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Articles Tagged with car accident

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By Jessica Shoulders

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Jessica Shoulders

If you’ve driven on a public road, odds are that you have encountered a distracted driver.  In 2017, the most recent year reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers.

The NHTSA defines distracted driving as any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.  Texting or using a cell phone is one of the leading causes of distracted driving.  According to the NHTSA, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.  This makes texting not only a common cause of distracted driving, but one of the most dangerous ones, as it takes your eyes away from the road much longer than other distractions.

Unfortunately, keeping an eye out for distracted drivers has become a necessary part of staying safe while on the roadway.  While it is impossible to avoid all distracted drivers, there are signs you can look for to make it easier to spot and avoid drivers who are distracted while behind the wheel.

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By J.A. Sowell
Attorney, English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

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J.A. Sowell

Meeting with an attorney can be an intimidating experience. We understand and we want to help prepare you for your potential meeting with an attorney following an accident, whether it is me or someone else. Keep in mind that lawyers meet with people every day who are suffering from injuries following a car wreck or truck accident, and we are accustomed to helping clients in every way that we can and making any necessary accommodations for our clients.

You may feel better about the process if you bring someone with you who is calm and can help you stay calm, too. You are welcome to bring that friend or family member with you if that is helpful to you, so long as you understand that we may be discussing personal business with you.

The initial consultation with our attorneys in accident cases is free.

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By Kyle Roby
English, Lucas, Priest and OwsleyWhen you are injured in an accident, you may sue to recover the costs of reasonable and necessary medical treatment following the incident. How do you determine what those costs are and the reasonableness of them? Is it the medical bill itself? Is it what your health insurance paid? Is the other side entitled to a credit or set-off if the cost of your medical bills are reduced by insurance payments or the hospital charges a different rate for your health insurance? These are some of the questions you may have when trying to determine what is the reasonable cost of medical treatment in a personal injury case.

In most states, Courts will follow what is known as the collateral source rule. The collateral source rule is a rule of evidence that prohibits the admission of evidence that the plaintiff or victim has received compensation form other than the damages sought against the defendant. Typical examples of a collateral source are medical bills paid by health insurance or payments made by workers compensation.

Recently, the Tennessee Supreme Court was faced with the question of what was the reasonable cost for medical services in personal injury cases. This case, Dedmon vs. Steelman, is an important win for Tennessee patients and personal injury victims. The Tennessee Supreme Court heard the case in April and issued a ruling on November 17, 2017.

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Most of the time, the plaintiff in a lawsuit arising from a motor vehicle accident is either a person who has been hurt in a crash or a family who has lost a loved one in a fatal traffic accident.

Sometimes, however, the plaintiff is an insurance company that has paid out benefits to an insured – typically for property damage or medical benefits – and is seeking repayment from the person whose negligence caused the crash.

Both individuals and insurance companies must follow procedural rules, including filing a claim within the statute of limitations and pursing resolution of the lawsuit in a timely fashion.

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By Kyle Roby, Attorney and Partner
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

close-up-of-road-300x200Would you consider an ATV – an all-terrain vehicle – a motor vehicle? Kentucky law and some insurance companies do not – and that’s what the case we recently won for a client concluded, to the client’s benefit.

The client, Thomas Robertson, was driving an ATV on a public roadway in Metcalfe County. Stacy Morgan was driving a vehicle on the same road, and as she attempted to pass Robertson, he turned left, and she collided with his ATV.

Both were injured in the accident. Robertson did not have insurance, but Morgan did. Robertson, driving the ATV, sought Basic Reparations Benefits (BRBs) from the insurance company that insured Morgan’s vehicle. Under the terms of Morgan’s insurance, Robertson was considered to be a pedestrian, and pedestrians are entitled to basic reparations benefits.

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As one might expect, a large number of motor vehicle and motorcycle accident cases focus on the issues of who was at fault and how much money it will take to fully compensate the injured person (or deceased person’s family) for the damages suffered in the collision.

Sometimes, however, the issue is not who is at fault but instead whether a particular insurance company is obligated to pay a claim arising from the accident. Such was the case in a recent declaratory judgment action that was reviewed by the Tennessee appellate court.

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Many people think of “car insurance” as something you either have or don’t have. When a claim arises, these folks can be very surprised to learn that there are a multitude of issues outside of parties simply being insured or uninsured.

This is because, at its essence, an insurance policy is a contract that has many different terms, provisions, and exclusions. So it is very important to understand exactly what is – and is not – covered under one’s policy.

As a recent case illustrates, it is also important to discuss your policy with your insurance agent regularly, especially if your household situation changes.

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Some of the first concepts that law students are taught involve identifying the potential parties to a lawsuit and the appropriate court to file their claim. For instance, in order to seek relief in a court of law, a potential plaintiff must have standing. This means that the party has a sufficient connection to the issue to support that person’s participation in the legal proceedings at issue.

It’s a simple enough idea. But what happens when a plaintiff dies before the matter is resolved? Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure 25.01 states that, unless the claim is extinguished by the plaintiff’s death, another interested party (such as the successor or representative of the plaintiff) may file a motion to be substituted as the plaintiff.

A Tennessee appellate court recently had an occasion to review a trial court’s decision regarding this issue in a motor vehicle collision case.

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By Kyle Roby, Attorney
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

Many people assume that making a claim on an uninsured motorist insurance policy is fairly straightforward. After all, the other driver either had insurance or didn’t have insurance, right?

Unfortunately, uninsured motorist cases can be just as contentious and adversarial as lawsuits that are litigated between injured parties and defendants who have insurance. Not only is the amount to which the injured party is entitled a common source of dispute, but also it is not unusual for there to be a disagreement about whether the uninsured motorist policy covered the accident in question.

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By Kyle Roby, Attorney
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

At one time, a person injured by the negligence of a governmental entity was without a remedy, due to the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Basically a carryover from the English common law under which “the King could do no wrong,” the doctrine precluded a would-be plaintiff from asserting what might otherwise have been a meritorious claim against a state or local government.

Now, however, most governmental entities have consented to be sued through various tort claims acts. Such acts set forth the procedure for filing a claim, the statute of limitations, and the maximum damages that may be sought. It is important to note that, since such actions are purely statutory in nature, an injured person must strictly comply with all procedural requirements, or else his or her suit will likely be dismissed.

Even when all requirements are met, it is ultimately up to the courts to determine whether a particular claim is valid.

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