Boating season is still in full swing on Tennessee waters. As for the Days, we wait until the very last minute to pull our boat out of the water for winter so that we can eek out as much time on the water as possible. Unfortunately, this has been a very deadly year on Tennessee lakes and rivers. To date, 21 people have lost their lives. Last year at this time, the number of fatalities was 9. According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, there has been a noticeable uptick in deadly accidents involving small watercraft like canoes and paddle boards. Regardless of the type of watercraft you enjoy, here are some safety reminders to help you close out the boating year safely: Continue reading
At the Law Offices of John Day, we have two intake specialists, Penny Whitaker and Lauren Bates. When people call into the offices for a free consultation, Lauren and Penny take the basic accident information for a free review by one of our award-winning attorneys. Let me say, Penny and Lauren do a great job; they understand that when people call our office they are often confused about their rights and options, scared about what the future may bring and looking for help. And, we desperately want to help. But all too often, we can’t and that is where the disappointment comes in. This is never truer than when someone did do something wrong and injuries or death resulted. Let me explain. Continue reading
Every single day, an attorney at the Law Offices of John Day has to tell a client they are not going to receive any money for their injuries or the death of a loved one or they are going to receive a lot less than they should. Every. Single. Day. And, we hate it. Sometimes, we have to tell them this simply because they do not have a case. In other words, there was a terrible accident but no one is to blame under the law. But more often than not, we have to tell people they are not going to recover or they are going to recover substantially less than they should because there is no insurance or not enough insurance.
While you can’t make other people buy insurance, you can still protect yourself from people and companies who either do not have it or do not have enough. And, of course, you can review your own insurance to make sure you are protected in the event you make a mistake and cause an accident. Here are 5 incredibly important questions you should ask yourself, and more importantly, your insurance agent: Continue reading
Government regulations are often scorned and characterized as job killers, expensive and unnecessary. To be sure, there are some odd regulations on the books that deserve some derision (I am looking at you, T.C.A. 70-4-115, the Road Kill law). But generally, government regulations are a good thing for the public. For example, government regulations (via the EPA and FDA) have stopped the pollution of our nation’s water and air and have ensured we have access to safe and uncontaminated food and drugs. Right now, there are several government regulations in the transportation industry that are being rolled back or nixed that would offer substantial protection to the public. Here are a few: Continue reading
In any line of work, there are always a few that embarrass the rest of the profession whether you are talking about lawyers, plumbers, car salesmen, contractors, teachers, accountants, etc. Unfortunately, some of the bad apples tend to come out after injury accidents, so here is what you need to know. Continue reading
As a driving community, we recognize distracted driving is dangerous and should be illegal, yet not only do we continue to do it but we also have the nerve to think we are good at it. A recent study by Progressive Insurance Company found that a majority of drivers believe distracted driving is the number one cause of car, truck and motorcycle accidents, 1/3 of drivers are still confident in their own ability to text and drive. Want to know who thinks they are best at it? Continue reading
It is that time again. The boat and jet skis are in the water. Spring rains are bringing the lake level up to summer pool. With the warmer temperatures, the water in the lake will soon be ready for swimming. Our family will head down to Tim’s Ford Lake every chance we get. For our family and probably most others, the first ones in the water are the kids. To keep them and everyone else safe this summer from electrical shock drowning, refresh yourself on these life-saving safety tips and teach your children the ones appropriate for them: Continue reading
As the New Year approaches, many start to think about improvements they want to make in their lives for 2017. At the Law Offices of John Day, our work involves helping people who have been injured in accidents and, since most accidents are preventable, we thought we would give you some New Year’s resolutions that can help protect you and others. The best part of these resolutions is, for the most part, they are easy and painless to implement (unlike that weight resolution most of us make). Here are our recommendations:
- Check your auto insurance and make sure you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. I can’t tell you how often someone calls our office with significant injuries from a car accident who cannot recover any money because the driver who caused the accident did not have insurance and the client did not have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. We have written a number of posts about uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and you can find them here, here, here and here. But, our number one piece of advice to protect yourself would be to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage with as high of limits as you can afford. You will truly be surprised at how cheap it is and it can mean the difference between receiving compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and injuries and receiving nothing.
- Wear your seatbelt. They save lives. Period.
Government regulations get a bad rap. To be sure, if you look long enough, you can find some that will make you shake your head and wonder, but for the most part regulations do a good job of providing protection to the public. And, they can also be a big boost in accident claims and injury lawsuits.
As proof that regulations are needed to protect the public, one need only look at the tragic hot air balloon crash in Texas that killed the pilot and 15 passengers earlier this year. Many believe this accident occurred because the Federal Aviation Administration does very little to exercise oversight of hot air balloon operators. In fact, regulations on hot air balloon operators are almost non-existent despite the fact that they often carry more passengers than small commuter planes and helicopters. Unlike conventional pilots, hot air balloon operators do not have to get regular medical exams and, while the form operators must complete asks about narcotic drug charges, it specifically excludes alcohol- related driving offenses. In the deadly Texas crash, the operator was taking at least 10 different drugs for various medical problems. Some of the drugs including oxycodone would have disqualified him from flying conventional aircraft because of their effect on decision-making and reaction times. Moreover, the operator had been convicted of drunk-driving on at least four occasions. Of course, regulations do not prevent every accident, but it is probably safe to say that if the Federal Aviation Administration had implemented tighter regulations over hot air balloon pilots that this particular pilot would not have been in the sky with passengers on that fateful day.
Regulations not only provide protection to the public but they also can help your accident claim or injury lawsuit. If you are injured in an accident and you want to recover money for your injuries, you must prove that someone else was negligent, that negligence caused your injuries and the extent of your injuries and damages. Let’s focus on negligence. In simplest terms, you should think of negligence as either doing something you should not have done or not doing something you should have done. Lawyers will often refer to it as a violation of the standard of care. Part of proving the other party was negligent involves proving the standard of care, but when there is a safety regulation the standard of care has already been established by the regulation itself. So then, all you must do is prove the defendant violated the regulation. In other words, the regulation can eliminate one step of what is normally a two-step process. So regulations can play a critical role in injury litigation.
In 2015, there were 136 reportable boating incidents, 77 injuries and 13 fatalities. Falling overboard was the leading cause of fatalities with 3 deaths attributed to it. The most common cause of injury accidents was operator inattention. The most dangerous lake for injury accidents last year was Center Hill Lake.
In the personal watercraft (PWC) or jet ski category, Ft. Loudon lake was the most dangerous. There were 9 injury accidents and 3 fatal accidents. The primary causes of jet ski accidents were excessive speed and off throttle loss of steering. (For inexperienced jet ski drivers, off throttle loss of steering is a real problem because the natural inclination if you get into trouble is to let off the gas. But on a jet ski, a driver cannot steer at all without being under throttle.)
So if you are set to spend the day on the river or lake, here are some tips on how to stay safe this summer: Continue reading