Articles Posted in automobile accidents

Being involved in some type of accident or injury can obviously be a traumatic and sometimes life-altering event. You may not know what your next step should be. If you have been injured, you may likely have some questions related to your injury. We are frequently asked a number of questions from our clients and potential clients. We have provided our answers to some frequently asked questions related to potential personal injury claims. If you have further questions, contact our team of Tennessee personal injury attorneys at The Higgins Firm.

How much is my case worth?
Although this question is frequently asked, it is not as easy to answer. Every case is different. There are a number of factors that can determine just how much your case may be worth. Assuming that there are not any issues with the liability of the injury, the amount that a case is worth can be determined by five different areas which may include:
• Past medical bills related to the injury • Future medical bills related to the injury • Any wages lost as a result of the injury • The loss of earning capacity as a result of the injury • Any pain and suffering as a result of the injury
However, there is not any certain calculation that can determine exactly how much you may recover. Rather, the true value can be based on the strength of your case. A strong case is typically built upon evidence that demonstrates what happened and why you should recover. The strength of your case can be analyzed by determining whether there may be discrepancies in your testimony, medical records, or any other types of evidence that may negatively affect your case.

In addition, other factors may affect how much your case is worth. One of those factors is the degree of injury that you sustained. Obviously if you have sustained a more severe injury, you are more likely to recover a larger amount due to the type of injury and the cost of recovery. However, other factors could affect the amount that you may be able to recover including whether you were at fault, your employment history, your ability to work, your life expectancy, and your lifestyle.

How long does a personal injury lawsuit last?
It can be hard to determine exactly how long your personal injury lawsuit may last. As stated above, every case is different. Because of that fact, there is not a specific timeline that can be provided. Some cases may last as little as a few months. Other cases may last several years. It often depends on the opposing party’s willingness to settle the case.

Do I need a lawyer?
There are sometimes when you may not even need a lawyer. If you have only suffered minor injuries as a result of a car accident or injury, it may not be cost effective to hire a lawyer. However, there are other times when a lawyer is definitely needed. We encourage you to consider hiring a Tennessee personal injury lawyer if any of these situations apply to you:
• You sustained serious injuries with potential long-term effects.
• The other driver was uninsured or underinsured.
• There is a dispute as to who is at fault for the injury or accident.
• You are feeling pressure from a claims adjuster to agree to a quick settlement.
• You feel that you have not been fully compensated for your past and potential future medical expenses.
• You have questions or believe that the statute of limitations may come into effect before you are able to file a claim.
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While we all have an expectation that our cars will get us safely from one place to another, sometimes our cars do not provide the protection that we expect. Recently, Toyota has been under intense scrutiny after several instances of drivers experiencing sudden unintended acceleration inside some of the company’s vehicles. The sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles has led to severe injuries and even deaths in some cases. Toyota has subsequently recalled millions of its cars and SUVs. If you have been injured as a result of vehicle’s sudden acceleration, you should speak with an experienced Tennessee Toyota accident attorney.

One of the first Toyota sudden acceleration cases to reach trial began last week in California. This particular case involved a 66-year-old woman whose car suddenly accelerated to a high rate of speed before a fatal collision. Known in the legal profession as a bellwether trial, this case is important because it will be a likely indicator as to whether Toyota should be held liable in other similar cases involving the sudden unintended acceleration of its vehicles.

Owner of a Toyota Camry, Noriko Uno was admittedly afraid of driving fast. She avoided taking the freeway whenever possible and drove the same route to work every day. When her vehicle suddenly accelerated to speeds up to 100 mph in a 30 mph zone, she tried everything that she could to slow the car down. She attempted stepping on the brake pedal and even pulling the emergency brake handle. However, she was unable to slow the car down before striking a telephone pole and a tree.

While the lawsuit on behalf of the Uno family includes products liability and negligence claims, the trial will likely focus on why Toyota did not have a breaking system to override the accelerator. Toyota has stated that the car had a “state-of-the-art” braking system and denied that any defect caused Uno’s death. Toyota has blamed other such crashes on accelerators becoming stuck, faulty floor mats trapping the gas pedal, as well as driver error. However, the attorney for the Uno family was confident that none of these factors were to blame. Witnesses claimed to have heard the engine roaring and reportedly saw the brake lights flashing indicating that she was unsuccessfully attempting to slow the speeding car down.

The attorney representing Uno’s son and husband stated, “Toyota decided to make safety an option instead of a standard on their vehicles. They decided to save a few bucks, and by doing so, it cost lives.” The Uno family is seeking general and punitive damages from the automaker.

While Toyota has settled some of the wrongful death cases outside of court, this case will be the first of approximately 80 similar cases filed in state courts across the country. Other suits have been filed in federal courts. Federal lawsuits allege that Toyota’s electronic throttle control system was defective causing the vehicles to accelerate.
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We have a duty to care for others in almost anything that we do. Whether it is going out for a walk on the sidewalk, eating dinner in a restaurant, or going out for a drive, we have an expectation that people will comply with the duty of safety and care to others. Unfortunately, there are many times when people breach their duty to others. This breach of duty can often lead to serious injuries or even death. Negligence is a legal claim that is used to describe those who have been injured by a failure to care for others in the same way that a reasonable person would have done so. If you have been injured as a result of negligence, we encourage you to contact our Tennessee injury attorneys.

A Nashville family recently lost their father as a result of the alleged negligence of two construction companies. On February 5, Gary English, age 75, was heading to meet some friends for dinner after finishing up a game of tennis. Mr. English hopped on his Honda motorcycle and drove toward Brown’s Diner, a popular dining establishment in the Hillsboro Village area. While driving along Chesterfield Avenue, close to the intersection of Blair Boulevard and Sharondale Drive, English ran his bike into a hole in the road. The unmarked hole in the road was located near a subdivision of new homes being built.

Upon driving into the hole on his bike, Mr. English lost control of his bike and hit a metal guardrail before striking the trailer hitch of a parked truck. Mr. English was then taken to the hospital with serious spine, brain, and other injuries. He died four days later.

The lawsuit alleges that there were not any warning lights, barricades, or signs indicating that there was a hole in the street. The attorney representing the English family stated, “There was nothing at all to alert Mr. English to the fact that a substantial portion of the roadway had been dug out and left unrepaired on a dark street. The plaintiffs will attempt to show that the actions of the defendants breached a duty of care to those traveling on the excavated road. The plaintiffs will attempt to show that a reasonably prudent person would not have acted in the same way.

The suit names J2K Builders and Wieland Contracting as the defendants in the case. The defendants had been involved with the construction and planning of the new neighborhood as well as the road work at the scene of the accident. The lawsuit claims that J2K Builders and Wieland Contracting acted negligently in not protecting the excavated road in a sufficient manner. The suit also claims that the defendants did not comply with local laws that govern public roads. Brought forth on behalf of Mr. English by his children, the lawsuit is seeking up to $3 million in damages.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average rate that a pedestrian is killed in an accident is one pedestrian related death every two hours. The rate a pedestrian is injured is every eight minutes. Also, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip. If you or someone you know has been involved in a pedestrian related car accident and been injured or died, then you should speak to a Tennessee pedestrian car accident and personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They will hear your case and see to it that you receive the compensation you need for what you have suffered.

In this case, comedian Russell Brand is being sued for running over a pedestrian with his car in an accident that took place in January 2012. The victim Victor Sneed is asking for $185,000 in damages in a new lawsuit filed against the actor, citing bodily injuries to his hand, arm and hip after a run-in with Brand. Snide previously sued Russell in October 2012 for $25,000 in the same accident, but appears to have upped his claim since then. In January, Brand shot back at Sneed, stating that injuries incurred from the accident were the “direct, proximate and sole result” of his own “physical bodily condition and constitutional composition,” according to court documents.

The CDC also reports that, pedestrians can help prevent injuries and even death from car accidents if they are especially careful at intersections, where drivers may fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians while turning onto another street, if they crease their visibility at night by carrying a flashlight when walking and by wearing retro-reflective clothing, and finally if whenever it is possible, pedestrians should cross the street at a designated crosswalk. It is much safer to walk on a sidewalk, but if pedestrians must walk in the street, they should walk facing traffic.
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Our Tennessee Auto Accident Lawyers have handled all sorts of cases over the past 20 years. However, the rise of cases resulting from people texting and driving is border line epidemic. We recently spoke about this problem on TN mornings:

 

 

As more evidence of the problem you can look at the government statistics below:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the percentage of drivers who use cell phones (texting or emailing) increased to 0.9% in 2010.
The percentage of drivers using a cell phone while holding it to their ears was 5% in 2010 The level of hand-held cell phone use was higher among women drivers than men drivers.
Drivers between the ages 16 to 24 are more likely to use a hand-held telephones hone.
More than three-quarters reported that they were likely to answer calls on all, most, or some trips while driving. They also said that they rarely consider traffic situations when deciding to use their cell phones.
There were 3,092 deaths in distraction-related car wrecks in 2010, but the number is probably much higher.
Most drivers said they are willing to answer a call or text while driving, but most of these same drivers said they would feel unsafe as a passenger in a car where the driver was sending or receiving text message Continue Reading

Several years has passed since we first heard about the sudden acceleration accidents occurring with Toyota cars. Since then hundreds of personal injury lawsuits have been filed. There has yet to be determined a clear answer as to was the cause of these accidents. Some experts have suggested it was the wrong sized floor mat, others say it was a problem with the electronic acceleration system and still others say it was just driver error. Regardless, it has been the position of the victim’s product recall lawyers that the car should stop when you stomp on the break no matter what caused the acceleration.

Recently a couple of these defective car cases have settled. I recently gave an interview discussing these cases which you can watch below:


 
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According to Fox 12 news, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has a million dollar lawsuit he was faced with after a December 2011 car accident that occurred while he was serving a two day suspension after a Thanksgiving stomping incident.

he terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Suh’s lawyer owed something to Saadia Van Winkle for the injuries suffered as a result of the car accident; however, the parties did disagree on the extent of the damages.

In Tennessee and all across the country, many people unfortunately get into accidents with cars that result in serious injury for the people involved. These accidents can occur for many reasons including but not limited to the involvement of drugs or alcohol, just not watching the traffic signals, or being distracted by someone else in the car. Whatever the reason for the car crash, if you or someone you know has been injured as a result of any type of auto accident, you should speak with a Tennessee auto accident and personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They will hear your case and work with you to make sure you receive the compensation you may be entitled to.
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Senseless Tennessee car accident cases that involve alcohole have seem to become common place. The anger directed at these avoidable tragedies is often reflected in the jury awards According to this case, Duane Arlen Clark struck Keara Kroelinger after she was stopped at a light and pulled out when it turned green. Clark was said to have had high levels of Xanax and prescribed methadone in his system when he ran the light in his pickup truck hitting Kroelinger’s car.

The jury took ninety minutes to decide the verdict in this case. The judgment was against Clark who is now serving a prison sentence of fifteen years after pleading guilty to manslaughter. The family of Kroelinger was awarded $13 million in punitive damages. Charles Kroelinger, the victim’s father, stated that he intends to use the money he received from the verdict to set up an education fund in Keara Kroelinger’s name because she was attending graduate school and pursing a master’s degree in psychology before the accident occurred.
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Car accidents can result in even more serious injuries when the vehicles may not have been properly tested by their manufacturers. the parents of fifteen Skylar Carpenter filed a Tennessee Auto Accident lawsuit against General Motors and her school district after Skylar was killed in a motor vehicle accident in February of 2011. According to the lawsuit, she was a passenger in a 2007 Chevrolet Suburban driven by school teacher Debra Holcombe, along with five other students, who were on their way to an FFA competition in San Antonio. Holcombe was traveling south when she lost control of the vehicle which veered off the road multiple times and skidded into the culvert before becoming airborne and flipping several times.

According to the lawsuit, Skylar Carpenter’s parents are claiming that General Motors was negligent in their design, manufacture, and assembly, marketing and testing of the 2007 Chevrolet Suburban calling it “unreasonably dangerous and defective.” The lawsuit also claims that General Motors knew the vehicle failed to provide adequate occupant protection in a rollover, failed to provide adequate restraint throughout the entire accident, and violated the principles of crash worthiness by not providing proper restraint and by not preventing ejection, and for failing to conduct adequate testing or proper engineering analysis. Also, the lawsuit claims that side airbag failed to perform as designed because it became stuck or ensnared on the curtain rod, it failed to provide ejection mitigation, failed to provide proper restraint, failed to prevent ejection and the seat belt buckle failed to provide proper restraint and unlatched which rendered other safety systems ineffective. The lawsuit states that Skylar was properly restrained but the restraint system failed to protect her as she was ejected from the vehicle.

The lawsuit against the school district claims that the accident would not have occurred had Debra Holcombe, employed by the school district, not been negligent. This lawsuit claims that unknown reasons caused Holcombe to lose control of the vehicle which resulted in Skylar’s death. Both lawsuits are seeking damages for disfigurement, physical and emotional pain, torment, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of care, maintenance, support, services, advice, counsel, loss of companionship and society, loss of consortium, medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, interest and court costs.
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In Tennessee the legislature is pushing a new agenda of tort reform to make Tennessee a more “business friendly” state. However, is this agenda putting our citizens at risk? One was to see the results of tort reform is to consider cases against the government. Since they right the laws they have benefited from its own tort reform for years. A case just came out of the court of appeals that I think is a good example of what happens when companies or the government have no fear of legal repercussions.

According to this case, Lori Gregory’s son, James Ballentine, died on May 10, 2010, after a rollover automobile crash in Tennessee on Springfield Highway, minutes from the Robertson County line. While ambulances across that line sat ready and within two to three minutes, Metro dispatched Davidson County ambulances, which took ten to fifteen minutes to arrive. Gregory filed a lawsuit against Metro arguing that it should have called nearby Ridgetop or Greenbrier for help.

According to the Tennessee Court of Appeals however, “Metro had no duty to summon or call for aid outside of its jurisdiction even if that aid was much closer.” This case could set a precedent in Tennessee because it’s the first case to deal with emergency responders’ duty to seek outside aid if it is closer. Gregory could appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court; however, she stated she probably won’t, after having spent most of her life savings on the legal battle already.
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