Rocky McElhaney, Esquire

Attorney in Nashville, TN
It's about how hard you can get hit, how much you can take and keep moving forward. – Rocky Balboa

Rocky McElhaney learned many of the life lessons he now uses to help his clients while growing up near Buffalo Trail, in Morristown Tennessee, a small town about 35 miles east of Knoxville. At Central Point Baptist Church, he was taught the proper order of core values by his grandmother - faith, family, friends, and then finances. Rocky's dad worked as a millwright. His mom was an aide for Head Start. The family lived paycheck to paycheck. Rocky watched his parents work hard for what little they had. They overcame obstacles and made ends meet. By their example, Rocky learned that if you work hard, you can make it.

On August 5, 1988, when Rocky was 15, his dad, Larry McElhaney, injured his low back at work. He filed a workers’ compensation claim, but the insurance company would not pay or provide timely medical treatment. Larry had no choice but to return to work and struggle through the pain. It took three years for Rocky’s dad to get the surgery he needed.

Rocky saw the stress on his dad’s face as he dealt with the physical pain of his injury compounded by financial worry as bills piled up. The family got evicted and had to move. For over three years, Larry dealt with the never-ending stall tactics and red tape of an insurance company that wrongfully refused to give him the benefits he had earned. He was worn down. Larry eventually hired a lawyer. The insurance company still refused to accept responsibility. In fact, in court papers, the insurance company denied it owed Larry anything for his injury. With the help of that lawyer, the family finally got justice.

It was at that moment that Rocky decided to become an attorney – to fight for people the way that lawyer fought for his Dad and his family. Rocky knows that hard working people who are injured should not be subjected to additional hardship because a big corporation or insurance company refuses to do the right thing. Rocky believes that injured people deserve an attorney they can trust to ensure that those that harm them are held fully accountable. Big corporations and the billion dollar insurance companies that back them should be held to the same standard we teach our children - to immediately take responsibility when they cause damage to another and fully pay for the harms and losses.

Representing only the people, not the powerful, over the past 14 years, Rocky has built this law firm to fight for people like you. What makes Rocky different is that he really cares about his clients. Every injured person is his dad and every ruthless insurance company is the one that impacted his family. From that viewpoint, Rocky and his team fight to make sure every client and their family get the maximum compensation for what they go through, not just a quick settlement. Rocky builds friendships with his clients, not just professional relationships. For example, Bridget Pack first hired Rocky in 2000 and they still text to this day. Rocky went to trial for Ernest Atkinson in 2002. Ernie and Rocky would meet at least once every other month at the Beacon Light restaurant on Highway 100 to eat breakfast until Ernie passed away in 2006. Rocky knows your name and your story; not just your case number and date of injury.

Rocky works hard and plays harder. He and his wife Penny have three little boys. On evenings after work, he can be found pitching to his sons, chasing them down on their bikes and battery-powered 4-wheelers, or grilling in the back yard. He likes to SCUBA dive and snow ski. He enjoys Tennessee football games in autumn and Santa Rosa Beach, Florida in springtime. Rocky has an adventurous spirit which led him to jump out of an airplane to skydive, drive a NASCAR 155 MPH at Kentucky Speedway and cliff dive 35 feet into the Caribbean Sea at Rick’s Café in Jamaica.

Rocky McElhaney is the founder and principal shareholder of the Nashville based Rocky McElhaney Law Firm where he focuses his practice on significant cases involving catastrophic, brain and spinal cord injury, wrongful death and workers’ compensation. Located on historic Music Row, Rocky and his talented team represent injury victims across Tennessee and throughout the Southeast.

Rocky was presented with the AFL-CIO’s 2013 Presidential Award in a special ceremony at the Music City Sheraton in August 2013 for his dedication and hard work for working families in Tennessee. In June 2013, the Tennessee Association for Justice honored Rocky’s commitment to and influence on Tennessee’s civil justice system with the organization’s Paladin Award. Also, in 2013, Rocky was named to the list of Super Lawyers of the Mid-South. Previously, he was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2011 and 2012. In December 2012, Rocky and his law firm were selected as one of Tennessee’s “Top Rated Lawyers” by American Lawyer Media and were featured on the cover of the publication. Since 2008, Rocky has been invited to be a member of the National Trial Lawyers Association which limits its membership to the Top 100 trial lawyers in each state. Rocky was named 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Best of the Bar by the Nashville Business Journal, a distinction for the top lawyers in Nashville.

Rocky is a member of the Tennessee Association for Justice where he currently serves as Vice-President and is on the Board of Governors. In 2009, Rocky founded and co-chaired TAJ’s Workers Compensation Practice Group. Rocky is a member of the American Association for Justice. From 1998, Rocky served on the Board of Directors of the Nashville Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, serving as President for 2006-2007. He served an instructor of Intro to Law and Legal Writing at the Nashville School of Law from 2005-2008. Rocky received his B.A. degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and his J.D. degree with honors from Nashville School of Law.

Rocky has been involved in many landmark cases including the 2010 case against General Motors which allowed hundreds of injured workers to re-open closed cases to receive greater settlements and the 2011 representation of Helen Bailey, a 78-year old widow and civil rights activist facing an unfair foreclosure by Chase Bank. He frequently lectures on injury and trial related issues. He has argued before the Tennessee Supreme Court six times, clarifying or creating law for injured people across Tennessee.


Areas of Law

  • Automobile Accidents
  • Workers Compensation
  • Wrongful Death
  • Tractor Trailer Wrecks
  • Nursing Home Neglect
  • Personal Injury
  • Motorcycle Works
  • Construction Accidents
  • On-The-Job Injuries
  • Disability
  • Brain Injury
  • Catastrophic Injury
  • Commercial Vehicle Liability
  • Pedestrian Injuries
  • Head Injury
  • Spinal Injury
  • School Bus Accidents
  • Airplane Crash Litigation
  • Severe Burns
  • Products Liability
  • Elevator Liability
  • Heavy Equipment Products Liability
  • Product Defects
  • Product Failure
  • Product Safety
  • Product Warning Labels


Overall Client Rating

in Workers Compensation, Personal Injury and Bankruptcy
5.0 out of 5.0

Communication Ability
Quality of Service
Value for Money

  • Data based on 10 reviews
  • Recommended by 10 Clients
  • Last reviewed on 02/05/15
Posted by a Consumer on 02/05/15
5.0 out of 5.0
My only child passed away in a car wreck and I hired Rocky to represent me in a wrongful death suit. I could not have made it through everything if Rocky had not been so kind, caring, compassionate and sensitive to what I was going through. Honestly, before I met Rocky and his team of wonderful people, I assumed with him being a trial attorney that he would be just a person in a suit that didn't really care about me, my family and what we have gone through. Must to my surprise, Rocky was much more than I ever expected. He made what was the most difficult thing I had ever gone through manageable. He walked beside me the entire time through the process and always followed through. He helped us understand why legal action was needed in order to get the justice and protect my son's good name.
Report abuse
Posted by a Consumer on 09/19/14
5.0 out of 5.0
I worked for Coca-Cola for 15 years, and all the pushing, pulling, lifting and tugging ended up getting to me causing a gradual injury to my neck and back. One day I woke up and I couldn't breathe and I was numb all over. The doctor said that my neck was so messed up that it looked like I'd been in a car wreck. Both the doctors said that I couldn't go back to work and if I did they said It was going to have to be at limited capacity. Work comp of course went on to deny my claim. Then I contacted Rocky, because I knew they were in the wrong and I wasn't. Rocky said don't worry we're gonna take care of you and he did. He got the records, got my surgery approved, he also took care of getting my health insurance to pay for what they were supposed to before I made my claim to work comp. I ended up getting as much money by law that I could get to help set me up and more importantly I now get my medical treatment paid for life. Rocky has got the skills in the courtroom and he did the work on the back end so I didn't have to do a thing. I've got friends that are lawyers and even they said that they couldn't have got me what Rocky got me because it was a gradual injury and that they are hard to prove. Rocky didn't give up, he didn't let up an he really went to bat for me. He's just awesome.
Report abuse
Posted by a Consumer on 09/19/14
4.8 out of 5.0
My wife and I were hit hard in a bad car accident in Morristown involving several cars. Honestly, I didn't want to deal with having to hire a lawyer and would have settled for the insurance company to just pay our medical bills and loss of time at work but there were so many insurance companies involved, nobody wanted to pay. They just kept pointing the finger at each other. We had to get a lawyer. We had no choice. We just happened to pick the best darn lawyer for the job. We found Rocky through the phone book and when we called him he came right out to our house in Morristown from Nashville. He talked to us like he really cared about the outcome of our case. Our case was difficult and a lot of lawyers might not have wanted to get involved but Rocky knew exactly what to do and he was diligent and aggressive. He made us feel at ease with the situation we were in and fought the insurance companies for us so we could focus on getting better. Another thing my wife and I were really amazed by was his ability to read people and get the response out of them that he was looking for.

We had a great outcome and I would highly recommend Rocky to anyone who's been in an accident and is not sure what to do. Rocky can help them make the decision if they want to move forward and pursue a case or not. He laid it out on the table for us giving us all the information we needed to make the right decision -with no pressure. We definitely made the right choice in hiring him. Thank you Rocky!
Report abuse
Posted by a Consumer on 04/23/14
5.0 out of 5.0
Committed to each client with a tireless work ethic, always optimistic, never settling without a good result.
Report abuse
Posted by a Consumer on 02/24/14
5.0 out of 5.0
We have worked with Rocky for years and would trust him with anything that would come our way. He has worked on various cases for us and has always kept us informed all throughout the process. His entire staff especially Dena has always been very helpful to us. If at any time we needed an attorney we would call Rocky. Rocky is on top of every point of your case. He is very personable and is not only a great attorney but, a great person.
Report abuse
Posted by a Consumer on 01/21/14
5.0 out of 5.0
I would highly recommend Rocky McElhaney Law Firm. I had work-related injuries and a co-worker referred me to Rocky. I have used other firms before and I will never go back to them. Rocky and Justin treated me with respect. They listened to what I had to say and made sure I understood exactly what was happening in my case . I am happy with the way my case was handled and I do not recommend anyone lightly. I have referred Rocky and Justin to other people and hope you are just as happy with them as I was. I will be using them again If the need should arrive.
Report abuse

Legal Community Activity

Experience & Credentials



Admission Details

Admitted in 1999, Tennessee

Law School Attended

Nashville School of Law
Class of 1999

University Attended

University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Class of 1995

Representative Cases

McCall v. National Healthcare, 100 S.W.3d 109 (Tenn. 2003). In case of first impression, Tennessee Supreme Court upheld trial court's grant of pre-trial temporary payments and medical benefits in workers' compensation case, holdng that trial court's have authority to award such benefits without evidentiary hearing even after 1992 amendments to Tenn... More

Contact Information


615-425-2500 Call Now


Send email to Rocky McElhaney, Esquire

Social Networking

Office Information
Rocky McElhaney, Esquire
Music Row 1516 Sixteenth Avenue South,
Nashville, TN 37212


Rocky McElhaney Law Firm (Nashville, Tennessee)

About Client Rating
About Peer Rating

Welcome to Martindale-Hubbell® Client Review, a new ratings service that allows you to view and provide feedback on a lawyer or law firm on service and relationship qualities such as Communication Ability, Responsiveness, Quality of Service, and Value for Money.

Determining a Rating

The Client Review Rating is determined through aggregation of validated responses. This compilation of Client Reviews translates to a numerical rating and associate descriptive term on a scale of 1 -5. 1 being lowest as "Rated" and 5 being highest as "Preeminent".

  • 4.5-5.0 Preeminent
  • 3.0-4.4 Distinguished
  • 1-2.9 Rated

Martindale-Hubbell uses a third-party resource to validate that the respondent is a living person, but cannot confirm the lawyer/client relationship, which in many cases is confidential. Clients must affirm that they are a client of the lawyer or firm identified for review at the time of the completed Client Review.

The Reviewers

Those who complete Client Reviews are clients of law firms who hired a lawyer within the last year, whose matter is not pending, and want to share their experience of that lawyer or law firm with other potential clients. Reviewers can be of any type from in-house counsel, corporate executives, small business owners to private individuals, and even sometimes another lawyer in a different jurisdiction.


Client Reviews are anonymous and reviewers' identities are not published; however a summary of basic demographics will be part of the display of responses.

Why do we collect demographics as part of the review?

Those who are researching a lawyer or law firm like to see that there are other clients who might be "like them". This is valuable information contributing to the decision-making process of hiring a lawyer.

Martindale-Hubbell's role

Martindale-Hubbell facilitates the process of Client Review by gathering responses, validating them and aggregating results for display online. The content of the responses are entirely from reviewers, the clients of the firm or lawyer.

It is important to note that Martindale-Hubbell does not undertake to develop Client Reviews for all firms and lawyers. Therefore, the fact that a firm or lawyer has not been reviewed should not be construed unfavorably. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome and Martindale-Hubbell accepts no responsibility for the content or accuracy of any review over which Martindale-Hubbell exercises no editorial review or control.