Current legal topics and events in Knoxville and beyond!

The Benefits Provided in Tennessee’s Workers’ Compensation Laws

An injured employee in Tennessee is entitled to receive three (3) different types of benefits. The first of which is the right to receive medical treatment for the work-related injury. If a specialist such as an orthopedic doctor is needed then the employee is to receive a list of three (3) doctors from which to choose.

The second benefit that an employee is entitled to is temporary benefits. If an employee is held out of work by the authorized physician, then the employee is entitled to receive two-thirds (2/3) of their average weekly wages. The average weekly wage is determined by looking at the employee’s wages over the fifty-two (52) weeks prior to the injury.

The third benefit an employee is entitled to receive is compensation for the permanent nature of the injury. The amount the employee receives is based on the percentage of impairment (i.e. impairment rating) assigned by the authorized treating physician and on the employee’s average weekly wage. In Tennessee there is a formula based on 450 weeks x the average weekly wage x the impairment rating. The employee can also receive additional multipliers if they do not return to work within a specified period. In this scenario the employee may also receive additional compensation based on his education level, age and unemployment rate of the county where he resides.

In the past 30 years the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation laws have received at least three (3) major revisions. Each revision has tended to provide less compensation to an injured employee. Tennessee law previously has based an employee’s right to recover based on the Vocational Impairment an employee has due to a work-related injury. Due to an erosion of employee rights and the power of the Business and Insurance Industries, the laws have been changed to base the recovery more on an arbitrary formula than on how an injury affects an employee’s ability to earn a living.

If you have been involved in a work related accident, contact us today. We are happy to discuss what benefits you are entitled to.

What Happens If You Die Without A Will?

Do you know what will happen to your assets when you pass on?

If you die without a will in Tennessee, intestate succession laws will affect the assets that would have passed through your will. However, not all assets are controlled by your will. Certain assets pass to the surviving co-owner or named beneficiary. For example, real estate titles control their ownership. Some assets, such as individually owned assets, could still be inherited under intestate succession laws if you do not have a will.

Under intestate succession in Tennessee, who receives your inheritance depends on whether you have a spouse, children, parents or other close relatives when you die.

When you die, if you are survived by:
a spouse but no descendants → spouse inherits everything
children and no spouse → children inherit everything
a spouse and descendants → spouse and children equally share but spouse’s share is not less than 1/3
parents but no spouse or descendants → parents inherit everything
siblings but no spouse or descendants → siblings inherit everything

If you die without a will and are survived by your spouse, what your spouse receives depends on whether or not you have living descendants (children, grandchildren or great grandchildren). If you don’t have living descendants, then your spouse would inherit all of your property. If you do have living descendants, your spouse will share your property equally with the descendants, but the spouse cannot receive a share less than 1/3.
If you die without a will and are survived by your children, the size of each child’s share depends on how many children you have and whether or not you are married.

Preparing a will is a critical step to assuring that your wishes are carried out after your death.

If you are ready to create your will, contact us today. We are happy to help you with this important process.

9 Significant Reasons to Have a Will

Having a will is arguably one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Not only can a will legally protect your spouse, children, and assets, it can also spell out exactly how you would like things handled after you have passed on.

While each person’s situation varies, here are the top reasons to have a will.

1. You decide how your estate will be distributed. A will is a legally-binding document that lets you determine 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.
2. You decide who will take care of your minor children. A will allows you to make an informed decision about who should take care of your minor children. Absent a will, the court will take it upon itself to choose amount family members or a state-appointed guardian.
3. To avoid a lengthy probate process. Contrary to common belief, estates may have to go through the probate process, with or without a will. Having a will, however, speeds up the probate process and informs the court how you would like your estate divided.
4. You don’t want the State to step in. If you’d rather leave your property or assets to someone outside of your immediate family or a non-blood relative, a will protects them. If you have no will it’s up to the State law to decide.
5. You decide who will wind up the affairs of your estate. Executors make sure all your affairs are in order, including paying off bills, canceling your credit cards, and notifying the bank and other business establishments. Because executors play the biggest role in the administration of your estate, you will want to be sure to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organized.
6. You can disinherit individuals who would otherwise stand to inherit. Most people do not realize they can disinherit individuals out of their will. You may wish to disinherit individuals who may otherwise inherit your estate if you die without a will.
7. Make gifts and donations. The ability to make gifts is a good reason to have a will because it allows your legacy to live on and reflect your personal values and interests.
8. Avoid greater legal challenges. If you die without a will, part or all of your estate may pass to someone you did not intend.
9. Because you can change your mind if your life circumstances change. A good reason for having a will is that you can change it at any time while you are still alive. Life changes, such as births, deaths, and divorce, can create situations where changing your will is necessary.

If you are ready to create your will, contact us today. We’ll be happy to guide you through the process.

Top 10 Reasons to Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

1. EXPERIENCE ASSESSING CLAIMS. Personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and know what is your best course of action.
2. NO FEES IF YOU DON’T RECOVER. Most personal injury attorneys work for a contingency fee, which means that if the attorney only receives a fee if the client receives a recovery.
3. RED TAPE. An experienced attorney can work through the maze of paperwork necessary to resolve your claim so that you can get on with your life.
4. OBJECTIVITY. A personal injury attorney can be more objective about your case. Your attorney can counsel you about what is in your best interests.
5 ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION. An experienced attorney will know whether your dispute may be best resolved through settlement or mediation, thereby saving you time, money, and emotional energy.
6. EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH OTHER ATTORNEYS. An experienced personal injury attorney can deal most effectively and expediently with opposing counsel.
7. EXPERIENCE WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES. Attorneys are also used to working with insurance companies and will not be confused by their procedures for dealing with injury claims.
8. BEST SETTLEMENTS. Personal injury attorneys work hard to reach the best settlements for their clients.
9. BEST JURY VERDICTS. If a trial becomes necessary, a personal injury attorney can represent you in court and work toward achieving the best possible jury verdict in your favor.
10. PEACE OF MIND. Having an attorney on your side during this stressful time just makes sense. You need an expert on your side to provide you peace of mind that everything will be taken care of.

If you are in need of a personal injury attorney to help with all of this, contact us today. We’ll be happy to help you out.

Tennessee Vols Football 2016 Recap and 2017 Preview

The Tennessee Vols’ 2016 football season ended on a high note with a 38-24 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, the home of the Tennessee Titans. Quarterback Josh Dobbs was named the game’s MVP as he led the way for the Vols, passing for 291 yards and 1 TD and rushing for 118 yards with 3 TDs. Defensive end Derek Barnett broke a school record held by Reggie White and became the all-time leader in sacks at Tennessee by recording his 33rd career sack.

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Law Office of Perry H. Windle III

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Knoxville, TN 37919

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