Eye on Ethics. Mar The Lawyers Of Hill Boren. Featured In This Issue

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1 118 The Lawyers Of Hill Boren T. Robert Hill Ricky L. Boren Jeffrey P. Boyd James R. Krenis Tamara L. Hill Mike Hartup Featured In This Issue 1. Eye on Ethics 2. New Voter ID Rules May Impact Votes 2. New Law Cuts Down on Distracted Truck Drivers 3. Work Related Hearing Loss Is A Big Deal 4. Finding the Right Nursing Home 5. Disability Benefits and Health Insurance Programs 5. Think Before You Post 6. Spotlight Mar Recent Settlements 8. Dangerous Products Docket Ricky Boren Eye on Ethics We all know that when it comes to doing the right thing, the answers are not always black and white. Fortunately, in the legal world, ethics standards are spelled out and a system of accountability is in place. These standards are intended to protect citizens from counsel that may not have their best interest in mind. Over the years, I have heard stories of unethical practices and had many ethics-related questions from clients. These answers are intended to help you recognize unethical practice. I was injured in a car wreck and have been out of work for months. Money is very tight. I spoke with a lawyer and he told me he could loan me $1000 a month until my case settles. He also said that I do not have to pay interest. That sounds too good to be true. Is it? It may be tempting, but any attorney who offers you money while they are representing you in a case, is in serious violation of ethics codes. The American Bar Association strictly prohibits all attorneys from providing any monetary support to their clients beyond the case expenses. This behavior can cause the attorney to lose his or her license to practice law. An attorney who promises to lend money, or actually does lend money, should be reported to the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility at Why should you care about the ethical failings of an attorney? If the attorney is willing to risk his or her law license to get your case, do you really think you can trust them to represent you with your best interests in mind? My attorney claims he can settle my case quickly and for more money than we could get over the long haul. Is this true? No. Unfortunately, a quick settlement is very rarely the best settlement a plaintiff can receive. The fact is, time is crucial for most cases to gain momentum and maximize bargaining power. For example, if you are pursuing a personal injury case, it may take up to a year for a doctor to determine if the injuries are permanent. Any attorney who tells you they can get the best settlement for you quickly, is either not being honest or is not very experienced. Often, these attorneys rush cases through the system, so that they can receive a quick payout. At Hill-Boren, we fight to get our clients the settlement they need and deserve. Our experience has taught us that, for most our clients, it is worth the wait.

2 New Voter ID Rules May Impact Votes In yet another measure to deny freedoms to the poor, elderly and minorities, Tennessee s current shoot first, ask questions later legislature passed a bill requiring voters to present a photo identification in order to participate in the election process. While this measure may not sound extreme, nearly a quarter-million Tennesseans are impacted by this legislation. Here s why: Those 60 and older are not required to have a photo on their driver s license, so many do not. Unfortunately for them, a voter registration card is no longer enough to enter the voting booth. In addition to elderly voters, college students and the poor are unfairly singled out by this legislation. Some county voting commissions are preparing to have information and staff available at voting locations to guide these individuals. In an effort to appease voters, a new bill allows voters without valid photo id s, to have them supplied free of charge at Driver Service Centers across the state. There are 19 locations throughout West Tennessee. For a full list, please visit our website. Unfortunately, even these actions may not be enough to prevent Tennessee s elderly and poor from encountering obstacles. No one should be hindered in any way from exercising their constitutional right to vote. Update: New Law Cuts Down on Distracted Truck Drivers James Krenis After numerous deaths and injuries, the ban on commercial truck driver cell phone use went into effect in January. The ban, put forward by the U.S. Department of Transportation, means that truckers may only use hands-free devices while driving. This law is intended to reduce the escalating number of deaths and injuries that have occurred as a result of truckers driving while texting, dialing numbers or searching for dropped phones. If you have been injured as a result of a distracted truck driver, call Hill-Boren for a free case evaluation.

3 Work Related Hearing Loss Is A Big Deal Studies show that nearly 1 in 5 Americans experience hearing loss severe enough to interfere with day-to-day communication. Many people see this as no big deal, especially those whose hearing loss occurs over time due to work noise. This is a big misconception. The Tennessee Worker s Compensation Act recognizes that work-related hearing loss is a problem, and a worker can received up to 150 weeks of benefits for hearing loss. Depending on the employee s worker s compensation rate of pay, this could result in a significant award of benefits, plus free hearing aids for life, which can cost up to $3,000. To be sure, hearing loss has a great impact on a person s ability to understand what is happening around them and to engage in normal work and life activities. This can lead to frustration, social isolation and loneliness. When a person cannot communicate effectively, the brain has to reallocate resources to help with hearing and that may be related to dementia and other cognitive impairment. Helen Keller once said, Blindness separates us from things, but deafness separates us from people. Telltale signs During your employment, if you were required to wear hearing protection as part of your job requirements, then it is likely that your workplace was noisy enough to cause hearing loss. If you noticed that your ears felt stuffy or rang after your shift, you most likely experienced what is called a temporary threshold shift, which is indicative of significant noise exposure. If you have difficulty hearing conversations in noisy environments, or if your spouse or significant other complains about the volume on the radio, you may have experienced noise-related hearing loss. If you have ever failed a hearing test at work or been asked to retake the test or had your baseline adjusted, then most likely you have experienced a hearing loss. The fact that your employer may have told you that you were fine, or that your hearing was not that bad, does not mean that you are not entitled to compensation. Hearing loss is a recognized industrial injury, just like a back or shoulder injury. Currently, Hill-Boren is handling close to 600 hearing loss claims in West Tennessee. We handle, by far, more hearing loss claims than any other firm in this area. Take advantage of your rights under the law. Call Hill-Boren. We re here to help and we know how.

4 Finding the Right Nursing Home Finding the right nursing home for a parent or loved one who requires 24-hour supervision and care can be a difficult task, but there are several resources that can make it easier. For those with access to the internet, there are several sites that can be of assistance. Tamara Hill, R.N. J.D We provide direct links from the Hill-Boren website to make it easier for you to visit these sites. Armed with the information from one or more of these websites, you should visit any nursing home you are considering. Take care to look at more than just the nice walls, floors and gardens of a facility. The lobby may be pretty, along with the other common areas, but the most important aspect is the level of care that is provided. Ask to see a typical room. Observe the staff and residents as you walk around the facility. Are residents lined up in wheelchairs in the hall? Are residents cleanly and neatly dressed or are they in hospital gowns? Are linen carts covered? Is there dirty laundry on the floor? Are trays sitting uncovered and untouched? Are there activities going on? Do you see staff in the hallways? Nurses out and about? If there is an odor when you first walk down a hall, is it still there 15 minutes later? Are the floors clean? Most importantly, review all forms you are presented with very carefully. Nursing homes often slip arbitration clauses into admission paperwork. By signing this arbitration agreement, you are waiving your right to pursue any malpractice or abuse claims against the nursing home, should something happen to your loved one. DO NOT SIGN! There is absolutely NO reason or advantage for the family to sign this agreement. Nursing home representatives may apply pressure to sign, which should serve as a red flag on the quality of the facility and staff. If for some reason you have already signed an arbitration agreement, an attorney can help you determine whether it can be enforced. As a former Director of Nursing for a nursing home, I advise you to carefully investigate the nursing home you choose and the forms you are asked to sign. In the unfortunate event that your loved one is injured in a nursing home because of abuse or neglect, call me. I can help evaluate your potential claim.

5 Disability Benefits and Health Insurance Programs Did you know that when an individual receives Social Security Disability benefits, he or she also becomes eligible for certain health insurance benefits? The type of insurance you receive depends on the type of disability benefits you are eligible for. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (benefits for the disabled poor who have not earned enough work credits for standard benefits), you become eligible for Medicaid insurance benefits as of the date that you begin receiving your Supplemental Security Income. However, if you are eligible for standard Social Security Disability benefits, you will become eligible for Medicare benefits 24 months following the date that you begin to receive your disability benefits. For many claimants, this waiting period has already been established by the time they are awarded benefits. This may be a result of a claim for back benefits and/or the waiting time required for the Social Security appeals process. Medicaid is a federally and state funded program, but is administered and managed by the state. In Tennessee, the Medicaid program generally provides a managed care health insurance program that assigns all insured individuals with a primary care provider. It provides basic medical coverage, including hospitalization and normal laboratory and radiological testing. It also provides long-term care services for the elderly and disabled, as well as mandatory dental services for those under the age of 21. Medicare is divided in to three categories: Part A, which covers hospital care; Part B, which covers medical insurance for primary care and Part D, which covers prescription drugs. If you have applied for disability benefits or are considering applying, give us a call to discuss which insurance benefits you might also be eligible for. Think Before You Post When Kurt Nordland posted pictures of himself relaxing at the beach, he never thought his insurance company would see them. Fraud investigators from the insurance company not only saw the photos, but used them as justification for cutting off his coverage. Nordland had previously sustained an on-the-job shoulder injury, was receiving worker s compensation benefits and was scheduled to undergo surgery. When his coverage was removed, he was forced to postpone. Social Media Mining, as it is called, has become standard practice among large insurance companies, and has proven useful in uncovering fraud. However, in Nordland s case, medical records proved that his injury was legitimate. He sued the insurance company and got his surgery covered. It is easy to forget that your personal information, depending on your privacy settings, could be seen by anyone. Social Media Mining is not only used by the insurance industry, but can be used against you in a lawsuit or prevent you from getting a job. That is why it is always important to check your account s privacy settings, to make sure that access to your posts and photos is limited to your friends only. If you have a pending case, however, it is best not to post photos of yourself at all. They may just come back to haunt you.

6 By the Numbers If Hill-Boren has handled your case in the last 25 years, it is likely that the first person you spoke to at our office was Hal Fewell, Intake Coordinator. Recently, Hal reviewed the last decade of Hill-Boren cases and uncovered some surprising results. Between 2000 and 2010, Hill-Boren took: 22,570 calls 8,660 cases 3,747 worker s compensation cases 2,840 personal injury/automobile cases 1,037 medical malpractice cases 252 nursing home cases Boyd Named Fellow of State Bar Foundation Hill-Boren attorney Jeff Boyd has recently been named a Fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation. The Foundation is an association of 751 attorneys across the state, and Jeff is among the just 33 attorneys invited to join this year. We are thankful for being allowed to serve the West Tennessee community on each and every one of these cases, and we look forward to many more decades of service. Hal Fewell You re Invited Join us for an Evening of Remembrance and Celebration of Governor Ned Ray McWherter. Where: Jackson Civic Center When: April 12, 2012, 6:00 pm-cocktail Hour, 7:00 pm-dinner Table of 8 for $400 Individual Dinner Tickets $60 Balcony Seating for Program $20 For more information or to purchase tickets contact Susan Banks at

7 Recent SETTLEMENTS James Krenis James Krenis recently represented a Dyersburg man who sustained an on-the-job injury. The man was picking up a steel roller with a large ball bearing on the conveyor belt when his feet slipped from under him and the roller fell on top of his right hand, crushing it. During the recovery phase he developed a staph infection and had to be treated at the Infectious Disease Clinic. Unfortunately, the man continues to experience pain and loss of sensation in his thumb. Krenis fought to get the man $25,000, to cover injury, lost wages and medical bills. Hill-Boren attorney James Krenis represented a 52 year-old trucking company employee who had sustained gradually occurring injuries and was permanently laid off. The injuries to her upper extremities occurred over her 13 years in clerical work for the company. The case was settled for the employee for $11,550. When a McNairy County dietary aide injured her neck, arm and shoulder after stepping on an uneven floor, lawyer James Krenis fought to get her the worker s compensation she needed. The woman was awarded $12,750 for the injuries she sustained. James Krenis represented a Gibson County factory employee whose physical work led to a repetitive stress injury of the shoulder. After undergoing treatment, the employee returned to work, but experienced debilitating pain. An MRI confirmed a partial tear and other right shoulder problems, and the man underwent surgery. The man was awarded $10,878 and returned to work with the same or greater wage that he had before the injury. James Krenis recently represented a Henry County woman in reconsidering her previous worker s compensation claim. When her employer required her to perform only work she was physically incapable of, she went to her treating physician who confirmed her decreased abilities. Krenis got the woman a 60% industrial disability rating, which allowed her additional compensation. Recently, Hill-Boren attorney James Krenis represented a man who was laid off during the Goodyear plant closure. His previous worker s compensation claim was reopened and the man received an additional 13% for his arm injury, or $18,576. James Krenis recently represented a Jackson man who was rear-ended by another vehicle at a red light. The driver who hit him admitted to being distracted. Krenis client accumulated $4,000 in medical bills and he lost time at work due to his injuries. The case was settled for $10,500. Jeff Boyd Hill-Boren attorney Jeffrey Boyd represented a client who was injured on the job when he sustained a severe head trauma. He underwent several surgeries, but was fortunately able to return to work at his old job. The case was settled at the Department of Labor Benefit Review Conference for $112,000 with open future medical benefits. Also, if the client loses his job within 400 weeks, it will be possible to reopen the case for additional compensation. Boyd represented a route driver for a national delivery company, who had developed a gradual injury to his lower back and neck. He was hurting so badly that his supervisor occasionally had to pick him up off of his route and take him to the emergency room. However, because the driver did not say out loud I hurt myself on the job, his injuries were ignored by the company. He was having so much trouble, that the company sent him home from the job and told him to come back when he was physically up to it. After a year of enduring tremendous pain, with no income, his case went to trial. Boyd s client was awarded $44,000 in permanent benefits and another $45,000 for the year he had no income. He also has the right to reopen his case if he loses that job and open medical benefits for life. Boyd represented a family of three that were rear ended in slow traffic on the Interstate by a tour bus when they were traveling back to Tennessee. The family sustained damage to the automobile and minor injuries. Boyd settled the case for $130,000. Ricky Boren Hill-Boren attorney Ricky Boren recently represented a man whose shoulder and collarbone were severely injured, when someone pulled out in front of his motorcycle, causing a collision. The case settled for the payment of $130,000. Ricky Boren represented a man who injured his back on-the-job, while moving a refrigerator. The client s on-the-job back injury caused or aggravated an infectious condition in his spine, requiring two surgeries. The case was tried and the court found that this injury resulted in rendering him totally and permanently disabled. The defendant in this case appealed to the Supreme Court. Recently, the ruling was handed down and affirmed the original court s decision. The client will receive benefits until he reaches the age of 66 years.

8 118 P.O. Box 3539 Jackson, TN June 08 Mar 2012 La primera consulta es totalmente gratuita. Le ofrecemos la máxima confidencialidad. Hablamos español. Return Service Requested visit us at Dangerous Product Docket HP fax 1040 and 1050 machines Electronics giant Hewlett-Packard recently recalled 928,000 fax machines in the U.S. after reports that they overheated and caught fire, causing property damage for owners. The HP fax 1040 and 1050 machines were sold November 2004 and December 2011 for $90-$120. Consumers should immediately discontinue use of these models, unplug them and contact HP for a replacement machine or partial refund. If you or someone you know has sustained property damage or injury as a result of this or any other malfunctioning product, you may have a case. Call Hill-Boren for a consultation. Tassimo Single Cup Coffee Maker The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently issued a recall this for the Tassimo Single-Cup Coffee Maker, after 140 reports of incidents with the brewers causing some second-degree burns. One incident involved a 10-year-old who received burns to her face and neck, requiring hospitalization. This recall affects 835,000 units in the U.S. alone. If you own this product, discontinue use immediately. If you have been injured by this or any other defective product, call Hill- Boren to discuss your options today. Hamilton Beach chrome 2-slice toasters Only six months after a recall of 314,000 Hamilton Beach classic chrome 2-slice toasters, they are being recalled again. The joint recall was announced by the manufacturer, along with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissions, following reports that the heating element stayed on even when the toaster lifter was up or in the off position. This malfunction has reportedly caused minor damage to kitchen cabinets, but could potentially cause property damage and/or injury. If you or someone you love has sustained an injury or property damage from this product, call Hill-Boren.

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