Articles Posted in Uncategorized

Many factors can contribute to a car accident. It is not always just the driving of other people that may be involved. If roads are poorly designed or maintained or if street signs are obstructed or damage, these kinds of things can also lead to accidents that involve serious injuries or even death.

A short while ago, The Tennessee Department of Transportation examined the I-40 corridor near mile marker 226 in Wilson County at the request of state and local law enforcement after there were several car accidents involving wet road conditions. This examination included crash data, roadway design plans, and an additional road survey known as Light Detection and Ranging, or LiDAR.

That portion of I-40 was widened not long ago , from west of SR 171 (Mt Juliet Road) to east of SR 109, as part of a design-build contract with Lane Construction Corporation. Design build means that a project delivery method was used that allowed for one contractor to provide design and construction services.

In this case, Eliza Jennings worked until she was in her eighties. Then, she moved into Terrace Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in 2004. According to the lawsuit, Jennings developed severe pressure sores which caused her nerve endings to become exposed and she developed infections such as E Coli. She lost the use of her arms and legs due to them not getting enough motion and she was left sitting in feces and urine. She also had bad skin rashes. The lawsuit also found evidence that the nursing home had a policy to leave its residents in adult briefs for long periods of time without changing them in order to save money on those products.

Jennings’ family filed a wrongful death and neglect lawsuit in 2010. After an eight-day trial, Jennings’ estate has been awarded $18 million. The lawyer for this case stated that, “When she passed away, she was in the condition that no human being should be left in. No one deserves to suffer the way that she did. She was allowed to suffer needlessly. That was the number one thing that the family wanted to see is that no one ever has to go through this type of neglect, ever again.” An employee with Terrace Nursing and Rehabilitation Center said they would not comment on the outcome of the lawsuit.

Often these homes  do not have enough employees for all the residents or they are improperly trained in how to care for the residents. When considering a nursing home for someone you care about it is always  smart idea to visit the homes you are considering and check them out. Make sure you talk to the staff about how they are trained, meal plans, and daily schedules for the residents. Another good thing to do is to note how the residents appear while you are visiting. If the residents seem like they are in pain or have poor hygiene, then you may want to ask the staff additional questions or consider another nursing home. Finally, you should visit your loved one often while they are in the nursing home to check for signs of physical, mental or emotional abuse or neglect such as bruises, scars, cuts, scrapes, your loved one seeming distant or withdrawal or if they seem agitated or worried.

According to this case, Doris Racher and her two sisters installed cameras into their mother, Eryetha Mayberry’s room at the Quail Creek Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center after they suspected someone at the nursing home of stealing from her. The video revealed that nursing home employees Lucy Waithira Gakunga and Caroline Kaseke forced Mayberry to lie down by pushing on her head and preventing her breathing. Gakunga was also shown shoving latex gloves into Mayberry’s mouth while Kaseke watched.

A lawsuit was filed against Quail Creek Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center for the abuse and the case went to federal court and the judge announced the verdict on February 13. Mayberry passed away in July 2012, a few months after the video was released. Gakunga and Kaseke were fired and now face criminal charges. The jury found the nursing home guilty of negligence and abuse.

The family stated that, “All in the memory of our mother. All of us fought hard and are just happy that now we can relax a little bit, and mother’s probably smiling. I’m so grateful for the outcome, because we told the truth and the truth always prevails.” Cases just like this one occur all too often in nursing homes all across the United States and even right here in Tennessee. It is crucial that if you have a loved one or someone you care about in a nursing home that you visit them as often as possible. If you notice that your loved one has bruises, cuts, marks, or any other injuries you should notify the nursing home staff right away. It is also recommended that you talk with the staff or the director of the nursing home about their training procedures and what they do to prevent injuries or neglect. These are simple things you can do to help prevent abuse or neglect.

Car accidents can happen to anyone at any time. They often cause serious and even life-altering personal injuries or even the loss of someone’s life. When the accident involves someone who was on the job, this can complicate things even more. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, it is important that you speak to a personal injury attorney at the Higgins Firm about your case as soon as possible.

According to this lawsuit, a Wal-mart truck driver slammed into the back of a limo that was transporting Actor Tracy Morgan and his friends back from a show in June of last year. Tracy Morgan’s friend, “Jimmy Mack” McNair was killed and Morgan suffered head trauma, a broken leg and broken ribs. He is still recovering.

The truck driver, Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, faces several criminal charges, including death by auto, in state court. He has pleaded not guilty. He wasn’t a defendant in Morgan’s federal lawsuit. A criminal complaint stated that Roper was operating the truck without having slept for more than 24 hours. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board estimated that Roper was driving at sixty-five miles per hour when he Morgan’s limo. The speed limit on that part of the highway is normally fifty-five miles per hour but had been lowered to forty- five miles per hour on that night due to construction. Authorities stated that Roper failed to slow down for the traffic ahead and had then swerved to avoid a crash but instead his truck smashed into the back of Morgan’s limo.

It is disturbing to hear that a Memphis Nursing Home has so many care issues that its federal funding has been cut and residents forced to move. News sources discovered that the harsh sanction was related to deficiencies state surveyors found during a recent visit. The news source visited the facility in order to speak with an administrator after a concerned family member sent an email about the issue. An unidentified employee asked the news source to leave. The Signature Healthcare Company was then emailed and contacted by the news source.

The Signature Healthcare Company confirmed that beginning on April 11th, it would no longer be paid by the federal government or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for Medicare and Medicaid resident care. This is important because many nursing home residents and patients are receiving Medicare and the facilities get reimbursed for their care. The move by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid seems to be a disciplinary action.

Signature Healthcare’s Media Relations Manager Ben Adkins stated that instead of issuing the facility a monetary fine for the survey findings, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid decided to cut the funding. “We are working through appropriate channels of recourse to try and get this rarely-used remedy changed, or at least delayed for the safety and well-being of our residents,” stated Adkins. The administrator who answered our questions at the time is no longer in that position at Saint Francis. Officials with the Tennessee State Department of Health would only say at the time, that it was related to an extended, annual survey and multiple complaint investigations.  Adkins states that the company is offering to relocate residents to other nursing homes in Memphis, including Signature facilities until the state finds the facility corrected the violations, at which time the nursing home will be eligible to receive federal funding again. Signature states that it will also transfer some of its staff to other facilities it owns in the area so no jobs are lost. According to Adkins, the company plans to inform the state as early as next week that the facility is back in compliance.

Making the decision to file for divorce is hard. However, if you feel your marriage is beyond repair, our team of attorneys are here to assist you in the divorce process. If divorce is the right choice for you, below is an overview of how to get a divorce in Tennessee.


In order for a couple to obtain a divorce in Tennessee, you must meet certain requirements. Tennessee law requires one of the parties to be a resident of the state for at least six months.

We get this question a lot and not to sound like a lawyer but the short answer is: “It depends”.   Basically, you can’t re-open your case just because you are still having problems with your injury.   Also, just because your injury has gotten worse is not by itself grounds by itself to re-open your Tennessee Workers Compensation Case.  It is important to note, however, that if your injury is exacerbated at work you may have an entirely new work comp case so be sure to report it.   Regardless, this brings us to the factor that will often let you reopen your work comp claim.  Specifically, you can often reopen the case if through no fault of your own you lose your job after a workers compensation settlement.  This  is known as reconsideration. Here is how it works.  Under the Tennessee Workers Compensation act, if you were injured prior to July 1, 2014 and are returned to work at the same or greater rate of pay then your recovery was limited.  This provision was put in the act to give employers incentive to bring the injured employee back to work.  It can be good for both parties.  On the one hand the employee will have a job and on the other hand the employer can save some money.  To protect the employee the legislature also put an escape clause which provides that if you lose your job through no fault of your own then you can reopen you case and get the full benefits.  This may include losing your job because of lay offs or if you quit your job because you injury prevents you from continuing.  This doesn’t include your quitting to get a better job or if you are guilty of misconduct like cursing your boss out.  I recently did a show on this topic which you can watch below:

This brings us to our next important factor: TIME.  Like any Tennessee workers compensation case there are time limits.  Generally, you have between 200 weeks to 400 weeks from the date that you returned to work until the day you loose your job for a reconsideration to be available.  This time limit is dependent on whether the original injury was to a scheduled member (i.e. leg, arm) or to the body as a whole (i.e. shoulder or back).  If it was a scheduled member you have the reconsideration right for 200 weeks but if it was a whole body injury then you have the right to reconsider for 400 weeks from the day your returned to work.  Next, after you lose your job you have one your to file your claim or you are out of luck.  Unfortunately, we see a lot of people that get caught by this because they just did not know they had a right to re-open the case.

As in any State, Tennessee performs regular inspections of nursing homes. Some inspections reveal properly run nursing homes but on the other hand some reveal nursing homes with persistent neglect issues. Currently running through our Tennessee legislature is a bill that will protected these bad nursing homes. Specifically, the bill would prevent victims of nursing home neglect from showing the jury the results of prior inspections. The party for this bill argues that prior inspection and investigation information that details violations of state and federal regulations would unfairly influence the facility that is facing a lawsuit in a single case. They think that a case should focus on the specific underlying incident and those facts. They feel it would be unjust or unfair to site evidence of another wrongdoing, violation, or past problems. However, the real impact of the bill is that it will protect bad nursing homes not the good ones. For instance, there may be home that has been cited multiple times for neglecting patients and a jury will never know. Without this information the bad nursing homes can disguise their repeated failures as a onetime accident. So how does this law ensure better care for our most vulnerable Tennessee residents? It doesn’t. It is simply a product of nursing homes protecting their financial interest.

The party against the proposed bill also thinks that past negative violations and results of laws and regulations already put the responsibility on nursing homes to comply with the law and work to improve their quality of care for their residents. If there are more incidents of abuse or neglect that are the foundation of a lawsuit, if it is proven, would show that those nursing homes failed to meet their obligations. This is why opponents of this bill think that past violations are important as admissible evidence in order to determine if nursing home facilities are complying with the law. They think that past violations are relevant to new alleged ones.

The Higgins Firm is pleased to announce that Carrie LaBrec has joined the firm. LaBrec will focus her practice in the Serious Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation section of The Higgins Firm. In this role, LaBrec will aggressively prosecute client cases related to nursing home abuse and catastrophic automobile accidents cases.

“Throughout her career, Carrie has been a vigorous advocate for her clients,” said Jim Higgins, managing partner of The Higgins Firm. “Our clients will benefit from her broad understanding of the law mixed with a critical and significant hands-on trial practice.”

LaBrec gained extensive trial experience as a Metro Nashville Assistant Public Defender from 2007 through 2011. During this time, LaBrec represented clients in numerous courtroom proceedings at Criminal Court and General Sessions levels.

After a quick 12 years on 3rd and Broadway we have moved on down the road. Although, the move is only about one mile from our old office we have little more space and most importantly WE NOW HAVE PARKING. As we all know, parking in Nashville is no longer easy to find nor is it cheap. Regardless, we did leave a lot of good memories in our old building. It was a place where clients became friends and we watched a city grow around us. We hope that the new owners will enjoy the space as much as we did. In fact, if you are near our old building it is now a Goo Goo store so drop in and grab you one.

Our new building is located at 525 4th Ave South so if you are in the neighborhood be sure to drop by and see us.

American Association of Justice Badge
Justia Badge for
Million Dollar Advocates Forum Badge
Best of the Bar Badge
AV Preeminent Badge