April 12, 2014

Time Limitations For Serving Process On A Tennessee Defendant When You Have Been Injured In A Car Wreck: Gates v. Perry

Glasses and DocumentsEvery case brought in Tennessee has procedural steps to follow, and knowing these procedures and their timelines can be crucial to winning a case. Furthermore, failing to file important actions in a timely manner or missing important deadlines can get your law suit dismissed.

Even failing to file actions properly can get a claim dismissed. Last month, the Tennessee courts dismissed the third case in a handful of months for failing to properly follow the statute of limitations. If you or a loved one has been injured by the negligent acts of another, you are encouraged to speak with a Knoxville or Maryville car accident attorney who will be able to guide you and your case through the complicated legal process.

Gates v. Perry
In March, the Court of Appeals at Knoxville ruled on a statute of limitations dispute involving a car accident case. In Gates v. Perry, the plaintiff suffered injuries in an automobile accident and filed a complaint against the defendant. The case involved three statutory deadlines for the filing of a complaint and the service of process.

Continue reading "Time Limitations For Serving Process On A Tennessee Defendant When You Have Been Injured In A Car Wreck: Gates v. Perry" »

April 5, 2014

Knoxville Court Case Where Rear-End Accident Not Automatically The Fault Of The Rear Vehicle -- Hicks v. Prahl

rearendcrash.pngThere is a common misperception that a driver who rear-ends another car is the one at fault. This is generally true but not always, as illustrated by a recent case heard by the court of appeals at Knoxville. There are many false and common presumptions about the law. If you have been involved in an accident in Maryville or Knoxville, an experienced car accident attorney will find aspects of your case to get you the compensation you deserve.

In order to hold a defendant accountable for damages caused by an auto accident, the defendant has to be proven negligent. Negligence can be proven when a driver fails to exercise the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise under similar circumstances. The plaintiff in Hicks v. Prahl failed to prove the driver who rear-ended her negligent.

Facts of the Case

In Hicks v. Prahl, the plaintiff and defendant had been merging onto Pellissippi Parkway from Hardin Valley Road. While in the merge lane, the plaintiff stopped her car, which the defendant, following the plaintiff, recognized and stopped as well. The plaintiff began to accelerate and the defendant followed. Assuming that the plaintiff was going to merge onto Pellissippi Parkway, the defendant turned her head over her shoulder to look for traffic. When she turned back around, she was surprised to find the plaintiff's vehicle had stopped again, but the defendant failed to stop her vehicle before hitting the plaintiff's vehicle.



Continue reading "Knoxville Court Case Where Rear-End Accident Not Automatically The Fault Of The Rear Vehicle -- Hicks v. Prahl" »

March 26, 2014

Car Accident Law Suits Matter as GM Recalls 1.6 Million Dangerous Vehicles and Announces Internal Review Related to Faulty Ignition Switch

ignition.pngPersonal injury lawsuits are good for Maryville and America just in general. They can disclose hidden hazards, problems with regulations, and they promote positive change.

The recent General Motors ("GM") recall is an example of this. Certain GM vehicles have been recalled for a faulty ignition switch that has been linked to at least 12 deaths and more than 1.6 million recalled vehicles. The original lawsuit and attorney that pursued the wrongful death case helped bring awareness to the ignition problem and prompted the product recall, possibly saving a number of lives.

The car accident attorney had been approached in 2011 by the parents of Brook Melton. In 2010, Ms. Melton had been driving to her boyfriend's house when her 2005 Chevy Cobalt veered into on coming traffic, crashing into another vehicle and killing Ms. Melton. The accident had been attributed to Ms. Melton and the police officer on scene had made a determination that the vehicle lost control because Melton was speeding. The parents sought representation to help defend against a law suit by the driver of the other vehicle.

Continue reading "Car Accident Law Suits Matter as GM Recalls 1.6 Million Dangerous Vehicles and Announces Internal Review Related to Faulty Ignition Switch" »

March 19, 2014

Supreme Court of Tennessee Clarifies Adding a Known Tortfeasor After the Statute of Limitations Has Run -- Becker v. Ford Motor Company

Car AccidentIn personal injury cases involving car or motorcycle accidents, understanding legal rules like the statute of limitations, comparative fault, and relation back can be critical to winning a case. In Tennessee, a plaintiff can add a tortfeasor after the tolling of the statute of limitations if a defendant asserts another party carries some of the fault. Recently, the Supreme Court of Tennessee ruled on whether knowledge of the tortfeasor at the time of the filing of a complaint precludes the plaintiff from adding the tortfeasor.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-1-119 ("§119") provides for a situation where a plaintiff can add another tortfeasor to a personal injury case even though the statute of limitations has run. If the plaintiff brought the original complaint within the statute of limitations, and a defendant in the original complaint alleges that another tortfeasor carries some or all the fault, the plaintiff is allowed to amend the original complaint to add the tortfeasor within 90 days. If the plaintiff complies with §119, for purposes of tolling the statute of limitations, the date the tortfeasor will be considered added will relate back to the date of the original complaint.
relation back

Facts of the Case
In Becker v. Ford Motor Company, a Ford truck veered off a roadway and hit a light pole injuring the passenger in the vehicle. The passenger, Becker, brought a products liability claim against Ford motor company. Becker did not bring a personal injury claim against the driver of the truck, his son. After the tolling of the statute of limitations, Ford answered the claim, stating that Becker and the driver were at fault.

Continue reading "Supreme Court of Tennessee Clarifies Adding a Known Tortfeasor After the Statute of Limitations Has Run -- Becker v. Ford Motor Company" »

March 12, 2014

Knoxville Appellate Court Looks at Tennessee's Recreational Defense to Premises Liability -- Wilson v. Dossett

dogwoodDaylight savings has once again crept up on Knoxville and Maryville residents. Warmer weather is just around the corner, and before we know it, we will be pulling out and dusting off our summer gear.

With the increase of outdoor activities comes the potential of suffering injuries from recreational activities. These recreational activities can include boating, biking, motorcycling, or other outdoor sports. Frequently, these activities take place away from home and on the property of others.

We have been discussing, in recent posts, a number of newer premises liability cases. Owners have a duty to keep their property free of hazards that may harm another person. Premises liability cases can be fact specific, and it is critical to have an experienced personal injury attorney that understands the laws and can gather the essential facts to get you the compensation you deserve.

Continue reading "Knoxville Appellate Court Looks at Tennessee's Recreational Defense to Premises Liability -- Wilson v. Dossett" »

March 5, 2014

Slip and Fall Cases Under Tennessee's Governmental Tort Liability Act -- Traylor v. Shelby County Board of Education

slipperyIn Tennessee slip and fall cases, knowing the various laws that apply can be crucial to winning a premises liability case. Knoxville and Maryville property owners owe a duty of care to protect lawful entrants on their property from unreasonable risk of harm. However, the type of owner - businesses , private , or government - can invoke different Tennessee laws. If you have been injured by a fall on the property of another, it is important to speak with an experienced local premises liability attorney.

Previous Private Property Case
Previously, we discussed a slip and fall case, Barbaglia v. Nonconnah Holdings, where a lawful entrant slipped on a patch of ice on business property. In order to determine the element of duty, the plaintiff had to show that the property owner caused the hazard, had actual knowledge of the hazard, or had constructive knowledge of the hazard. The court held that news reports of patterns of precipitation and freezing temperatures could provide a property owner with constructive notice of dangerous conditions. However, the same case on government property will invoke others statutes.

Current Case on Government Property
Recently, the Tennessee court of appeals decided on a similar case on government property. In Traylor v. Shelby County Board of Education, news reports had warned of precipitation and freezing temperatures causing a public high school to close for two days, a Monday and Tuesday. During this period, the high school principal and staff worked to clear all walkways of ice. On Wednesday, the school resumed without incident, but on Thursday a student slipped on a patch of ice, breaking his ankle. The student filed a lawsuit against the school for failing to remove the hazardous ice patch.

Continue reading "Slip and Fall Cases Under Tennessee's Governmental Tort Liability Act -- Traylor v. Shelby County Board of Education" »

February 26, 2014

Knoxville and Maryville Drunk Driving Accident Claims and Tennessee Dram Shop Laws -- Widner v. Chattanooga Entertainment, INC.

keys and drinkDrivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cause injury or death to other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians. Even though Tennessee has enacted laws to aggressively pursue drunk driving, every year hundreds of innocent people are injured or killed due to a drunk driving accident. If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed by a drunk driver, our experienced Tennessee car accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you need for recovery.

Tennessee law typically holds the drunk drivers responsible for the harms they cause. However, an experienced attorney will look to other areas for compensation, including "dram shop" laws.

Dram Shop Laws
Dram shop laws extend liability from drunk driving accidents to the commercial establishments that sold alcohol to the individual whose intoxicated driving harmed another. The name dram shop comes from an 18th century term for taverns that sold gin in small quantities called a "dram." Tennessee's Dram Shop Act was enacted in 1986 and has two parts.

Continue reading "Knoxville and Maryville Drunk Driving Accident Claims and Tennessee Dram Shop Laws -- Widner v. Chattanooga Entertainment, INC." »

February 19, 2014

Duty of Care for Slip and Fall Injuries after Maryville's Biggest Snow Storm Since '93 -- Barbaglia v. Nonconnah Holdings, LLC.

snowshovelWe have survived the snow. According to the Maryville Daily Times, last week's snow dump was the largest in over twenty years. With snow comes an increased risk of sustaining an injury from a slip and fall.

If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, it is recommended that you speak with a local slip and fall lawyer to help you get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.

With the snow, many Maryville and Knoxville property owners and residents are thinking about the responsibility of keeping their properties free of snow and ice. We can look at Tennessee court rulings on the standard of care as it concerns property owners to shed some light.

Continue reading "Duty of Care for Slip and Fall Injuries after Maryville's Biggest Snow Storm Since '93 -- Barbaglia v. Nonconnah Holdings, LLC." »

February 12, 2014

How Will the Fed's V2V Mandate Make Driving Safer and Affect Car Accident Cases in Tennessee?

Taliking Car.pngAs car and motorcycle accident attorneys in Maryville, we see the tragic results of accidents every day. Being this close to the daily ramifications and costs of vehicle accidents, we pay close attention to any new development in the law or technology that may save lives. One of the newest technologies on the horizon is V2V warning systems. Imagine driving down the road and having your car warn you that the vehicle next to you is swerving into your lane. You slow down just in time to avoid a collision. These technologies are no longer science fiction.

Vehicle-to-vehicle ("V2V") communications moved one step closer to becoming a part of our daily lives as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released plans to discuss making V2V communications mandatory on all newly manufactured vehicles. V2V communication systems are complex traffic networks made up of vehicle and roadside devices transmitting data back and forth — an internet for cars.

V2V systems are superior to other warning systems because they do not have to compute and predict another vehicle's trajectory or speed. However, any workable V2V system requires other vehicles on the road to also have a V2V system operating on the same network protocol. The proposed mandate helps overcome this obstacle. In any case, even with a mandate, it could be decades before the V2V systems have any utility as the average turn-over rate for new cars ranges from 15 to 25 years.

Continue reading "How Will the Fed's V2V Mandate Make Driving Safer and Affect Car Accident Cases in Tennessee?" »

February 5, 2014

As Tennessee Man Survives Big Truck Accident, We Discuss Personal Injury Shaping of Vehicle Safety -- Lake v. Memphis Landsmen, LLC.

Last Thursday, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported on a story about a Tennessee man who survived being crushed between an eighteen wheeler and a concrete median.

airbagThe driver of a Toyota Camry was travelling east on I-40 near the Campbell Station Road exit when a tractor trailer suddenly started merging into his lane. The Camry driver tried to alert the big rig by honking, but the rig continued to merge pinning the Camry against a concrete median.

Rescue workers tried to free the driver from the Camry with barely two feet of space between the tractor trailer and the concrete. The man finally emerged from the mangled metal Camry. Amazingly, he did not even have a scratch.

Continue reading "As Tennessee Man Survives Big Truck Accident, We Discuss Personal Injury Shaping of Vehicle Safety -- Lake v. Memphis Landsmen, LLC." »

January 29, 2014

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, at Knoxville Does Not Allow a Remittitur of 70% or More in Motorcycle Accident Case -- Adams v. Leamon

dollar billIn a civil lawsuit for personal injury, you can collect damages from the at-fault party to compensate you for your injuries. Damages are meant to make the plaintiff whole by putting the plaintiff in a position he or she would have been in had the injury never occurred.

In making a plaintiff whole, it can be difficult to put a dollar figure on things like "pain and suffering" and "loss of enjoyment of life." Speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you fully identify and understand your injuries and the damages you can claim. Fully understanding damages can help a lawyer turn a small claim into a substantial recovery.

Reduction of Award -- Remittitur
There are several Tennessee laws and statutes that outline, define, and limit the amount of damages a plaintiff may receive. Sometimes the jury award may be deemed too much by the trial judge. Tennessee Code Annotated § 102 ("§ 102") sets the rules for trial judges lowering the amount of damages, which is called a remittitur. The remedy of remittitur is designed to cure an award of damages that is grossly excessive without the necessity of a new trial or appeal.

Continue reading "Court of Appeals of Tennessee, at Knoxville Does Not Allow a Remittitur of 70% or More in Motorcycle Accident Case -- Adams v. Leamon" »

January 22, 2014

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Creates New Rules to Go After Non-compliant Trucking and Bus Companies

TractorTrailerMost trucking and bus companies operate their business in a safe and professional manner. Despite this, every once in awhile the news reports on a tragic accident by a company that has flaunted safety laws.

When a motor carrier accident happens it involves several parties, and the state and federal laws that apply can be complicated. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor carrier accident, you are encouraged to contact an experienced Tennessee truck accident lawyer who knows how to get you the compensation you deserve.

On January 17th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA") announced new rules giving them authority to shut down motor carriers that have shown an "egregious disregard" for federal safety regulations. The FMCSA regulates the trucking industry in the United States. The new rules were created after frustration with companies and executives using "reincarnated" or "chameleon carriers" to move their assets or to establish complicated organizational structures to evade FMCSA violations.

We are intent on shutting down bus and truck companies that willfully endanger the public. [The agency will use] the rule to take stronger action against businesses and individuals that have a history of disregarding basic safety standards.

-- FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro

The new regulations were brought about after years of complaints from the U.S. Congress and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) when highly reported and extremely tragic accidents happened despite attempts by the FMCSA to remove carriers with severe safety violations from the road.

Continue reading "Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Creates New Rules to Go After Non-compliant Trucking and Bus Companies" »

January 15, 2014

Why Knoxville or Maryville Accident Victims Should Consider Speaking with an Attorney -- Al-Athari V. Gamboa and Morgan Southern, Inc.

scaleandbooksTrying a case pro se can be very difficult. Being a lawyer requires an extensive amount of knowledge regarding legal rules and courtroom procedure. Much of the knowledge can only be gained through years of experience. If you have been injured in a car accident, you are recommended to speak with an attorney with years of car accident litigation experience.

Recently, a Tennessee appellate court patiently heard an appeal brought by pro se litigants in Al-Athari V. Gamboa and Morgan Southern, Inc. One of the plaintiffs in the case, a Ms. Al-Athari, was injured in an accident with another driver, Mr. Gamboa. Gamboa was driving a tractor trailer as an employee of Morgan Southern. The Al-Atharis, husband and wife, filed a complaint against Gamboa and Morgan Southern for medical injuries incurred from the car accident. According to records, Gamboa was never served a complaint, so the case proceeded exclusively against Morgan Southern. The plaintiffs had two attorneys during the course of the case but both attorneys had withdrawn. The plaintiffs filed and were granted a motion to represent themselves as pro se litigants.

Prior to the trial, the plaintiffs missed the deadline for medical depositions in the Scheduling Order. Then Morgan Southern brought a motion in limine to exclude medical testimony or documentation concerning medical diagnosis or treatment. The plaintiffs did not appear for this motions hearing, and the lower court granted the motion.

Continue reading "Why Knoxville or Maryville Accident Victims Should Consider Speaking with an Attorney -- Al-Athari V. Gamboa and Morgan Southern, Inc." »

January 8, 2014

Tennessee Traffic Fatalities Down in 2013, Blount County Alcohol Related Accidents Down According to Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Data

TrafficDataTennesse and Blount county roads are well travelled, and not everyone drives safely or obeys the rules. With so many cars on the road, car accidents are inevitable and regularly reported in the media. If you have been injured or lost a loved one due the the negligent driving of another, you should speak with a local car accident attorney.

Tennessee Traffic Fatalities are Down
The good news is that car accident fatalities in Tennessee are down. The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security ("TDOSHS ") recently release its preliminary traffic crash data and statistics report. According to the figures, accident fatalities in Tennessee had a more than 2 percent decrease, falling from 1,015 in 2012 to 988 in 2013. This is the fourth time in 50 years that vehicular fatalities were below 1,000. The report is an annual preliminary report that is released every January outlining state and county traffic fatalities, injuries, and property damage. It even breaks down contributing factors like age, alcohol, and deer. However, it was not all good news as pedestrian fatalities have increased by 25 percent over the past year from 68 in 2012 to 85 in 2013.

In the TDOSHS press release about the data, Commissioner Bill Gibbons stated, "The decline in the number of traffic fatalities in 2013 indicates that Tennessee is moving in the right direction." Gibbons claims that state troopers who are being deployed as a direct result of the most recent data available allows for maximum impact on enforcing laws relating to DUI and seat belt enforcement. Gibbons believes there is still a lot of work left to complete, however. The press release noted that fatalities related to impaired driving decreased by 26.6% from 2010 to 2013 while state troopers increased the number of DUI arrests and seat belt citations.

Continue reading "Tennessee Traffic Fatalities Down in 2013, Blount County Alcohol Related Accidents Down According to Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Data" »

January 3, 2014

Tennessee Supreme Court Rules Business Owner May Have a Duty to Protect Patrons from Intoxicated Person on Their Property -- Cullum v. McCool

ParkingLot.jpgIn Tennessee, the legal theory of premises liability holds property owners liable for injuries that occur on their property. Property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition.

Business owners have the highest level of care and have an affirmative duty to protect their patrons on their property. If you have been injured because of the unsafe conditions of a property, you are advised to contact an experienced premises liability attorney who can get you the compensation you deserve.

On December 18, 2013, the Supreme Court of Tennessee published Cullum v. McCool, a ruling that held that a store owner may be liable for injuries to patrons caused by an intoxicated person. In Cullum, a patron tried to purchase medication from the pharmacy at a Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart employees refused to fill the prescription because she was intoxicated and acting belligerently. The Wal-Mart employees kicked her out of the store. While pulling out of her parking space, she backed into a the plaintiff while she was putting groceries in her trunk. The plaintiff began screaming loudly, but the defendant continued to back into her.

Continue reading "Tennessee Supreme Court Rules Business Owner May Have a Duty to Protect Patrons from Intoxicated Person on Their Property -- Cullum v. McCool" »