Recently in Car Accidents Category

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" »

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 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.

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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 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." »

December 27, 2013

Maryville and Knoxville Tennessee, Celebrate Responsibly While Ringing in the New Year, Don't Drink and Drive

sphere_bldg.png2014 is only a few days away and it is time to say goodbye to 2013. Many Knoxville and Maryville residents will mark the event by watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest. However, the more social among us may want to ring in the new year with other people. There is no shortage of fun and exciting things for both families and adults do in Knoxville. Our car accident attorneys wish everyone a safe and wonderful new year.

According to an AP-Times Square New Year's Eve Poll, 54 percent of us will be celebrating at home, while 1 in 5 will be at someone else's house, and 8 percent will go to a bar or organized event.

For a small taste of things to do and see for your New Year's celebration in Knoxville:

  • Couples who wish to dress up and dine on a 1920's themed dinner prepared by local favorite, Holly Hambright, can attend the New Year's dinner at the Candoro Arts & Heritage Center.

  • Catering to the aquatically adventurous, the Volunteer Princess offers a fabulous cruise down the Tennessee River while enjoying a full bar and live music.

  • For families with children, they can celebrate at noon on the 31st at the East Tennessee Discovery Center. There will be a ball drop with confetti. Children can enjoy the play spaces including the newly unveiled Imagination Playground.

  • Want to enjoy bringing in the new year with a soulful local band, see the Dirty Guv'nahs play at the Tennsseee Theatre.

  • For the healthy, you can do a New Years 5k run on January 1.

Continue reading "Maryville and Knoxville Tennessee, Celebrate Responsibly While Ringing in the New Year, Don't Drink and Drive" »

November 27, 2013

Supreme Court of Tennessee Affirms Non-Economic Damages for Child's Car Accident Injuries -- Meals v. Ford Motor Co.


Recently, the Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated a $43.8 million award in damages to a six-year old boy who was paralyzed in a car accident. A court of appeals had previously remitted the trial court's award by 70%.

Child Paralyzed from Seatbelt
In Meals v. Ford Motor Company, the plaintiff, a 6 year-old boy, had suffered severe abdominal injuries and paralysis after a car accident. The young boy was riding in the back seat of a Ford Mercury and had been buckled, but the boy's father placed the shoulder strap behind the boy's back because it ran across the boy's face. While driving on the interstate, another driver, under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, ran head on into the Ford Mercury. Because the shoulder strap was behind the child, the child's body jackknifed over the lap belt, violently pushing the belt up into the child's abdomen causing severe abdominal injuries, a collapsed lung, loss of a portion of his small intestines, a brain injury, a cracked skull, and a dislocated spine leaving him permanently disabled from the waist down.

Trial Court Awards $43.8 Million
The child brought a suit against several parties including a products liability claim against Ford motor company, because of the faulty design of the safety belt. At trial, the jury ruled that the drunk driver was 70% at fault for the accident, the father 15% at fault for improperly belting the child, and Ford Motor company 15% at fault for the faulty design of the safety belt. The jury awarded damages in the amount of $43,800,000 of which Ford's share was $6,570,000.

Continue reading "Supreme Court of Tennessee Affirms Non-Economic Damages for Child's Car Accident Injuries -- Meals v. Ford Motor Co." »

November 13, 2013

Third Time in a Year, House at Dangerous Maryville Intersection Struck by Car


On Tuesday, a house at the intersection of North Houston Street and West Lamar Alexander Parkway was hit by a car for the third time in a year. According to the Maryville Daily Times, a Honda Odyssey minivan ran into the house after colliding with a Toyota Sienna minivan at the intersection.

The Sienna was entering the intersection after stopping at a stop sign when the Odyssey struck the Sienna. The Odyssey then ran off the road, down an embankment, and into the house. Officials have reported that the intersection is problematic, and they have had respond to several accidents at this particular intersection over the last few years. According to neighbors, the number of accidents at the corner has increased significantly since Lamar Alexandar had been expanded into a four lane parkway.

Neighbors have contacted several news outlets expressing their concern about the intersection. With the high incidence of accidents, the worry revolves around the dangers posed to local residents. The home owner states his house has been hit five times, and his porch has been damaged after each accident. Officials only have three reported accidents involving the house. Meanwhile, the home owner had just finished fixing his porch from the last accident. The home owner and neighbors want to have a traffic light placed at the intersection.

Continue reading "Third Time in a Year, House at Dangerous Maryville Intersection Struck by Car" »

October 30, 2013

Motorcyclist Killed In Tragic Maryville, Tennessee Car Accident


Motorcyclists encounter more hazards on the road than other vehicles. When driving any motor vehicle, be cautious of other vehicles on the road. Drivers have a duty of care to drive safely and avoid accidents. Unfortunately, some drivers may not be cautious and may breach this duty of care. If a driver breaches this duty and causes injury to a motorcycle driver, the motorcycle driver may have a negligence claim against the driver. If you or your motorcycle have been damaged by the negligent acts of an automobile driver, you are encouraged to speak to an attorney about a potential lawsuit. You will need an attorney who is experienced with motorcycle accident cases.

On the 20th of October, a local Maryville woman, driving a 2005 Harley Davidson, died following a motorcycle accident at the intersection of Bessemer Street and McCammon Avenue in Alcoe. This is a dangerous intersection in Alcoe because there is oncoming traffic from both directions. Knoxville News, reported that the motorcycle had been headed eastbound on Bessemer Street when the driver of a 1998 Ford F150 pick-up Truck pulled in to the intersection from McCammon Avenue. The driver of the pick-up failed to yield to oncoming traffic causing the Harley Davidson to run into the truck. Officers do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved. According to reports, the sun may have blinded the truck driver causing the driver to not see the Harley Davidson. The motorcycle driver was wearing a helmet; however, sadly, she was killed immediately.

The motorcycle fatalities from traffic accidents reached record levels in 2012. A Governors Highway Safety Association has reported that motorcyclist traffic fatalities have increased in the United States by 9 percent in 2012. From 1997 to 2011, motorcycle fatalities from vehicle accidents have more than doubled nationally from 2,116 to 4,612 while the total fatalities from all traffic accidents have dropped 23%. When a motorcycle driver is injured or killed in a traffic accident, in order to bring a negligence lawsuit, the motorcycle driver will have to show that the vehicle driver breached a standard of care. The motorcycle driver will have to prove that a reasonably prudent person would not have acted in the same way.

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October 23, 2013

Important Halloween Safety Tips For Maryville, Tennessee Revellers

maryville pumpkin.png

Fall is here, the trees are turning bright colors, and the Maple Lane Farms corn maze has opened to the public. This time of year the stores fill with decorations in anticipation of the coming holidays. Additionally, the first holiday on the list is Halloween. This annual tradition brings up childhood memories of Halloweens past as parents try to create lifelong memories of candies and costumes for their children. During Halloween, some of us will stay home to greet the trick-or-treaters, some of us will attend Halloween celebrations, and some of us will take our own children on the annual rite through Maryville's neighborhoods.

However, with all the fun and celebration, Halloween does come with some potential hazards. Zombies and vampires aren't the only scary things associated with Halloween. It's unfortunate that no matter how hard we try to keep our children safe, other people aren't as cautious. With the adult celebrations some drivers may irresponsibly test their luck by driving while intoxicated.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a child is twice as likely to be injured on Halloween than any other day of the year. And the NHTSA has concluded, for pedestrian related vehicle accidents, that Halloween is the second deadliest day of the year, only followed by New Years Eve. Car accident injuries and fatalities are physically and emotionally painful especially when they involve children and holidays.

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October 9, 2013

8 Dead In Bus Crash On I-40 In Tennessee, Several Injured Sent To Local Area Hospitals

Last Wednesday, a church bus carrying seniors back to North Carolina was tragically involved in a fatal car accident on I-40 near Knoxville. Eight people died and several others were injured.


According to an article in the Knoxville News Sentinel, the church bus was coming from a Christian festival in Gatlinburg when the front left tire blew out, causing it to cross a median and collide with a Chevy Tahoe and then a tractor-trailer. Of the eight passengers killed, six were on the bus, one in the Tahoe, and one in the tractor trailer.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville received 12 of the accident patients. The recent government shutdown affected the accident, as the The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates bus accidents, was not able to investigate the accident.

Bus accidents do not occur as frequently as other types of accidents; however, they can be more tragic and heartbreaking. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's study reported that 254 people were killed in bus accidents in 2009. All types of accidents can cause some kind of harm and grief. While there is no significant reporting of bus accidents in Tennessee, a July 2013 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study reported that 946 people were killed in car accidents in Tennessee.

Continue reading "8 Dead In Bus Crash On I-40 In Tennessee, Several Injured Sent To Local Area Hospitals" »

October 2, 2013

New Jersey Court Holds Remote Texter Liable For Distracted Driver; Will Tennessee Follow?

A New Jersey state appellate court recently held that liability in a Distracted Driver lawsuit may attach to the person sending a text message to the distracted driver. This was a case of first impression in New Jersey, and the first known ruling extending the liability of texting while driving to a "remote texter."

Smart Phone

The case arose from a 2009 accident in which a pickup truck driver, reading a text message from a friend, veered off the road and hit a couple on a motorcycle. Both of the individuals on the motorcycle lost a leg. The couple sued both the driver and the sender of the text message. After settling with the driver, the plaintiffs claimed that the sender of the text was also responsible for the accident. The trial court dismissed the claim against the remote texter stating that a remote texter does not owe a duty of care to the couple since the remote texter was not near the accident. The duty of care is one of four elements required in negligence claim for personal injury. The couple appealed the claim.

A three-judge panel from the Superior Court of New Jersey's appellate division held that a remote texter does owe a duty of care since her or she is "electronically present" in the vehicle. They compared the remote texter to a passenger who causes a driver to become distracted. The court ruled that the remote texter would have to know or have special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving in order to be liable.

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September 18, 2013

Knoxville Sheriff's Office Participates in Texting While Driving Campaign

On September 19th, the Knox County Sheriff's Office took part in the "It Can Wait" campaign during the national "Drive 4 Pledges Day." The Sheriff's Office set up and tended a "Drive 4 Pledges Day" booth on the Knoxville Market Square mall.

Texting While Driving Image

"Drive 4 Pledges Day" is a national campaign bringing awareness to the dangers of car accidents caused by texting while driving.

The event, sponsored by AT&T wireless and supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation, encourages drivers to take a pledge to never text and drive. The pledge not to text and drive can be made at The Knox County sheriff even tweeted a picture of himself signing the pledge.

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