More Questions Surround Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and Other Transportation Networking Companies

Drivers who participate in transportation networking companies (TNC) may have a significant gap in coverage.  Some insurance carriers are taking the position that the TNC driver is engaged in a commercial service any time they are logged into a ridesharing app and just looking for a passenger.  Under such circumstances, if the driver is involved in an accident with another car or pedestrian and depending upon the language of the policy, the insurance carrier can take the position that the accident is not covered.  If the driver’s personal insurance does not cover the accident, then the injury victim must look to their own uninsured motorist insurance or that of the company i.e, Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, etc. 

Unfortunately, many individuals do not have uninsured motorist coverage.  Or, if they do have coverage, the limits are often very low and inadequate to ensure full compensation for significant injuries and losses.  As for the pursuing the transportation networking companies, their insurance may not apply since the driver was not actually transporting a passenger but instead was merely logged into the app and looking for passengers.  Coverage will turn on the terms of their policy.

As we have mentioned in prior posts here, here and here, there are many issues to be worked out with respect to this new means of transportation.  The Legislature will likely resolve some of the issues via regulations for these services.  Other issues will have to work their way through the court system. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident either as a driver, passenger or pedestrian, we may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries.  Contact one of our award-winning lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation.  We handle all injury cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.   Call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787.   

Drug-Impaired Driving

 Drivers involved in fatal accidents are more likely to test positive for prescription drugs and street drugs then in the past. Here are some staggering statistics from some recent reports.

·       From 1993 to 2010, for fatal crashes, the number of drugged drivers with three or more drugs in their system almost doubled as it jumped from 11.5 % to 21.5%.  

·       Drivers involved in fatal crashes are more likely to be combining drugs with alcohol.  For instance, 55% of drivers who had used marijuana had also been drinking and 70% of drivers who tested positive for cocaine also had alcohol in their system.

·       Prescription drug use was highest in drivers over age 50

·       Marijuana use was highest in drivers under age 30.

·       A 2012 study reported nearly 10.3 million American had driven under the influence of illicit drugs in the past year.

Drugged driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.  Any agent that affects motor skills and brain functions puts everyone else on or near the road at risk including other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, etc.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact one of our award-winning lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and your rights.  We handle all injury cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.  Call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787.  

Some Older Drivers Present Risk on Tennessee Roads

With age comes invaluable driving experience, but after a certain point it can also bring declining physical abilities which makes driving more dangerous.   Case in point: 78% of seniors drive regularly despite reporting slow reaction times and tiring easily behind the wheel.  13% of senior drivers reported difficulty hearing or seeing and 9 % report getting lost or feeling confused while driving. 

These days, I do not know what age qualifies one as being senior.  You can get an AARP card at 50 but the retirement age has been moved to 67.   One thing I do know is that with each passing year of my life, I think the age that one become a senior should get moved back. 

Given the squishy nature of when one becomes a “senior”, I elected to discuss the Tennessee crash statistics beginning at age 50.  Year to date, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there have been over 3,609 car crashes involving drivers over age 50.  Note that this number excludes parking lot and private property car wrecks and car accidents  involving $400 or less in damage. 

Because Tennessee does not have any special testing requirements for older drivers, it is imperative that we all assess ourselves and our loved ones for continued driving ability.  By doing so, we ensure the safety of everyone.  

At the Law Offices of John Day, we handle all types of car accidents and would be glad to speak with you about your potential car wreck case for free and without obligation.  Just give us a call at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787.  We handle all injury cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.  

Funeral Processions and Car Accidents: Who Has The Right of Way?

A Tennessee statute provides that a funeral procession has the right-of-way when the lead vehicle properly identifies the funeral procession by using a flashing amber light or is identified as a police escort or other “properly identified” escort.  A funeral escort may also use a siren and flags to identify the funeral procession. The lead car must comply with stop signs and traffic-control signals such as red lights but the remainder of the funeral procession can proceed without stopping or obeying the traffic signal if each vehicle has its headlights on.  

As with anything else, there are exceptions to the right-of-way rule.  A funeral procession must yield the right-of-way to an authorized emergency vehicle (police, fire, ambulance) with its siren on.  A funeral procession must also yield the right-of-way when directed to do so by any law enforcement officer.

So as to minimize the effect on traffic flow, the funeral procession must maintain minimum speeds.  On a highway, the procession should go no slower than 45.  On other roadways, the procession should not go any slower than 5 mph below the posted speed limit.  A motorist who is following a funeral procession on a two-lane highway must not pass the funeral procession.  Likewise, a motorist confronted with a proper funeral procession must yield the right of way and must not drive or attempt to drive in between the vehicles.

I find that folks in the Tennessee are generally very respectful of funeral processions. But accidents do happen and every motorist should know their responsibilities when proceeding in or confronted with a funeral procession.  If you would like to know your rights with respect to any type of car accident, give us a call at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 to talk to one of our award-winning lawyers.  The consultation is free and without obligation and we handle all injury cases on a contingency basis.   

Fight Underway Over Trucking Regulations Designed to Prevent Fatigued Truck Drivers From Being on the Road

You may have heard about the trucking accident that seriously injured actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and killed comedian Jimmy McNair. The truck driver who crashed into their limousine van is alleged to have been sleepless for 24 hours before the crash.  Fatigued drivers are less attentive and often fall asleep so federal regulations are in place to prevent this type of reckless conduct and protect the motoring public. But, a fight is now underway in Congress on just how tough those regulations should be. 

In fact, just days before the Tracy Morgan accident, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment which would suspend the regulation which requires truckers to take an extended break from driving after reaching weekly limits.   Under current regulations, if the driver has driven 70 hours over 8 days or 60 hours over 7 days, there is a mandatory restart requirement which provides the driver must take 34 hours off. But, a group of senators including Cory Booker, Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer, Elizabeth Warren and others think these regulations save lives and have introduced an amendment which would keep these important safety regulations in place.

According to the senators involved in the amendment, the number of deaths caused by truck accidents nationwide has increased 16 percent since 2009 and the number of injuries has increased by 40%. On average, more than 4,000 people lose their lives and another 100,000 are injured in truck crashes. In Tennessee, in 2013 alone, the big four counties of Davidson, Knox, Hamilton and Shelby saw over 4,000 large truck crashes. Given these statistics, we find it hard to believe that anyone would suggest the regulations should be weakened.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident and you would like to talk to one of our award-winning lawyers in a free, no-obligation consultation, call us anytime at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787. Of course, one of the first things we do as part of our investigation into the crash is review the driver’s logs to determine if he or she is over the allowable service hours. But, we also do much more to prove your case. For more information on trucking accidents, click hereFor more information on our fees and expenses, click here.

For Kids, the Drunk Driver That Is Likely To Injure or Kill Them Is In Their Own Car

From 2000 to 2010, 2,344 children under the age of 15 were killed in drunk driving accidents. In a whopping two-thirds of those fatal accidents, the children were actually riding with the drunk driver as opposed to the drunk driver being a stranger in another vehicle. Unfortunately, drunk driving was not the only risky behavior found in these accidents. Researchers also found that the children were often not wearing seatbelts or, if appropriate, properly secured in a car seat. 

In Tennessee, since 2004, there have been a total of 74,390 alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes. Notably, this figure does not include parking lot and private property crashes or crashes in which the property damage was less than $400.00. 

At the Law Offices of John Day, our award-winning lawyers are experienced in handling drunk driving accidents. To ensure you receive a complete recovery, we will evaluate all potentially liable parties and all potential claims including liquor liability claims and uninsured/underinsured motorist claims. Click here for more information on drunk driving claims. And, click here for more information on liquor liability or dram shop liability claims. Then, give us a call for a free, no-obligation consultation on your potential case. Call us any time at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787. We handle all drunk driving claims on a contingency basis.

Food Poisoning: Restaurants Present Greater Risk

According to a recent report, you are twice as likely to get food poisoning from a restaurant than you are from food prepared at home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food borne illness outbreaks sicken more than 48 million people annually. Of that number, 128,000 require hospitalization and 3,000 will die. Importantly, the Center for Science in the Public Interest believes that these numbers are actually low due to underreporting of outbreaks. 

We have more information on food poisoning on our website, including a video by John in which he outlines what you should do if you think you have been the victim of food poisoning from a restaurant. If you would like to discuss a potential food poisoning case, call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We handle all food poisoning cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.

Tennessee's Drunk Driving Laws under Scrutiny

Under Tennessee law, a first time DUI offender must spend 48 hours in jail. But a drunk driver convicted of vehicular homicide may receive probation and avoid jail time. Memphis’ Commercial Appeal newspaper has reported three such incidents in which someone under the influence of alcohol who caused a fatal accident spent less time in jail than a first time DUI offender. Under the current law, a judge has wide discretion in sentencing based on a list of 24 factors. Not surprisingly, many find this to be convoluted and are calling for the legislature to fix the apparent loophole. 

Regardless of what the drunk driver is charged with, drunk driving accidents continue to be a problem on Tennessee roadways. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security publishes crash-statistics for alcohol-impaired driver crashes, and the counties with the top 5 crash rankings for 2008-2013 are:

1.       Trousdale County

2.       Decatur County

3.       Bedford County

4.      Perry County

5.      Lincoln County

And during the same time period, the big four counties performed as follows:

1.      Davidson County: 25

2.      Hamilton County: 44

3.      Knox County: 45

4.      Shelby County: 70

If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver and would like to discuss your incident with one of our award-winning lawyers in a free, no-obligation consultation, call us at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787. Click these links for more information on drunk driving accidents and dram shop cases. We handle all drunk driving cases on a contingency basis.

Another Cause of Impaired Driving: Hypothyroidism

We all know that drinking and driving is dangerous. The same is true about driving while under the influence of certain drugs including prescription medications. But, most people are not aware that certain medical conditions can impair driving ability. For instance, individuals diagnosed with epilepsy need to have their seizures well-controlled and meet certain criteria before they can be medically cleared for driving. Likewise, diabetics must carefully monitor their blood sugar or they can present a serious risk on the roadways. (In fact, one of our lawyers has successfully secured a seven-figure settlement in a car accident caused by a diabetic blackout.)   And now, we are learning that individuals with significant hypothyroidism can experience impaired driving similar to that of a driver under the influence of alcohol.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which an individual produces insufficient amounts of the thyroid hormone. The condition is fairly common and it can impair a number of bodily functions including brain function. According to a study recently released by the International Society of Endocrinology, untreated hypothyroid patients placed in a driving simulator performed similar to drivers with blood alcohol concentrations above the legal limits. Like any other medical condition, hypothyroid patients should talk to their doctor and ensure they are receiving appropriate medicine to combat the deficient levels of thyroid hormone so they do not present a risk on the roadways.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and would like to discuss your case for free and without obligation, contact one of our award-winning lawyers at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 or fill out this online form and we will be happy to call you. We handle all Tennessee car accident cases on a contingency basis which means we only get paid if we win. And unlike some lawyers, we advance all case expenses so you are never out of pocket any money to pursue your rights.

Defective Air Bags Affect Millions of Vehicles

If you have an airbag system in your vehicle, you likely take comfort in this additional piece of safety equipment. But because of a defect, your airbag may now present a serious risk of injury. Takata Corporation, a Japanese company, is the second largest manufacturer of vehicle safety equipment including airbags. But in the past several years, Takata has experienced problems with its airbags. The defective airbags can explode causing injury and even death. The explosions are different from an intended deployment in a crash. Instead, the defective airbags actually detonate and shoot shrapnel at drivers and passengers. In fact, in at least one incident, the metal ejected during the airbag explosion was so hot it set fire to the instrument panel and glove compartment of the vehicle. 

As a result, in recent days, Nissan and Honda have recalled more than 3 million vehicles because of defective Takata airbags, and Mazda has recalled a smaller number of vehicles. More recalls may be looming as Chrysler, Ford and BMW are investigating the issue in their vehicles. And, it is important to note that these recent recalls are in addition to earlier recalls involving millions of vehicles affected with the same airbag problem.

The cause of the explosions appears to be related to inadequate pressure and excess moisture during production of the airbags. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) is, of course, investigating the problem and is also studying whether driving in high humidity presents an increased risk factor for the explosions, which is troubling news for Tennessee drivers as we enter the hot and humid summer months.  You can visit the NTHSA’s website to determine if you vehicle is affected by the recall and the steps to take to address the problem.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective airbag, you may have a product liability claim. If you would like to discuss your case with one of our award-winning lawyers, we would be happy to talk to you during a free, no-obligation consultation. Simply give us a call at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 or fill out this form and we will call you. We handle all accident cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.

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About John A. Day

I am a fifty-three year old lawyer who is fascinated by the law of torts. I have studied the field for over twenty-nine years. I represent plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death cases.

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