Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

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Wrong-way accidents are just as the name implies: an accident caused by another driver going the wrong way on a street, highway or interstate. Wrong-way accidents are not terribly common but when they occur they typically involve a fatality because the impacts are usually head-on and severe.  In fact, more than 350 people are killed each year in wrong-way accidents.

By and large, wrong-way accidents involve a driver who is impaired by alcohol.  So then, it will probably not surprise you to know that you are more likely to be the victim in a wrong-way accident at night and on weekends.  You are also more likely to be involved in a wrong-way accident if you are driving in the lane closest to the median. Why?  Because the wrong-way driver will typically move to the far right lane thinking it is the slow lane.  Since they have been drinking, they choose this lane so they do not get pulled over for speeding. Finally, older drivers are over-represented in wrong-way accidents.  Aside from cracking down on drunk driving, what can be done to prevent wrong-way accidents?  Continue reading


It depends upon the type of claim you have. If you have been injured in a car wreck, you may have multiple claims. Of course, you have a claim against the other driver who caused the accident. But, you may also have a claim against your own insurance carrier if the other driver was not insured or not adequately insured to compensate you for all your damages. If the other driver had been drinking before the accident, you may have a liquor liability claim if the other driver was overserved at a restaurant or bar. If your vehicle failed to perform as designed in the accident, such as the airbags failed to deploy, you may have a product liability claim against the automaker. If the accident happened in a construction zone that was improperly marked, you may have a claim against the construction company.  Other claims might also be possible.

In most of these cases, the fact that you were not wearing your seatbelt, or that you were cited for failing to wear your seatbelt, is NOT admissible based on a Tennessee statute, T.C.A. 55-9-604. In other words, the other side will not be able to bring it up in your case. Below is a handy-dandy list on whether the seatbelt issue could hurt you in your type of case: Continue reading

Here is the scenario: You are lawfully passing through an intersection when you are struck by another vehicle that ran the red light. Police respond to the scene and investigate the accident. After talking to witnesses, the police issue the other driver a citation for running the red light. Because you were injured in the wreck, you hire a lawyer (hopefully us) to file a lawsuit for your damages.  As part of that litigation, you want to know if the citation is admissible to help prove your case.

So what is the answer? It depends. Sorry, we know folks hate those kind of answers but here is why we say that. A traffic citation is sort of like being arrested – it is not proof of anything unless there is a finding of guilt. So if the other driver’s traffic citation is tried and he either pleads guilty or is found guilty of running the red light, then the finding or conviction may be used in the civil case.  But what if there is not a guilty plea or guilty finding?

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SB 0907/HB 0992 seeks to establish requirements for transportation network companies (TNC).  The bill defines a TNC as a business that operates suing a digital network to connect drivers and customers/passengers for prearranged rides.  Taxi services, shuttle services, limousine services and other private passenger services are not subject to the bill.

The bill has several positive features for Tennessee consumers.  Below is a summary of some of the key provisions:

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April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. While texting and driving gets a lot of attention (and for good reason), there are many forms of distracted driving, just as many laws that relate to it and, the good news, plenty of strategies for preventing it.  Let’s review, shall we?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorize distracted driving into three forms: visual (taking your eyes off the road), cognitive (letting your mind wander from the task of driving) and manual (taking your hands off the steering wheel).  Some of the more common forms of distracted driving are texting while driving, eating while driving, using a navigation system, putting on make-up and daydreaming.

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Fourteen states now have a speed limit between 75 and 85 mph, and these higher speed limits present several problems when it comes to tractor-trailers and other big trucks.   Of course, the faster you are going, the quicker your reaction time must be. In addition, higher speeds and the increased weight of trucks mean they need a greater stopping distance. But, while those problems may seem fairly obvious, there is also a hidden danger associated with higher speed limits.

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Deep down, whether we like to admit it or not, we all want to be told what we want to hear:  

 Yes, we can get you a million dollars for your injuries.  Don’t worry, the litigation process is quick and easy.  No, the other side will never try to blame you.  Of course, those pants make you look skinny.

And believe me, when I tell you, we would love to dispense such easy, breezy news to every one of our clients. But, we can’t.  Sometimes, there is not enough insurance to fully compensate our clients for their losses.  Sometimes, the other side wants to make life difficult, drag things out and blame the victim.  Other times, the venue for the case is not ideal or is in a court that is not particularly efficient.

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Yesterday, we started the discussion for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month with some of the crazier forms of distracted driving (using the bathroom, taking selfies,  curling eyelashes, putting in contacts, etc.) But today, the focus is on the most fatal form of distracted driving.  I think the answer will surprise you.  Most people, including me, would likely guess that texting is the most fatal form of distracted driving. And while texting and driving is indeed very common and very dangerous, it does not hold the top spot.

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To kick off National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we thought we would review some of the crazy stuff people are doing behind the wheel. In a recent survey, drivers from across the country admitted to an array of distracted driving behaviors including:

Combing/brushing hair

Romantic encounters/PDA

Taking selfies

Flossing/brushing teeth

Changing clothes

Using the bathroom (Yes, you read that correctly and, no, it is not an April Fool’s joke)

Putting on make-up including curling eyelashes

Changing drivers (as seen perhaps for the first time in Smokey and the Bandit)


Putting in contact lenses

Using eye drops

Playing musical instruments

Scratching off lottery tickets

So as you can see, texting and driving is not the only problem. And the above list is far from complete, as I have seen drivers reading the newspaper, rifling through their glove compartments, playing with their dogs, etc.  And while some of these antics might make us snicker, it really is not a laughing matter. Distracted driving injures and kills thousands of people each year. In 2012, 420,000 people were injured in car crashes attributed to distracted driving and more than 3,000 people lost their lives because of distracted driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, and you would like to discuss your legal options with one of our award-winning lawyers, call us any time at 615-742-4880 (Nashville) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or 866-812-8787 (toll-free). We handle all accident cases on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you.

Earlier today, a 15 passenger van wrecked in Florida killing eight people on board and critically injuring five others. This crash like most other cases involving passenger vans will have a number of key issues including:

  1. Were the occupants wearing their seatbelt? It has already been reported that a 4 year old child was not in a car seat. We also know 18 people were in a 15 passenger van so at a minimum 3 of them were not wearing their seatbelt. In serious accidents, especially frontal crashes, the components of the seatbelt system will have “witness marks” on them if the occupant was wearing a seatbelt. The D-ring, the webbing of the belt and latch will also show signs of load caused by a combination of the accident forces and the occupant’s body weight. While the failure to wear a seatbelt is not admissible in the typical motor vehicle accident claim, it is admissible in a product liability claim.
  2. Were there any mechanical issues with the vehicle or its tires? One of the accident victims has reportedly indicated the driver did not notice a curve in the road and then could not stop in time. So obviously the braking system will be analyzed and likely the tires too. As explained here, churches often fail to adequately maintain their tires.
  3. What were the qualifications of the driver? Under Florida law (and Tennessee too), a commercial driver’s license or CDL is required to drive any vehicle transporting 16 people or more, including the driver. Did the driver have poor safety record such that the church was
  4. negligent in allowing him to drive its vehicle?
  5. Did the church have adequate insurance on the vehicle? Are any of the accident victims covered by underinsured motorist coverage?
  6. Was speed an issue in the crash? Accident reconstructionists can measure both the skid marks left by the vehicle’s tires as well as the crush or damage to the vehicle and accurately state the speed at the time the crash sequence began.
  7. Was the driver under the influence of alcohol or narcotics at the time of the crash? While DUI accidents are down, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued two reports that show drugged driving (both prescription and illicit medications) are on the rise.

If you would like to discuss a church van or passenger van accident, please contact us at toll-free at  866-812-8787 for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our award-winning lawyers.