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iStock-927091262If you’ve been injured in Tennessee due to someone else’s wrongdoing, even if it was just an accident, the law allows you to pursue recovery for your losses by filing a personal injury claim. Since we cannot go back in time, the most common measure of damages is monetary compensation designed to make you whole, as if the injury never happened in the first place. Being made whole comes in different forms. First, you can be reimbursed for direct losses and expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, future lost earnings, or future medical bills. What about losses that cannot be directly quantified? Those losses, non-economic in nature, are most commonly referred to as pain and suffering.

What Is Pain and Suffering?

In a civil trial for a personal injury claim, members of the jury are often given this definition, read by the Judge in open court: “Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is reasonable compensation for any physical pain and discomfort and for mental pain and discomfort suffered by the plaintiff, [and the present cash value for physical and mental discomfort likely to be experienced in the future.] Mental discomfort includes anguish, grief, shame, or worry.”

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iStock-837009352The Tennessee House of Representatives has passed a bill that would make it against the law to talk on hand-held devices, such as a cell phone, while driving on any road within the state. Laws like this, known as hands-free laws, have been passed in other states already. The bill that just passed in Tennessee is HB 0164, and it now goes to the Tennessee Senate for a vote.

HB 0164 seeks to add language to Tenn. Code Ann. 55-8-207. Specifically, it seeks to prevent any driver under the age of 18 from talking on a mobile phone while the car is in motion, whether it’s a hand held device or hands-free device. Drivers who are 18 or older would only be allowed to talk while driving on a hands-free device. A driver who violates this statute would be subject to a fine of $100, but if the violation led to an accident, the fine would increase to $200.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracks accident data across the United States with a goal of reducing wrecks and traffic fatalities. The NHTSA succinctly defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” They go on to list several examples, such as texting, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, fiddling with the radio, or monitoring GPS systems while driving.

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iStock-182138065-LargeBe careful walking down the street – fatalities are on the rise and recently reached their highest levels in almost 30 years. Recent trends are troubling. In 2008, there were 4,114 pedestrian fatalities in the United States, and preliminary data for 2018 suggests 6,277 deaths, according to a report recently released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).  This represents an increase of a whopping 52%! In 2008, pedestrian deaths represented 12% of all motor vehicle related deaths. In 2018, that percentage increased to 16%.

Pedestrian Fatality Trends

The last 10 years have shown pedestrian deaths can happen at all hours of the day. From 2008-2017, daytime fatalities remained mostly consistent, from 1,145 in 2008 to 1,267 during the daytime. However, a dramatic shift occurred during the night hours, from 3,059 in 2008 to 4,440 in 2017. During that 10-year period, 90% of pedestrian fatalities occurred at night. Of course, at night it is harder for drivers to see pedestrians, unless they are wearing reflective clothing or lights.

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iStock-1086630316-LargeTennessee was recently given an unfortunate distinction – the worst state for distracted driving among all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Value Penguin recently released a study analyzing deaths in each state related to cell phone use between 2015-2017, and Tennessee did not perform well when compared to other states.

Between 2015-2017, there were over 1,400 fatalities nationwide involving some form of distracted driving. Distracted driving is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” It encompasses many acts while operating a motor vehicle, including cell phone use, texting while driving, looking down at GPS, changing the radio station, eating, talking on the phone or to passengers, or engaging in any conduct that can take your eyes off the road.

Tennessee had the highest distracted driving fatality rate in the country, according to the comprehensive study. The average for all states was 1.49 fatalities per 10 billion vehicle miles. Tennessee’s rate was nearly five times as high, coming in at 7.20 fatalities per 10 billion miles. The next highest states were Delaware (3.28 fatalities), Wyoming (3.22 fatalities), Texas (3.00 fatalities), and Montana (2.91 fatalities). During the surveyed period of time, these five states were responsible for 31% of all distracted driving related fatalities, an astonishingly high number.

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Every 98 seconds, someone in America is sexually assaulted. Rape and sexual abuse is a problem that unfortunately is not going away. Sexual assault or rape is one of the worst events one can go through. The emotional trauma and scars can have lasting effects.

After someone is sexually abused, police and law enforcement should immediately be called. Of course, some victims are hesitant to report these issues due to shame, embarrassment, or fear of retaliation. While the police can investigate, and the District Attorney can file criminal charges, the criminal prosecution can do little in terms of fairly compensating the victim or providing proper financial restitution.

Can a Victim of Sexual Assault File a Civil Personal Injury Claim?

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Shelby County, Tennessee is one of the most populous counties in the state. It should come as no surprise that each year, Shelby County ranks high in terms of motor vehicle accidents, compared to other counties. In 2017, Shelby County ranked #1 in Tennessee with a total of 37,602 car wrecks. Shelby County also boats the highest 10-year average from 2007-2017, with an average of 33,852 auto accidents per year.

In the greater Memphis area, the top causes of car accidents are typically drunk driving, distracted driving, failure to yield right of way, speeding, and failure to keep in proper lane. Of all 2017 accidents in Shelby County, nearly 20% involved at least one form of distracted driving, which can include talking on a cell phone, looking down at GPS, and texting while driving.

If you are involved in a car wreck in Memphis or the Mid-South, safety should be your top priority. There are steps that can be taken to look out for your legal rights and make sure they are protected. Of course, contacting an experienced car accident attorney in Memphis can go a long way towards accomplishing that goal. However, here are steps you can take to help yourself.

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“Flu Season” often runs November through May, and for the 2018-2019 season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates between 163-168 million doses of the flu vaccine will be administered. The flu, or influenza, is a respiratory illness that is contagious. It attacks cells in the body by spreading through one’s respiratory tracts. Symptoms of the flu include aches all over the body, fatigue, muscle weakness, and fever.

Side Effects of the Flu Shot

Some of the most common side effects that you can suffer from after being vaccinated are soreness, redness, headaches, fatigue, fever, and nausea. An allergic reaction may be possible too, and signs of that include difficulty breathing, severe swelling, dizziness, fast heartbeat, and wheezing.

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ThinkstockPhotos-505686606Multiple news outlets are reporting a bus accident in Desoto County, Mississippi, earlier today that has left at least 26 people injured and 2 people deceased. The bus was traveling on Interstate 269 near the U.S. 78 exit when it was rear-ended by another vehicle. Icy conditions were present, per authorities. As a result of being rear-ended, the bus ended up flipping over.

Emergency responders arrived at the scene, as approximately 45 people were on the bus. Around 26 people were injured (including 3 in serious condition), and 2 suffered fatal injuries. Of the injured parties, at least 19 passengers were sent to Baptist Desoto and 7 more were sent to Baptist Collierville. According to a spokesperson for Baptist, the bus, operated by Alabama charter bus company Teague VIP Express was traveling from Huntsville, Alabama, and the passengers ranged in age from 40-70 years old.

Common carriers such as charter buses must follow rigorous standards put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These federal laws regulate bus company and driver conduct such as vehicle maintenance, driver training, and mandatory driver rest. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Teague VIP Express is based in Anniston, Alabama, authorized to carry passengers.

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For most people in Tennessee, whether you live in Memphis, Jackson, Knoxville, Nashville, or Chattanooga, we get up each day and go to work. Workers rely on their paychecks to take care of everyday necessities – rent, mortgage, utilities, food, childcare, bills and more. What happens if one day, you go to work like you always do, but when performing your job duties, you get hurt? All of the sudden, you start to worry about your health and how you can get better. Another concern is your paycheck, and how bills could start to pile up.

Suffering a work-related injury is stressful. Sometimes there can be animosity towards a co-worker or the employer itself, especially when the injured employee thinks his or her employer did something to cause the injury. A question commonly asked by injured Tennessee workers is this: can I sue my employer for a work injury?

The Exclusive Remedy Rule

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Bird scooters are all the buzz in Memphis these days. In June 2018, Bird and the City of Memphis reached an agreement to bring the California-based startup to the Bluff City, marking the 15th United States city for Bird. Memphians who want to use a Bird scooter can rent them from Bird’s smartphone app and pick them up and drop them back off at designated spaces, which initially will be Downtown, Midtown, Cooper-Young, Uptown and South City. Proponents of these scooters tout additional mobility options for Memphis residents and tourists. But what happens if you get into an accident while riding a Bird scooter?

Safety Is Most Important

Members of the Memphis City Council are excited about Bird and what it could mean to Memphis. City Councilman Kemp Conrad described the move as “Memphis being an innovative, nimble and busy, friendly city.” Of course, with more scooter traffic comes safety concerns, and the top priority is always to keep citizens safe. For example, one condition of Bird entering Memphis is a requirement that Bird launch a citywide marketing and targeted community outreach to educate the public as to how to safely operate and maneuver these electric scooters.

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