In a recent blog post, Seth Godin wrote: “Accountability is done to you by the industrial system, by those that want to create blame. Responsibility is done by you. It’s voluntary. You can take as much of it as you want.” Seth Godin is a marketing guru and I enjoy his blog. As it relates to the legal field and the work of the lawyers at the Law Offices of John Day, I would change this post slightly: Accountability is done to you; when you do not take responsibility. Here is why I say that. Continue reading
At The Law Offices of John Day, P.C., 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
Tennessee is one of the top five states for uninsured motorists. Roughly 20% of the vehicles on our roads are not covered by insurance. Second, 46.8% of all ride-share drivers do not have ride-share insurance. So why are these two facts so scary? Continue reading
According to a recent report in The Tennessean, Franklin police need help locating a driver who caused a deadly motorcycle accident last week on McEwen drive. According to witnesses, an unidentified Nolensville woman, age 50, changed lanes and knocked the motorcycle into a curb. The motorcyclist, who was thrown from his bike, was severely injured and later died at the scene. If you or a family member was involved in an accident with an unidentified driver who does not stop, you can still recover money for your losses if you have the right insurance and know what to do. Continue reading
Last year, 40,200 people lost their lives in car accidents. Think about that. 40,200 lives cut short. 40,200 funerals. 40,200 families mourning the loss of a loved one. For more perspective on that, the Chicago White Sox stadium holds 40,615 people, so we lost almost a stadium full of people to car accidents last year. The death toll represents a 6% increase over 2015 and a 14% increase over 2014. Experts attribute the rise in deaths to a number of factors and, of course, have offered suggestions to protect yourself. Continue reading
We wrote just a few days ago about the bus crash in Nashville involving a school bus in Chester County. That school bus wreck was bad enough, but today’s school bus accident in Chattanooga is even more tragic.
Apparently, a school bus filled with 35 children crashed into a tree. It has been reported that six children have died in the crash off Talley Road in Hamilton County and many others have been injured, some in critical condition. The students attended Woodmore Elementary School.
No information about the cause of the crash is currently publicly available, although speed is being investigated as a factor. Reportedly the school bus driver is cooperating with authorities. UPDATE: CNN reports that the bus driver, Johnthony Walker, 24, has been charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving and that the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating on Tuesday November 22. Continue reading
The Chester County school bus crash in Nashville injuring 23 students (with 20 more seeking a medical evaluation) provides a good opportunity to remind our readers of one of the most unfair provisions of Tennessee law. That’s saying a lot – there are lots of unfair parts of Tennessee personal injury and wrongful death law – but this one is a biggie.
Most people think that people and companies who harm others should be held accountable for the harm they cause. But, when a local government causes harm, its accountability is very limited. Local governments (and the state and federal government) can only be sued under certain circumstances and when they can be sued special rules apply. The special rules are set forth in the Tennessee governmental tort liability act and the relevant case law. (Claims against the State of Tennessee are addressed in a separate law.)
The Chester County school bus crash shines the light on two of the special rules. Before I discuss them please know that I know nothing of the facts of the accident. I have seen the news reports, but cannot vouch for their accuracy or completeness.
First, allow me to use an example to explain subrogation: You are hurt in an accident. You go to the emergency room, are admitted to the hospital for several weeks and then have a few months of follow-up appointments and physical therapy. After deductibles and co-pays, your health insurance company pays all of your medical bills. After you recover from the accident, you settle your injury case with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Using the money you got from your settlement, you buy your first home. Several months later, you get a letter from your medical insurance carrier demanding to be paid back for the medical bills they paid on your behalf after the accident. You no longer have the cash because you bought a home, but they are threatening to sue you.
Can they do that? What about if you are on Medicare or Tenncare? Isn’t that why you paid the premiums for your medical insurance? If they sue me, could they take my house or garnish my wages? What if I never tell them about my accident? Continue reading
According to the Administrative Office of the Courts data, for the 2013-2014 reporting year, there were 10,232 tort cases filed in the State of Tennessee. (Tort cases are claims for injury or death and include medical malpractice or healthcare liability claims.) During that same time frame, 10,322 cases were concluded in some fashion such as dismissal, settlement or trial. However, very few were concluded by way of a trial. In fact, only 416 cases or 4% of tort or healthcare liability cases were tried in the entire State of Tennessee last year. So what kind of verdicts were returned in these 416 cases? Continue reading
Almost two decades ago, Congress decided $200 million should be the most a passenger train company like Amtrak should be required to pay to injury victims. Sounds like a lot of money, but let’s look at that for just a moment.
Passenger trains can hold hundreds of people and train wrecks can cause an array of injuries from broken bones to death. Without knowing how many people would be injured or what type of injuries they sustained, Congress set a limit on how much money, as a group, they could recover. Congress set a limit without knowing how many people would be killed and what those lives lost meant to their families. For example, was the person who was killed the sole breadwinner for a family consisting of three very young children? But it gets worse. Continue reading