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Pedestrian deaths have sharply increased over the past decade – in fact, the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates a 35% increase from 2008-2018. In 2009, the U.S. saw 4,109 pedestrian fatalities, and that number jumped to 6,000 in 2017. These facts surprise many, given the increase in technology and safety features within motor vehicles. Many new model cars come equipped with the latest in safety technology like automatic emergency braking (AEB), object detection sensors, blind spot warnings, and adaptive lighting.  A new AAA study shows this new technology still has a ways to go.

While the new technology does help reduce overall accidents, the question is whether they are as effective when it comes to avoiding crashes with pedestrians. For example, a car that has AEB with pedestrian detection should spot a pedestrian, issue an alarm to the driver, then brake or slow down if the driver does not react quickly enough. AAA recently conducted testing with four 2019 model cars – Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Tesla Model 3 – and crash dummies mimicking humans. AAA sought to test the effectiveness of the pedestrian detection systems.

The testing revealed some interesting findings:

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totsNST was a proud sponsor of the 4th Annual Toys for Tots Trot held in Jackson, Tennessee, on September 21, 2019. The Toys for Tots Trot is an annual 5k run hosted by the Captain Jack Holland Detachment #735 of the Marine Corps League. The race began at the Carl Perkins Civic Center, and the lawyers and paralegals of our Jackson office had a great time participating in the festivities. 100% of the proceeds from the run will go to providing toys for children this coming holiday season through the Toys for Tots program.

The U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program has a special mission: “to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.” This non-profit organization seeks to develop the children of our community and unite members of our community. In 2018, the Mid-South Toys for Tots chapter donated 33,322 toys to the benefit of 11,679 children, ranging from newborns to 12-year-olds! NST Law salutes Toys for Tots and the local Marine Corp for their dedication to making the holiday season extra meaningful for so many children in West Tennessee. We also appreciate the kindness of all who donated toys and showed their support at the Toys for Tots Trot.

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race-judicataThis year, NST Law again sponsored the 36th Annual Race Judicata 5K which occurred on September 21, 2019. The course started at the University of Memphis Law School, winded through downtown Memphis, and finished up back at the law school. The race also featured pre-race and post-race festivities, including live music at the Memphis Park and the Promenade.

Each year, Race Judicata is held to support the Memphis Area Legal Services, the Community Legal Center, and the Memphis Bar Association’s Access to Justice Program.  The proceeds also help support free community resources such as the Second Saturday Free Legal Clinic, the Veteran’s Clinic, Courthouse of the Day Clinic, and non-conviction expungement clinics. Each year, thousands of low income and elderly citizens of West Tennessee utilize these services for various legal needs, and our firm is proud to help support them.

Thank you to all of the runners who participated as well as the other local sponsors for making this year’s Race Judicata a great success!

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The Bar-Kays are a Memphis institution. In the early 1960s, six students from Booker T. Washington High School formed a group that would eventually be known as the Bar-Kays. They were signed by the world-renowned Stax label, and became one of the most successful recording groups in the history of Memphis music and American music. Over the years, the Bar-Kays have performed their soul and funk hits alongside successful musicians such as Otis Redding, Al Jackson, Jr., Booker T. Jones, Booker T. and the M.G.’s, and Isaac Hayes.

Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz was proud to be a sponsor of Bar-Kays Reloaded – 55th Anniversary Celebration on August 23, 2019, at the Halloran Center in downtown Memphis. Our firm recognizes their hard work, dedication, passion, and all they have done to help promote the City of Memphis to audiences and listeners worldwide. We also recognize their contributions to our city and the music industry as a whole. As part of the celebration, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland issued an official Proclamation declaring August 23, 2019 to be “Bar-Kays Day” throughout the City of Memphis.

Currently led by founder James Alexander, the Bar-Kays have released nearly 29 albums (including 5 gold, 1 platinum), 40 singles, and 20 top ten singles and albums. The current Bar-Kays members include James Alexander, Chris J, Angelo Earl, Mark Bynum, Robert Day, and Archie Love. The Bar-Kays are still performing their hits before Memphis and national audiences, so be sure to check them out. Congratulations again to the Bar-Kays on 55 excellent years, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds!

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Lost wages can be an important part to getting fair compensation in a personal injury case, as medical bills and physical pain aren’t the only ways in which an auto accident can affect you. If you suffered serious injuries like broken bones or required an extended hospital stay, you will probably be taken off of work by your doctor. Even if you didn’t suffer broken bones, your condition still could render you unable to return to work for a period of time. If you miss work due to a car wreck caused by someone else, you are legally entitled to recover your lost wages.

In a car accident case, lost wages are typically recoverable in an insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s carrier or your own carrier, if you are making an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim.

Types of Lost Wages

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iStock-474752734By now, everybody knows the dangers of driving drunk or intoxicated. Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t appear to be going away. The NHTSA estimates 30 people die in drunk driving crashes each day in the United States.

Alcohol causes negative side effects in your central nervous system, making it difficult to drive safely. In most states, the legal limit is a blood alcohol concentration of .08. If your BAC reaches this level, you will have poor muscle coordination and may suffer from lapses in judgment. Perception also becomes more difficult. However, even if your BAC is below the legal limit, you can still suffer from reduced coordination and lower reaction times.

Accidents involving drunk drivers can cause lots of damage – vehicle damage and personal injuries (in fact, per the NHTSA, drunk driving wrecks cost society $44 billion per year). If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, there are certain steps you can take in order to protect your rights and properly recover for your losses.

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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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