Categorized | Opinion

Ask The Lawyer

By David Peel

David PeelAs an injury lawyer, I am blessed to speak at many different events by civic clubs, churches and student groups. Some of the questions I get during Q & A might be interesting to my readers, so here are a few:
Q.    Did you always know you wanted to be a lawyer?
A.    No. I was told all my life I could “argue with a fencepost” but I pursued a career in marketing/advertising and liked the creative and design side of it a lot. Actually, I still paint, dabble in photography and write (currently trying to finish my first couple book manuscripts). I had been out of college for a couple years when I felt called to go back to law school.
Q.    Do all your cases go to trial?
A.    Actually, very few do. Most good cases resolve at settlement at some point.
Q.    How long do you have to sue in Tennessee for personal injuries?
A.    For most injuries, only one year. That is why you want legal advice early.
Q.    Aren’t there way too many injury lawsuits that clog up the court system?
A.    Actually, business cases are much more common “cloggers.” According to the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), in 2008, tort cases represented only 4.4% of all civil caseloads in seven states reporting, while monetary disputes (contract and small claims cases) combined for 73% of cases.
Q.    What is the biggest case you have ever resolved?
A.    A $2.85 million trucking case.
Q.    What are the chances at trial for an injured person?
A.     There is never really a way to tell what 12 people on a jury will do. Statistically, the chances may are worse than we might think, only about 50/50. In 2005, injured plaintiffs in one study succeeded in only about half of all tort trials nationwide. This win rate has been roughly the same since 1996, according to long-term Department of Justice data from state trials in the nation’s 75 most populous counties. Amounts of verdicts are depressing too, as during 2005, half of plaintiff winners in tort trials were awarded $24,000 or less in damages.
Q.    What is a common mistake people you see people make legally?
A.    Not having enough Uninsured Motorists (UM) Coverage. Try to buy at least $100,000 worth since 23% of all Tennessee drivers are uninsured. Those that have liability, usually only carry the state minimum of $25,000, which doesn’t go very far in a serious accidents.
Q.    What is a common legal myth that many people believe?
A.    That folks who have no wills lose everything to the state. They do not as long as they have legal heirs.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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