H. Anthony "Tony" Duncan, Attorney at Law
Truxton Trust Bldg. | 4525 Harding Pike, Ste. 200
Nashville, TN 37205

615-620-4471 Telephone | 615-620-4521 Facsimile
[email protected]

This website is made available by the law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this site you understand that there is no attorney relationship between you and the website publisher. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a professional attorney in your state. Not certified by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education.


The following information includes frequently asked questions surrounding personal injury and wrongful death cases. The answers here are general in nature and are not intended to apply to every situation. Each case is unique and carries its own set of circumstances that must be taken into consideration by you after discussion with legal counsel.

These are some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from potential clients.

1. What is a “personal injury” case or claim?
Personal injury is any physical, mental, or emotional injury to a person that results from the actions or failure to act of another person or entity. This is often called negligence. Personal injury involves civil law as opposed to criminal law, with different legal burdens and manner of proof. Personal injury can be caused by a wide variety of factors. The following are some of the most common incidents resulting in personal injury:

  • Auto accidents (including multiple vehicle car wrecks)
  • Other vehicle accidents (aviation, bicycle, boat, motorcycle, railroad, tractor-trailer, etc.)
  • Explosions or other similar incidents that can cause burns
  • Construction/on-the-job accidents/workers’ compensation
  • Dangerous or defective products
  • Medical malpractice (birth Injuries, misdiagnosis of disease or illness, surgical negligence)
  • Nursing home abuse and neglect
  • Premises liability/slip-and-fall cases/inadequate security
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Toxic exposure
  • Traumatic brain injury

2. What financial compensation may I recover?
Personal injury victims are entitled to recover monetary damages for all losses and expenses sustained as the result of negligent acts or negligent failures to act by others. Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include recovery for any of the following:

  • Medical bills, both past and future
  • Lost income, including overtime wages, past and future
  • Pain & suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Physical disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional trauma
  • Mental disability
  • Property damage

3. What is a “wrongful death” case or claim?
Wrongful death law provides financial compensation to the family or relatives of a person whose death was caused by the negligent, willful, or wrongful act of another. Wrongful death cases are filed as a result of a variety of situations, including:

  • Medical malpractice resulting in a patient’s death
  • Neglect or abuse on the part of a nursing home that results in a patient’s death
  • Automobile, bus, train, airplane, or other common carrier fatality accident
  • Occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances (exposure to asbestos, explosions, etc.) resulting in death
  • Death during a supervised or guided activity (sports tournament, field trip, recreational activity, etc.)

4. How do I pay for my legal fees?
We generally take cases on a contingency fee basis unless otherwise agreed to by us. This means that if there is no monetary recovery, you owe us nothing for our services.

5. How do I pay for the expenses of the case?
In most cases, TDL will advance the expenses of the case and we will be paid back by you when the case is over.

6. How do you decide whether you will take my case?
We are fortunate in that we look at many cases every year even though we are not a large law firm. And we like it that way. Unfortunately, however, we are not able to help all of the people who ask for and need our help. We look at each case individually as it comes in. We evaluate the case collectively, involving everyone in the firm. Most importantly, Mr. Duncan will have input in deciding the cases we will take. If we believe that we can make a difference for you, or on behalf of others like you or a loved one, we will take the case. Sometimes, if we are unable to help you, we know of other lawyers who can help, and we will refer you to them.

7. How much is my case worth?
We don’t make promises, we get results. A lawyer who tells you how much your case is worth before even working on the case is probably making a promise he or she can’t keep. Depending on the specifics of your case, we may be able to give you some idea of what similar cases have settled for in the past, but the truth is that every case is unique and our job is to maximize your recovery to make sure you get justice in your case; we are not like other firms (who usually advertise heavily on television) that must get your case “in the door” and then settle it quickly—for less than it is worth most of the time—just so overhead can be met that month and more television advertisements purchased. We truly care about your case and you. To discuss how much your case may be worth, contact us anytime and we will talk with you in detail about how we evaluate a case’s value.

8. I don’t live in Tennessee: How can you take my case?
TDL is able to associate with competent local counsel in other states and work closely with them on your case. When we associate with local counsel we are able to appear and practice in states where we are not licensed. This is commonly referred to as being admitted “pro hac vice.”

9. Who from your law firm will work on my case?
At any given time, there are many people working on your case. There are lawyers, paralegals and legal assistants with whom you will work directly with. There are also investigators, law clerks, technicians, and experts who all may be working to bring your case to a successful conclusion. Even though you may never see or have contact with some of these people, they are here committed to you and this noble work.

10. When will a lawyer speak to me?
From the second your case comes in to the office, a lawyer is reviewing the facts and law that will be relevant to the case and whether we can help you. We also have legal assistants to assist on your case. The legal assistants are an integral part of our team. Many times the lawyer who is directly responsible for your case is out of the office or is working on other cases. You should know that any time you want to speak with the lawyer who is responsible for your case, every attempt will be made to have that lawyer call you directly at his/her earliest convenience.

11. How long will it take before we go to trial?
We work in state and federal courts all over the United States. Each court differs in the amount of time it takes to bring a case to trial. Once we know the appropriate court of your case, we are in a much better position to estimate the time to trial. We encourage you to speak with us about the specifics of your case and the jurisdiction/court where the case may be brought to get a better understanding of how long the litigation may take.

12. If there is a trial will I need to be there?
Yes, if there is a trial, you must be present. Sometimes, for people who are catastrophically injured it is impossible for them to be present at all times. We have been successful in asking the various courts to accommodate the special requests of our clients, who without fault of their own, have difficulty sometimes with the simplest of tasks, including being present in the court room.

13. What is a “deposition”?
During the course of your case you will most likely have to give a deposition. A deposition is a statement that is given under oath before a certified court reporter. It is just like being in court without a judge or jury. When your deposition is taken a lawyer will be there to represent you. It is likely that we will take depositions of the defendant, or their employees, in your case to discover their defenses.

14. What are “interrogatories”?
When someone is interrogated he or she is asked questions. When a lawsuit is filed, wach side has the right to send written questions to the other, which are called “interrogatories.” TDL will assist you in answering them and it is very important you answer each interrogatory completely and accurately.

15. What is a “hearing”?
Once a lawsuit is filed, each side has the right to ask the judge for certain things. This is generally done with a written document called a “motion.” The motion will be decided by the judge in your case at a “hearing,” which is a time the lawyers go to court (most of the time without their clients) to discuss in open court how the motion will be decided. We will let you know how the outcome of all motions turn out in your case.

16. How long will it take before I receive any money?
Typically, once a case is settled, documents must be exchanged between both parties of the lawsuit to assure that the settlement is binding. This process usually takes thirty to sixty, but can take longer if your case involves special circumstances, like having to workout repayment to Medicare or TennCare (which can take a while to resolve).

17. Will you speak with me before settling my case?
Yes, we will never settle your case without your expressed consent. Whenever settlement negotiations are initiated by either party you will be informed, and it is only with your full participation, advice, and consent that your case will be settled.

If you have any questions that are not answered here, please, do not hesitate to call us at (615) 620-4471.
Thank you!