudder, that’s ok, it’s the ABS so don’t back off, let your braking system do its job. However, if you start to lose control and the car starts to spin, turn the wheel in the direction of the slide.  Now when you don’t drive in these conditions that often, this isn’t your first instinct but turn into the slide not away from it. In many newer cars with stability control, if you steer into the turn and avoid your brake you will regain control.

In the end, the best advice is to stay home if you don’t need to go out when road conditions are bad. Remember that even if weather conditions are a significant factor in a car accident, a jury may still find a driver at fault so take it slow and be safe out there.

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Two Steps To Keep Your Email Private

brownandroberto : October 17, 2016 4:55 pm : Blog, Law in the News

email-safe1While hacked email is certainly in the news today, you may be wondering what steps you can take to keep your email messages private. It’s almost common place these days to hear of another data breach where an unauthorized user gains access to private information, including private email. Although it may seem as if there is nothing you can do, here are two steps you can take to help keep your email and other data private.

  1. Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls. One of the most common ways that a data thief will gain access to your private data is to ask you for it. If you receive an unsolicited phone call from someone claiming to be with your bank or your credit card company, make sure the person on the other end of the line is who they say they are. If you get a call like this, you could tell the caller that you are in the middle of something right now, ask for their name and a phone number to call back later. After you get their contact information, call whoever the caller said they were with and double check that the call originated from your bank or credit card company. Remember, don’t give out your information until you know who you are speaking with.
  2. Be suspicious of email attachments. If you receive an email that you won something or that there is a problem with your bank account or your tax return, don’t open any attachments. These institutions don’t typically send out an email with questions like this and the attachment may be a malicious program that will open up your computer or cell phone to whoever sent the message. Again, double check to make sure the sender is who they say they are. Remember, the IRS doesn’t send email messages and it’s unlikely that your bank would either. Even message from someone you know with unsolicited attachments may be compromised, so it’s better to pick up the phone and make sure they sent you a message than to risk your private information.

It is important to be cautious about your private information and who you give it out to. But it is equally important to avoid opening suspicious email attachments as these can both result in a breach of your private data.

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How To Handle Your Own Social Security Disability Case

brownandroberto : October 14, 2016 10:43 am : Blog, Social Security Disability

DIY Social Security Disability

doityourselfssd Every year thousands of applications for Social Security Disability are filed and many of those applications don’t need the assistance of an attorney or a representative in order to be successful. However, several things must be considered when setting out to handle your own Social Security Disability case.

When Should I Apply for Social Security Disability?

You should consider applying when your physical and or mental conditions significantly impact your ability to engage in normal activities of daily living and this has lasted for a full year. The full year here is important, because if you are applying for either Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income the condition must last at least one year or you don’t qualify for benefits. However, if your medical records support that the condition will last at least 12 months, you may still be entitled to benefits even if the condition hasn’t yet lasted at least one year.

What if I am Still Working?

Working will be considered as evidence that you are not disabled. So in general, if you are working, you will not be considered disabled. However, if you are working and earning less than a specific monthly amount, known as Substantial Gainful Activity, than that work may not count against you and you could still receive benefits. In 2016, the earnings for Substantial Gainful Activity are a gross monthly income of $1,130. By gross income, we are looking for the total amount you earned before taxes or anything else is taken out of your check. Keep in mind, if you are earning more than the level of Substantial Gainful Activity, you will not be eligible for benefits.

Where Do I go to Apply?

You can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213. When you start the application online you can save your progress and return to the application as time permits, but please keep in mind that your application needs to be as completely filled out with as much detail as possible to have the best chance of a favorable outcome.

When I Apply, What Will I Need?

During the application process you will need the following: Your date and place of birth, as well as your social security number. You will also need the name, social security number, and date of birth of your current and any former spouses. Have the dates of marriage and dates of divorce or death of any former spouses as well. The names and dates of birth of any of your minor children will be required. Also, you will need your bank’s Routing Transit Number and your account number where you want your benefits electronically deposited.

You’re not done yet, you will also need the name, address, and phone number of someone who knows about your medical conditions and can assist with your application. At this point in the process having detail about your medical conditions is important too. So have a list of the names, addresses, phone numbers of your doctors. As well as your patient ID number and the dates of treatment. Be sure to include any medicines you have been prescribed and which doctor prescribed them to you and the dates of any medical tests you have been sent for like an MRI or other diagnostic screening.

Almost there! You will also need information about the work you have performed over the last 15 years. Have a list of your employers this year and last and how much you earned. If you served in the military, have your dates of service available. Also, be able to list up to 5 jobs you have had over the last 15 years. If you received workers’ compensation benefits during this period or you plan to apply for these benefits you will need to include that also.

Will I Have to Submit Any Documents?

You may be asked to provide a birth certificate or proof of U.S. citizenship, discharge papers from the military, some tax records, and any Workers’ Compensation awards. Another very important series of documents will be critical at this state as well, your medical records. Be sure to include all medical records including test results, MRI reports, doctor notes or dictation.

Ok! I Submitted My Application, What’s Next?

After your application is submitted, you will receive notice that it has been received either electronically or via mail. Your application will be reviewed and if more information is needed, you will be contacted. Then a decision will be mailed out to you. Generally, you can expect a decision on your application in approximately 30 to 90 days.

Wait A Minute! My Application Was Denied, What Do I Do Now?

If your application was denied, don’t get discouraged and give up. Perhaps as many as 60% or more of all initial applications are denied. There can be many reasons why your application was denied, maybe the medical evidence you submitted wasn’t given appropriate consideration or perhaps some evidence wasn’t properly submitted. No matter what the case, you have 60 days to after you receive your initial denial to request reconsideration of your claim.

After Initial Denial Should I Get a Lawyer?

Up to this point in the process, it is completely reasonable to handle your own application and of course you can continue to represent yourself through the reconsideration process and ultimately the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. However, for many applicants, getting an experience Social Security Lawyer involved at this point makes sense. As you move forward following the initial denial, you don’t have another chance and will need to make sure that all the evidence you need to submit has been submitted properly. Also, an experienced Social Security Lawyer will meet with you in person at your initial consultation to review the best path forward for a successful hearing, which may include a follow up with your treating doctors. A few weeks before your hearing, an experienced Social Security Lawyer will meet with you again to get you ready to testify at your hearing as the best evidence will be your testimony.

If you’d like a free consultation and review of your Social Security Disability case, call at 865-691-2777 and see what serious lawyers can do for you!

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Time Is Not On Your Side After A Car Accident

brownandroberto : September 6, 2016 3:55 pm : Car Accidents

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After A Car Accident: Time Is Not On Your Side

It happens when we least expect it, you are driving around taking care of your busy life and all of a sudden…you are hit by a careless driver. Now, after a car accident, you are injured and your car is damaged. After getting back from your doctor, you get a phone call and it’s the insurance company for the driver that hit you. They are quick to offer you a settlement on your property damage, but when you mention your injuries they say that can’t accept responsibility until they complete their investigation. Over the next few months, you call the adjuster for an update and you don’t get a return call, or when you do you are told that the investigation is not yet complete.

We have heard this exact same story time and again, and there is a very good reason why. Remember that the adjuster represents the insurance company for the driver that caused your injuries and they aren’t in any hurry to pay for your medical bills. In fact, if they can drag out your claim long enough you might not have a claim to pursue anymore thanks to a law that bars recovery unless action is taken within a specific period of time called the statute of limitations. Under TCA 28-3-104, “an action for injuries to the person shall be commenced within one year after the cause of action accrued.” This means that there is a one-year statute of limitations for injuries you sustain in a car accident.

Dragging out your claim for more than one year isn’t the only thing to worry about. By just waiting more than a few weeks to seek treatment for your injuries, you could be limiting your recovery. For one thing, not seeking medical treatment when you need it isn’t smart because you may need a doctor’s attention. But, also delaying your care can affect the valuation of a claim by an insurance company or by a jury. Any delay in seeking treatment, no matter what the circumstance, could be seen as an indication that you don’t have an injury. That’s why we recommend seeking medical treatment only when you actually need it and without delay.

Recovery for car accident injuries is complex and speaking with an experienced car accident attorney is the only way to be sure that you aren’t’ running out of time to act and that you are getting everything you are entitled to under Tennessee law.

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Law and Amusement Rides

brownandroberto : August 12, 2016 2:16 pm : The Law, Uncategorized

What does Tennessee Law Require of Amusement Rides and Their Operators?

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Amusement rides, whether in a fixed location or assembled temporarily, are a fun part of Summertime in Tennessee. However, in light of the recent tragedies in Kansas City and closer to home in Greene County, many are asking what is required of amusement rides and their operators under Tennessee law.

In our daily lives we are all required under the law to exercise the same degree of care that a reasonable person would in a similar circumstance. However, some activities are held to a higher degree of care than others because of the type of activity performed and sometimes by inviting the public to participate. Under Tennessee law an amusement ride operator is held to the highest standard of care. This means that an amusement ride operator must be more careful than a reasonable person in the design, construction, maintenance, inspection, and repair of the ride. The operator must act with an abundance of care for the safety of his or her patrons and thoughtfully consider the consequences to those patrons. If an amusement ride operator does not meet this standard, the operator may be liable for any resulting injuries.

However, under Tennessee law if an amusement ride operator acts in reckless disregard for the safety of its patrons or their acts or omission reveal an indifference to the resulting consequences, they may also be subject to an award of damages beyond the actual harm caused to the patron. These damages are called punitive damages and are intended to punish or deter future wrongdoing. So, if an operator had actual notice of a danger to his or her patrons and thereafter riders were injured, The Tennessee Supreme Court has found that punitive damages are appropriate.

There have been recent changes to Tennessee’s regulations regarding amusement ride inspections and permitting.  Effective on July 1, 2016, several provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 68 and Chapters 121 and 122 were removed or altered. The bill can be found at http://share.tn.gov/sos/acts/109/pub/pc0815.pdf. Tennessee authorities do not conduct inspections of amusement rides. Rather, amusement ride operators are required to have a “qualified” inspector inspect the amusement device at least once annually to qualify that the device meets American Society of Testing Materials standards.

No one wants to see any injuries, serious or otherwise, as a result of accidents on amusement rides.  We hope this article assists the reader in better understanding Tennessee law and the responsibilities amusement ride operators owe their patrons.

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Pokémon Go – #CatchEmAll Safely

brownandroberto : July 18, 2016 2:02 pm : Car Accidents

PokemongoDriver2Last week the internet went wild with a new free to play app called Pokémon Go. In fact, the game is such a hit that less than a week after its release, the app became the top grossing app on iTunes. When using the app, a player walks around their actual “real” environment and through their smart phone will see a variety of animated creatures that they receive points for catching. As a result of this app, you may have seen and if not, may start to see, children and even some adults walking around our neighborhoods and streets with their attention fixed on their phones even more than usual.

Several concerns have been raised regarding the app as it could be used to draw people into unsafe situations or at the very least is so immersive and distracting as it may lead to accidents. As the app is so new, there are no statistics yet regarding the effect on drivers. But, we do know that in 2014, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that involved a distracted driver. (See http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html) According to one government study, distracted driving is considered “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.”

We all know that distractions that can lead to serious injuries in car accidents, but these distractions aren’t limited to just the use of a smart phone when using an app or texting. Common distractions include: eating, drinking, grooming, reading, adjusting the radio or CD player, or using a navigation device. Did you know that the average time a user’s eyes are off the road while texting is five seconds? Five seconds doesn’t seem like a long time, but while traveling at 55 miles per hour you will travel the length of a football field. Would any of us consider blindfolding a driver for five seconds? Let’s all consider that the next time we think about using our electronic devices while driving.

It’s important that we all commit to not being distracted drivers. The Lawyers of Brown and Roberto have seen an increase in injuries due to distracted drivers over the past few years and these accidents are for the most part preventable if we all focus on the road in front of us. Save that last text until the car is in park, our friends and neighbors we share the roads with will be happy we did.

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After My Award for Social Security Disability Benefits, It Was Taken Away…Can They Do That?

brownandroberto : July 13, 2016 10:54 am : Meet Our Team, Social Security Disability

car accident claimYou worked all your life but when your physical or mental condition had gotten to the point where you could no longer work, you applied for Social Security Disability.  But, once you were awarded your benefits are they safe from further review by the Social Security Administration?  The answer is no.  The Social Security Administration is required by law to review the current medical condition of all those who are receiving disability benefits to make sure a qualifying disability still exists.  This means the Administration is required to make sure that the medical condition which the Administrative Law Judge found prevents you from working is still present and would still prevent you from working or substantial gainful activity.

How often does the Social Security Administration review the qualifying disabilities of its current beneficiaries?  Well, the answer depends on the nature and severity of your medical condition and whether or not the Administrative Law Judge expects your condition to improve.  If you are expected to improve, your benefits can be reviewed as early as 6 to 18 months from the date you became disabled.  If improvement of your condition is considered possible, then a review is typically performed about every three years.  However, if your condition is not expected to improve, your qualifying disability is likely to be reviewed only every 7 years.  For more information, see: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10068.pdf

When the Social Security Administration reviews your qualifying disability, they will typically review your medical records over the past 12 months.  This review will consider any changes in your condition and will also look into any new health problems that have emerged.  Remember that if you receive notice that your benefits are being stopped because a review has determined that you condition has improved to the point where you can work, you only have 60 days to appeal that decision and should immediately discuss your situation with an attorney experienced in handling Social Security Disability claims.

Also be aware that you must notify the Social Security Administration in writing within 10 days of the letter notifying you that your benefits will stop that you want your benefits to continue while your appeal is considered.  However, if you elect to continue to receive your benefits and your appeal is unsuccessful, you will owe the Social Security Administration back the money you were paid since receiving the letter that your benefits were stopped.  You can request a waiver (  https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-632.pdf) to avoid paying back the benefits you received so long as you made your appeal in “good faith.”  This typically means that you cooperated with Social Security in providing medical records or requested information concerning your medical condition and treatment.

The best advice to avoid this situation is to consistently and regularly continue to see your physician regarding your medical condition following your award.  That way if your award is reviewed, the Administration will see that your condition has continued and through the medical notes will have evidence as to whether or not it has improved.

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Why People Don’t Hire A Lawyer

brownandroberto : June 12, 2016 6:05 pm : Areas of Practice, Car Accidents, Our Client Bill of Rights, Social Security Disability, Veterans Disability

When-Do-You-Need-A-LawyerIt’s 2016 and we have the world at our fingertips.  According to comScore, an estimated 187 million Americans now own a smart phone, which represents approximately 77% of the population.  Wi-fi is readily available at seemingly every turn and you can use Google to find information on virtually any topic.

When someone has been injured in a car accident, they often look to the internet for answers.  Many people wonder what their next step should be or how to pick up the pieces after an injury.  There are even a fair number of websites and ebooks that offer information on handling your own personal injury case, all without consulting an attorney.

While taking a “DIY” approach to your next home improvement project may be a good idea, attempting to coordinate the details of your car accident can not only be challenging, it can be costly.  Personal injury cases are often complex and individuals quickly discover that dealing with insurance companies can be exhausting and unpleasant.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that 2.3 million car accidents resulting in injuries occur every year.  Since accidents rarely affect just one person, it’s important to consider everyone who is impacted by your accident: you, your family and your employer, for instance.  The simple fact is that every injury case is unique and most require the advice of a competent, responsive attorney, so that life can return to normal as quickly as possible.

Despite this, there are a significant number of individuals who don’t seek the advice of an attorney after an accident.  Why is this?  It all comes down to three main concerns, which we call “The 3 C’s.”

The 3 C’s:

1. Cost

Concern: “I don’t have the money to hire an attorney.”

Reality: We don’t get paid unless you do.  Fees for car accident cases are contingency based. That means you do not need any money up front for The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto to start working for you. We understand that dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be very difficult.  When you’ve been out of work and hospital bills are piling up, the thought of another expense is overwhelming.  But if you’ve been injured, you need the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney who will fight for you.  With more than 40 years of experience and over $45 million recovered for our clients, we are happy to discuss your case and answer any questions you have.  You can even try us risk free for 30 days when you take advantage of our Serious Lawyer Guarantee.

2. Communication

Concern: “Will I be able to reach my attorney when I have a question?”

Reality:  We are here for you.  The physical and emotional toll of a serious accident can be significant.  We understand what you are going through, and we strive to provide responsive and attentive service to all of our clients.  When you hire us, we get to work immediately by assigning a Client Relationship Specialist to your case.  Your CRS will provide regular updates and answer any questions you have along the way.


3. Customer Service
Concern
: “I’ve already been through a lot with my accident, will I have a good experience with my attorney?”

Reality: We all want to be treated well and we expect a lot from those we trust to provide services for us. At The Lawyers of Brown and Roberto, we believe that should be true for your lawyer as well. To help guide our efforts on behalf of our clients, we have created our Serious Lawyer Bill of Rights for our clients.

As our client:
You have the right to get the most money for your case as quickly as possible.
You have the right to only pay us when we get money for you.
You have the right to competent aggressive representation aimed at achieving your goals for your case.
You have the right to have your questions answered promptly and to have regular updates on our progress with your case.
You have the right to exceptional service and for our service to exceed your expectations.

We are committed to providing you with the best possible experience and the fastest recoveries available under Tennessee law.

What Our Clients Are Saying:
Jeff and Charlotte put us to work for them, here’s what they have to say:

We never charge a fee for your initial consultation about your injury. We are happy to discuss your case with you, to answer your questions and advise you on your best course of action. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. Call (865) 691-2777 or use our convenient ONLINE FORM.

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Why You Need A Will

brownandroberto : May 16, 2016 4:58 pm : Family Law, Wills & Trusts

Most adults recognize the value and importance of a will, but according to Forbes, over 50% of Americans don’t have one.  This is a startling statistic in light of how this could negatively impact your family and their future.

Having a will is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Not only can a will protect your spouse, children, and assets, it also details your final wishes, making your passing less difficult for your family.

Top 5 Reasons to Have an Updated Will:

#1: Your Children.
A will allows you to specify who should take care of your minor children. Absent a will, the courts will choose from family members or select a state-appointed guardian on your behalf. Having a will allows you to appoint the person you want to raise your children. A will also enables you to allocate funds for their important future milestones like a college education.

#2: Your Assets.
A will is a legally-binding document that details how you would like your estate to be handled upon your death. If you die without a will, there is no guarantee that your intended desires will be carried out. An updated will also minimizes the potential occurrence of any family squabbles that may arise as it details the “who, what, and when” of your final wishes.Appointing an executor is equally important.   Executors make sure all your final affairs are in order, including paying off bills and notifying the bank and other business establishments. Because executors play the biggest role in the administration of your estate, you’ll want to be sure to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organized.

#3: Your Family.
Death is difficult enough for families without adding confusion to the mix. A properly written will helps make your wishes clear.  You can specify details of your funeral and other final wishes, which can infinitely diminish any potential stress for your surviving family.

#4: Your Legacy.
What issues do you care about? What charities matter to you most? A will allows you to map out your final wishes in terms of charitable giving.  The ability to make final charitable gifts is a good reason to have a will because it allows your legacy to live on and reflect your personal values and interests.

#5: Your Peace of Mind.
Procrastination and an unwillingness to accept death as part of life are common reasons for not having a will. But regardless of your net worth, having a plan in place to provide for your family is absolutely essential.  Don’t wait until an unexpected death or disability occurs to begin thinking about putting a will together.  Avoid the added stress on your family and meet with one of our experienced attorneys to start planning now.

Schedule a Consultation Today

We administer estates and handle litigation related to estates such as will contests.  Call 865-691-2777 to set up an initial consultation to discuss your Wills and Powers of Attorney, or reach us through our convenient ONLINE FORM for more information about our practice.

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As Apple and The FBI Fight Over Data, Can Your Data Be Used In A Car Accident?

brownandroberto : March 3, 2016 8:46 am : Blog, Car Accidents

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Your Digital Data In A Car Accident

With all of the talk today about cell phone data and whether or not Apple should be compelled to open cell phones in criminal investigations, many have questions about their data in a civil case, like a car accident. Firm Partner, Andrew Roberto, sat down with WVLT yesterday to discuss the role digital data can play in a civil case. Watch the WVLT interview here.

Ten years ago we never saw cell phone data being requested in discovery or for that matter social media postings. However, today this has become a fairly regular discovery request in civil cases. As technology changes so will the requests made for discovery in civil cases including personal injury cases like car accidents. Where we typically see requests in car accidents for cell phone data, it is to see if a phone was in use at the time of an accident. We haven’t seen any cases so far where data from fitness tracking aps has been requested in discovery, but as that technology becomes more widely used it is likely that it could become more attractive in discovery. Any request for discovery could be ordered by a Court if the information contained is not likely to be available by any other means, so data in fitness tracking aps could conceivably be discoverable.

In general, the parties in a civil case can obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, which is relevant to the subject matter involved in the pending action or if it relates to a claimed defense that one party is employing. Any party in a civil matter may be able to resist discovery of electronically stored information from sources that are identified as not reasonably accessible because of undue burden or cost. Despite this, the Court could order such discovery if it is shown that the likely benefit of the proposed discovery outweighs the likely burden or expense. The Court would also look to see if the discovery sought could be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive.

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UT Title Nine Lawsuit

brownandroberto : February 10, 2016 5:45 pm : The Law

UT Title Nine Lawsuit in the News: Understanding Title IX Lawsuits

Six plaintiffs filed a lawsuit this week against the University of Tennessee (UT) alleging hostile environment discrimination by UT against women.  May are asking, what is this UT Title Nine lawsuit all about? In particular the lawsuit alleges two theories of this discrimination:

1) (UT exhibited) deliberate indifference and clearly unreasonable acts and omissions that created a hostile sexual environment to female students before a sexual assault on a student by a fellow student by conduct and policies making a student more vulnerable to sexual assault itself; and 2) (UT exhibited) deliberate indifference and a clearly unreasonable response after a sexual assault that causes a student to endure additional harassment.journals

The purpose of this article is to explain Title Nine and inform the reader as to when a Title Nine, or a Title IX, case exists.

What is Title Nine?

Most people think of Title Nine it relates to the distribution of college athletic scholarships among the sexes.  Contrary to common belief Title Nine does not require an equal number of scholarships between men and women.  Instead, scholarships must be substantially proportionate to their participation rates in athletic programs. In other words, if 60 percent of an institution’s collegiate athletes are male, the total amount of scholarships going to male athletes should be approximately 60 percent of the financial aid dollars the institution awards.

Title Nine effects much more than scholarships.  Title Nine states that: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”  Therefore, any education program which accepts Federal funds falls under Title Nine.  Such programs include K-12 education, postsecondary education, and various forms of private education if that institution is taking financial assistance.

What is Title Nine Discrimination and/or Title Nine Sexual Harassment?

Title Nine applies to discrimination in academic admissions, athletics, academic and extra-curricular activities.  Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination because sexual harassment creates barriers to educational opportunity.  After facing harassment a student may, for example, decide not to pursue a particular degree or, even worse, drop out of college.

Sexual harassment can come in two forms: (1) quid pro quo harassment and (2) hostile environment harassment.  Quid pro quo means “this for that” harassment.  An example is a teacher offering to trade a positive grade in exchange for sex from a student.  Hostile environment is what was alleged in the UT lawsuit and described above.

In order to prove a Title Nine sexual harassment claim, you must prove that the institution is deliberately indifferent to known acts of sexual harassment that are so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it deprives the student of access to educational opportunities or benefits provided by the school.  The “deliberate indifference” standard will be key in the UT case.

What does this mean for UT?

It is important to remember that the six plaintiffs must first prove that their allegations are true and that these allegations rise to the level of “deliberate indifference.”  If they are successful, this could be a large award.  The plaintiffs are seeking damages for emotional distress, tuition, attorneys’ fees, and more.  Because Title Nine is linked with financial assistance, the Federal government can revoke assistance to the University after Title nine violations.  As with all litigation, we will have to wait and see if the plaintiffs can prove their allegations.

Click here to watch a link from attorney Timothy A. Roberto’s interview regarding Title Nine. For more information, please see our previous post regarding general advice on handling sexual harassment in the work place.

 

 

 

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School Bus Accidents

brownandroberto : February 4, 2016 2:06 pm : Car Accidents, The Law

We all were troubled when we heard the news yesterday that a Knox County School bus was involved in an accident near Dutchtown Road in Knoxville, TN.  Several of the children on the bus were taken to area hospitals to treat their injuries.  All of us remember the tragic school bus accident in December of 2014, that resulted in the deaths of two students and a teacher.  As more details emerge regarding this accident, it appears that all of the students involved have been treated and released and let’s be sure to keep the students and their families in our thoughts and prayers as they recover.Bus

There are many questions that come up when we consider how school bus accidents are treated under Tennessee law.  A carrier of passengers, such as a school bus, is considered a common carrier under Tennessee law.  A common carrier has a duty to exercise the utmost care and skill which very prudent and skillful people would use for their protection. In contrast, most drivers on the road are held to a standard of ordinary care.  However, a bus driver is held to a standard of extraordinary care.

If, for example, a bus driver is found to have committed even the slightest deviation of care or negligence in an accident, the bus company is liable to compensate every passenger aboard for their injuries and resulting damages. Common carriers in Tennessee must provide the highest degree of care for the safety of the passengers aboard and must exercise the most extraordinary care to provide safe conveyance throughout their travel.  Under Tennessee law, this high standard applies to getting on and off the vehicle as well as when the vehicle is transporting passengers.

No one wants to see students injured in a school bus accident.  We hope this article assists the reader in better understanding Tennessee law and the care the law requires a common carrier to take with regard to its passengers.

 

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Our Focus On Responsive Service

brownandroberto : February 4, 2016 12:11 pm : Our Client Bill of Rights, Our Serious Lawyer Guarantee

In order to deliver the responsive service and the results that clients expect, lawyers and their staff have to work hard and stay focused.PhonePic

Being responsive to our client’s is so important to us, that we have a Client Bill of Rights to keep our lawyers and staff focused on our goal to provide exceptional service for our clients.  We thought about what we’d expect from our lawyer, and from that list created our Client Bill of Rights.

  1. We believe that you have the right to get the most money for your case as quickly as possible. We don’t clown around: we get to work fast to get you the maximum recovery you are entitled to under the law.
  2. We believe that you’ve been through enough following a car accident and not having money for a lawyer shouldn’t keep you from getting all you are entitled to under the law. That’s why we believe you have the right to pay us only when we get money for you.
  3. We believe that our focus should be on achieving your goals for your case, not the other way around. Our lawyers provide competent aggressive representation and we work hard to give our clients regular updates on our progress.
  4. We believe you have the right to an attorney that delivers responsive service and addresses your questions and concerns in a timely manner. That’s why we assign one of our relationship specialists to your case from the moment you become our client.
  5. We believe that lawyers should provide the same exceptional service that we all have come to expect from other businesses. The Lawyers of Brown and Roberto work hard every day to exceed our client’s expectations with the responsive and competent service we provide.

Call us today for our Serious Lawyer Guarantee and see what Serious Lawyers can do for you!

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Why A Serious Lawyer Guarantee?

brownandroberto : January 21, 2016 5:11 pm : Our Serious Lawyer Guarantee

If you think about it everything we buy these days from goods to services comes with a guarantee. Why do businesses offer a guarantee? Typically, guarantees let us as consumers know that we can feel confident in the goods or services we purchase because if we aren’t we know we can get our money back. Why can’t you expect that kind of guarantee from your lawyer too? 2015-12-18 2015-12-18 001 023.MTS.Still001 v2

When you retain the services of a lawyer, your attorney is entitled to a portion of the recovery even if you, the client, terminates that lawyer’s service for you on your case. This is called quantum merit, which is legal term for the attorney getting paid his or her fees for some or all of the work they’ve done even if you aren’t satisfied and that lawyer no longer represents you.

So Why a Serious Lawyer Guarantee? Because, the Lawyers of Brown and Roberto are focused on providing excellent customer service for our clients and we are so confident that you will appreciate the service we provide that if you aren’t satisfied within the first thirty days we start working for you, you can come and pick up your file and you owe us nothing. That’s right…we will waive our quantum merit if you aren’t satisfied with our service within the first thirty days we start working for you!

The Lawyers of Brown and Roberto want you to feel confident in the choice you have made when you trust us with your accident or disability case. That’s why we offer our serious lawyer guarantee. You can try us out for thirty days risk free, if you aren’t satisfied within the first thirty days we start working for you, you owe us nothing. That’s free advice, risk free, so you can feel confident that you have made the right choice for you and your case.

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