How To Protect You and Your Family When Renting A Car

The past year was a record year for vehicle recalls with over 62 million vehicles recalled.   In the General Motors ignition switch recall alone, there have been 4,345 claims made including 479 death claims and 292 “Category One” claims which require an injury involving permanent brain damage, paraplegia, quadriplegia, severe burns or double amputation. The remaining 3,574 “Category Two” claims involve injuries that required a hospital visit within 48 hours after the accident. 

If you are the registered owner of a recalled vehicle, then the manufacturer, with oversight by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will notify you that your vehicle contains a safety defect and provide instructions on how to get it repaired. But what about when you rent a vehicle? How are you supposed to know if all recalls have been addressed before you put yourself, your friends or your family in the vehicle? 

Here is an easy solution to the dilemma: before you accept the car the rental car company assigns to you, quickly run the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on www.vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/. If there are open recalls on the vehicle, alert the rental car agency to the problem and ask for a different vehicle. Typically, you will find the VIN in several places including: the driver’s side dash by the bottom of the front windshield (this location is easier to read outside the vehicle), the engine block, underneath the spare tire and the driver’s side door post (open the driver’s side door for this location).  

I know some of you may think this is unnecessary because the rental car agency will surely address any recalls for vehicles in their fleet. But incompetence can happen anywhere and one only need to routinely rent cars as part of your job to know it happens with some degree of frequency at rental car counters and garages.  

Ten Things You Can Do to Help EMS Workers

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, EMS workers will respond to roughly 37 million emergency calls in a given year, and they will treat and transport approximately 28 million people. Emergency medical personnel must quickly assess the accident scene and victim, determine and provide what the patient needs and record their assessments, care and the patient’s response. Victims and bystanders can help make the job of EMS workers easier and more efficient by following the steps below:

1.     Stay calm.

2.     Provide as much information as possible about the accident scene location using mile markers, intersecting roads, landmarks.

3.     Send someone, if possible, to flag down the ambulance or rescue squad so they can locate the scene quicker.

4.     Clear the path, if necessary, to the victim.

5.     Do not move the victim, unless they are in danger.

6.     Keep the victim as calm and comfortable as possible.

7.     Provide basic first aid if you are able and willing.

8.     Respond completely and honestly to all questions asked by the EMS workers.

9.     Take note of significant events such as when a victim loses consciousness, etc.

10. If you have a significant medical history, consider using one of the available apps to record your medical conditions, allergies, medications, etc. Or alternatively, do it the old-school way by writing it down so it is easily accessible in case you are shaken up or unconscious following an accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and would like to discuss your legal options in a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, call one of our award-winning lawyers anytime at 866-812-8787

For more information on this issue, click on one of the links below:

What To Do Following An Accident

What Are the Deadlines For Filing A Lawsuit in Tennessee?

How To Select A Personal Injury Attorney

How Much Do You Charge and What Do I Have To Pay to Pursue My Case?

Ten Things You Can Do to Help EMS Workers

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, EMS workers will respond to roughly 37 million emergency calls in a given year, and they will treat and transport approximately 28 million people. Emergency medical personnel must quickly assess the accident scene and victim, determine and provide what the patient needs and record their assessments, care and the patient’s response. Victims and bystanders can help make the job of EMS workers easier and more efficient by following the steps below:

1.     Stay calm.

2.     Provide as much information as possible about the accident scene location using mile markers, intersecting roads, landmarks.

3.     Send someone, if possible, to flag down the ambulance or rescue squad so they can locate the scene quicker.

4.     Clear the path, if necessary, to the victim.

5.     Do not move the victim, unless they are in danger.

6.     Keep the victim as calm and comfortable as possible.

7.     Provide basic first aid if you are able and willing.

8.     Respond completely and honestly to all questions asked by the EMS workers.

9.     Take note of significant events such as when a victim loses consciousness, etc.

10. If you have a significant medical history, consider using one of the available apps to record your medical conditions, allergies, medications, etc. Or alternatively, do it the old-school way by writing it down so it is easily accessible in case you are shaken up or unconscious following an accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and would like to discuss your legal options in a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, call one of our award-winning lawyers anytime at 866-812-8787

For more information on this issue, click on one of the links below:

What To Do Following An Accident

What Are the Deadlines For Filing A Lawsuit in Tennessee?

How To Select A Personal Injury Attorney

How Much Do You Charge and What Do I Have To Pay to Pursue My Case?

New Tennessee Uninsured Motorist Legislation Does Little to Help Consumers

The Tennessee Legislature is trying to get tougher with uninsured motorists in our State, which currently ranks sixth in the nation for the number of uninsured drivers. The proposed bill would triple the fines for failing to have insurance (from $100 to $300). If a driver could not provide proof of insurance, the bill provides for the car to be towed and the tags be seized. In addition to the increased fines, once the insurance was obtained, the driver would also have to pay reinstatement fees.

Unfortunately, this legislation is not enough to protect you. Increased fines are unlikely to deter uninsured drivers from getting on the roadways. Most people who drive uninsured do so because they simply do not have the funds to purchase auto insurance.  Their monthly budgets just cannot be stretched to include it. Then they should not be driving, you may say. I understand that, but when you live too far away to walk to your job and other basic services (doctor, grocery store, pharmacy, etc.) then most folks will cross their fingers, get in their car and hope for the best.  They are gambling they won't be caught and won't be in a wreck

But for argument sake, let’s assume this legislation will cause uninsured drivers to get insurance. The reality is that the State’s minimum limits are simply too little to provide adequate compensation to those injured and damaged in moderate to severe accidents. The State’s financial responsibility law, T.C.A. 55-12-102(12), mandates Tennessee drivers have $25,000/$50,000 auto insurance coverage.   If you and your family are hit by a driver with only minimum limits, the maximum their insurance carrier has to pay is $25,000.00 for one person and $50,000 for everyone hurt in the accident. For example, if you are driving by yourself and are hit by a driver with minimum limits and you sustain a broken back that requires surgery and leaves you unable to work for 6 months, the maximum amount you can recover from the at-fault driver’s insurance company is $25,000.   Now let’s assume you are riding with your family (wife and three kids), and you are involved in an accident with a driver who only has minimum limits, the maximum amount all of you combined can recover, regardless of the extent of your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, scarring, etc. is $50,000.   Now do you see what I mean when I say the new legislation does not go far enough?  

So what can you do to protect you and your family? Purchase uninsured/underinsured (UN/UIM) motorist coverage.   UN/UIM coverage will compensate you for any injuries or damages caused by an uninsured driver. It will also protect you if you are involved in an accident with a driver who has insufficient coverage to compensate you for all your losses. For example, let’s say you have $1 million dollars in UN/UIM coverage and you are hit by a driver with minimum limits who leaves you totally and completely disabled from your $75K job and saddled with medical bills, your UN/UIM coverage would pay for all of the losses up to $1 million dollars that were over and above the at-fault driver’s minimum limits.

You would be surprised how inexpensive this coverage is.  I renewed my auto insurance and the $1,000,000 uninsured motorist coverage was $113.  Now, I am not saying that $113 is not a lot of money.  Of course it is.  But relatively speaking it is not inexpensive and spending this money provides protection for the occupants of my vehicle, usually my family.

Ask your insurance agent what it would cost to purchase additional uninsured motorist coverage.  And then make a decision about what amount to purchase based on your household budget. 

New Recalls and Warnings for Those With Peanut Allergies

Since the beginning of February, the FDA has been busy with recalls related to undeclared peanut allergens.  A good number of the recalls are related to tainted cumin but not all. The foods involved are:

  1.  Pride of Szeged Sweet Hungarian Paprika (manufactured by Spiceco) 
  2. Goya and Kirby – Black Bean Soup and Black Beans with Creole Seasoning (manufactured by Goya)
  3. Whole Foods Market Divine Treasures 100,000 Smooches candy (manufactured by Whole Foods Market)
  4.  Whole Foods Market – prepared salads, tacos and seasoned meat items (manufactured by Whole Foods Market)
  5. Village Hearth, Lender’s, L’Oven Fresh and Kroger bagels (all produced by National Choice Bakery). This recall also involves tree nuts.
  6. Pepperidge Farm bagels (manufactured by Pepperidge Farms). This recall also involves tree nuts.
  7. Sara Lee, Thomas and Jewel bagels (all manufactured by Bimbo Bakeries) This recall also involves almonds.
  8. See’s Candies Classic Red Hearts and assorted chocolates (manufactured by See’s Candies). This recall also involves undeclared tree nuts.
  9. The Spice Mill Chef’s Choice Ground Cumin and Cajun Seasoning (manufactured by the Spice Mill)

Even more cumin-related recalls occurred in January.  For more details on these and other food recalls, go to http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/

Food allergies can be life-threatening. In fact, approximately 1,500 Americans die each year because of allergic reactions to food. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious allergic reaction to an undeclared allergen or contaminated food, we can help. Contact one of our award-winning attorneys today for a free, no-obligation consulation. Call us anytime at 866-812-8787

For more information on this subject, click on the links below:

Food Allergies

Food Label Requirements

Food Allergy Claims Against Restaurants

Food Allergies and Schools, Daycares and Preschools

Food Allergy Symptoms

Yet Another Reason To Hire a Lawyer Quickly After Your Injury Accident

Bruce Jenner of Olympic gold, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and gender transition fame was recently involved in a multi-car accident that left one woman dead. Because the accident resulted in a fatality, investigators are expected to review the cellphone records of all involved to see if distracted driving played any role in the accident.

Unfortunately, law enforcement simply does not have the necessary resources to do the same in every accident especially if a fatality was not involved. But if you hire a lawyer early and distracted driving is suspected, those records can be secured before they are lost. While the actual text message is generally stored for only days, the dates and times of texts are preserved, so it is possible to tell if someone was texting -- just not necessarily what they were saying.   However, most cell phone providers will not provide this information without a subpoena, and subpoenas are only issued in pending lawsuits. 

If you contact one of our award-winning lawyers quickly after your injury accident, we can help you secure critical evidence for your case. Call us toll-free anytime at 866-812-8787 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We only get paid if we recover money for you.

For more information on this issue, click on the links below:

Distracted Driving

What To Do Following An Accident

How To Select A Personal Injury Attorney

Spoliation of Evidence in Trucking Cases

After I Hire You As My Lawyer, What Happens Next?

Peanut Plant Faked Lab Results? That's Just Nuts - and Criminal (If True)

The 2008-2009 salmonella outbreak prompted one of the biggest food recalls in this country’s history. 714 people were sickened and 9 people died as a result of tainted food. This month, federal prosecutors are seeking criminal penalties against the corporate management of a peanut company that faked lab results and failed to recall products they knew were contaminated with salmonella.

Peanut Corp. of America supplied peanut paste to companies like Kellogg’s to be used in peanut butter crackers etc., but often had trouble meeting demand. So rather than wait two days for salmonella and other contaminant testing, the company would ship the peanut paste on the same day it was made and use old lab results to attach to the product. Just as bad if not worse, the company failed to recall their product if testing revealed it was tainted. 

As evidenced by this case, the effects of food poisoning can go way beyond diarrhea and general malaise. It can cause serious injuries and even death. Individuals and corporations who recklessly expose the consuming public to such injuries should be held accountable for compensatory damages and punitive damages. And, when appropriate, they should face criminal penalties. 

New Tool in Tennessee for Reducing Car Crashes and Drunk Driving

For the last six months, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has been testing a new software system conveniently called CRASH – Crash Reduction Analyzing Statistical History. The software system is designed to help police predict the spots where crashes are likely to occur. While this is still a pilot program, the system has been accurate 75% of the time. The THP is also using software to predict where intoxicated drivers are most likely to be and at what time of day. Essentially, the software analyzes prior data and will predict where the greatest traffic risks are likely to occur given the day and time. Law enforcement can then direct its resources accordingly. The system cost $243,000 but was funded via a grant.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and would like to discuss your case with one of our award-winning lawyers, please call us anytime at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We handle all car accident cases on a contingency basis so you never have to pay any money out of pocket to protect your rights.

USDA Hopes to Reduce Foodborne Illnesses in Poultry Plants with New Inspection Rules

For more than 50 years, inspections at poultry plants have been largely the same. That fact does not seem terribly remarkable until you think about the technological advancements we have seen in 50 years – from MRIs to DNA fingerprinting to electric cars. When presented in that light, you have to wonder why it took so long to implement changes that could improve food safety. 

At any rate, the changes are here and are estimated to prevent as many as 5,000 foodborne illnesses a year. Here are the basics of the new rules:

·       Poultry producers are required to perform microbiological testing at two points in their production process to prevent salmonella and campylobacter contamination. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, salmonella and campylobacter are two of the most common causes of foodborne illnesses. Salmonella alone causes 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths in the United States each year.

·       The maximum line speed for poultry plants will remain capped at 140 birds per minutes. Some had advocated for line speeds of up to 200 birds per minutes and the initial proposal had been for a line speed of 175. The lower line speed still requires an inspector to inspect 2.33 birds every second. Not surprisingly, many think such a speed still puts the public at risk.

·       In an effort to maximize federal inspectors time in the plant, plant employees will be allowed to conduct some preliminary sorting duties. Some fear this will eventually mean a reduction in federal inspectors. 

Only time will tell if the new rules are a victory for the poultry-consuming public so we will continue to watch this issue. To learn more about food poisoning, click here. If you would like to discuss a potential case, call us for a free, no-obligation consultation at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787. We handle all food poisoning cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.

Visibility and Motorcycles

 The most common type of motorcycle accident is a car turning left in front of the motorcycle.   Generally, this type of accident happens because the driver of the car is simply not looking carefully and fails to see the motorcycle.   The more visible a motorcycle is the better.

Loud pipes save lives.  While some motorcyclists prefer loud pipes because of the increased “visibility” they believe they provide, there is certainly no legal requirement that a motorcycle be heard before it is seen.  And some even believe that “loud pipes save lives” is a misconception.  In Tennessee, by statute, your motorcycle must have a muffler.  The law also prohibits the use of muffler cutouts.  But unlike a number of states, Tennessee does not have a maximum decibel level for muffler noise.  Regardless of the loudness of your muffler, other motorists have a responsibility to be on the lookout for motorcycles and give them equal access to the road.  And, if you travel to another state, those loud pipes just might garner you a ticket for a noise regulation violation.

Continuing on with the issue of visibility, Tennessee law requires motorcycles to operate with headlights even in the daytime.  And so that you can see other vehicles, your motorcycle must be equipped with a rearview mirror.   Other things a motorcyclist might do to try an increase their visibility to other motorists are:

·      Install a loud horn

·      Wear a bright colored helmet

·      Wear bright colored clothing

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident and would like to discuss your case with one of our award-winning lawyers, please call us anytime at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 for a free, no-obligation consultation.  We handle all motorcycle accidents 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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