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December 2011 Archives

Woman who suffered personal injury in dog attack sues Knoxville

Personal injury can cause serious bodily and emotional harm. For example, a 70-year-old woman is still struggling to regain the use of her right arm almost six months after she was attacked by a Knoxville police dog. The woman is now in rehabilitation to treat the many bites and punctures caused by the dog and to follow up on personal injury that resulted from being dragged to the concrete floor of her garage. The attorney representing the woman said she has more than $10,000 in medical bills since the June 9 attack at her home in Jacksboro. She is now suing the city of Knoxville and the police dog's handler for $450,000.It has been reported that the incident took place when a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois came up to the woman as she pulled into her garage. The plaintiff tried to shoo the dog away by clapping her hands and yelling and waving her arms. At some point the animal lunged at her, grabbing her by the right shoulder and arm. The woman's husband beat the dog off by hitting it repeatedly with a tree trimming pole. An animal control officer then killed the dog in the couple's yard with a 12-gauge shotgun blast.

Update on Social Security Disability and SSI Claimants Ability to File Subsequent Application

Social Security Disability and SSI claimants need to know that the Social Security Administration has not changed its mind regarding subsequent applications while an appeal of a prior claim is pending at the Appeals Council.  On July 29, 2011, I discussed the recently published SSR 11-1p revising the SSA's policy for handling subsequent applications when a prior claim is pending with the Appeals Council.  The SSA has now given some more guidance on the issue, but, unfortunately, is not backing down on this draconian measure.

Social Security Disability Claim Based on Mental Retardation

Social Security Disability and SSI claimants have another positive court ruling on a mental impairment case.  The District Court in the Northern District of Florida reversed the Administration's decision denying benefits in Williams v. Astrue where a Claimant was alleging disability based on Listing 12.05 for Mental Retardation.  The ALJ improperly rejected the plaintiff's full scale IQ score of 66.

Knoxville family sues Toyota for fatal car accident

It wasn't long ago that headlines proclaimed tales of failing breaks in Toyota vehicles that led to serious car accidents across the country. Following a flood of claims and complaints, the motor vehicle manufacturer recalled thousands of car models. However, according to one local family, it did not recall enough.

Social Security Disability Claim for Mental Illness Remanded

In a positive case for Social Security Disability and SSI claimants, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded an unfavorable decision because the ALJ did not properly evaluate a treating physician's opinions.  In Scott v. Astrue, 647 F.3d 734 (7th Cir. 2011) the Court found that the ALJ's analysis reveals an all-too-common misunderstanding of mental illness. "The very nature of bipolar disorder is that people with the disease experience fluctuations in their symptoms, so any single notation that a patient is feeling better or has had a 'good day' does not imply that the condition has been treated."  The ALJ "was too quick to read inconsistencies" into the treating doctor's statements. It is not inconsistent for a patient to respond to treatment yet be markedly limited in her ability to work. Although the plaintiff had improved with treatment, she continued to experience manic depressive episodes. An ALJ may not pick and choose certain parts of a medical opinion.

Personal injury and fatality in Tennessee ATV crashes

Many Knoxville residents enjoy the thrills and adventures that come with ATV riding. Even so, there are a number of dangers associated with riding an ATV as these vehicles have a high collision and rollover rate. Dangerous experiences in an ATV can lead to serious personal injury and even death. A 22-year-old man has died and two others were sent to a hospital after such an accident.Tennessee Highway Patrol reported that the accident occurred on the evening of Dec. 8 in McMinn County. The 22-year-old driver and his passenger were reportedly traveling east along Highway 305 when their Yamaha crashed into another ATV carrying two riders. None of the riders on either of the ATV's were wearing helmets, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol said that neither vehicle had headlights.

Proposed Change for Non-Mosaic Down Syndrome for Social Security Disability and SSI

Social Security Disability and SSI claimants need to know that the Social Security Administration proposes to change the listings for evaluating congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems. 76 Fed. Reg. 66006 (Oct. 25, 2011). The main proposed revision would change adult listing 10.06 and childhood listing 110.06 for non-mosaic Down syndrome. There also are proposed changes to the introductory text for sections 10.00 and 110.00.

Knoxville pedestrian killed in car accident

An accident on the Sunday after Thanksgiving left a pedestrian dead after he was struck by a car. The car accident took place in East Knoxville on Magnolia Avenue near Kyle Street. Police were investigating the incident, and no charges have been filed yet.


In Workers' Compensation, while Tennessee law does not allow employers/insurers to benefit from the employee's receipt of SSDI benefits, it does provide a break in certain situations when the employee is receiving old age Social Security retirement benefits. Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-207(4)(A)(i), in pertinent part, states as follows:

Car accident with scooter sends 11-year-old to hospital

Knoxville, Tennessee, residents who are on the road know that they assume the risk of potential injury or accident when driving. Scooter drivers also assume this risk, though their risk of personal injury is much higher given their lack of surrounding protection. Even with this risk, personal injury claims can result when someone is injured in a scooter-related car accident as a result of someone else negligence. Such may be the case for the family of an 11-year-old boy who was taken to a hospital after just such an accident.

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Tony Farmer & John Dreiser

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Knoxville, TN 37909

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