Articles Posted in Auto Accident

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Did you know that you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in Mississippi while injured on the job, even if you are found to be at fault for speeding during an automobile accident? In a June 2016 decision (affirmed in July 2017) from the Mississippi Court of Appeals, a police officer for the City of Jackson was injured while speeding and on his way to an emergency call. His employer, the City, alleged that he was acting with a “willful intent to injure” himself, and based on this intent, that he should not be permitted to make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The case is City of Jackson v. Kearney Brown, No. 2016-WC-01164-COA.

The Mississippi Court of Appeals disagreed with the employer, stating that in the 10-0 decision mentioned above, that the police officer was entitled to benefits, regardless of his disputed fault. Workers’ compensation laws in the State of Mississippi cover injured workers who receive injuries by way of an accident arising out of the course and scope of their employment. However, workers’ compensation benefits will not be paid to an injured worker if they were injured by their willful intent. This test for willfulness is based on intent and whether the facts of the claim support a willful intent to injure oneself.

The attorneys for the employer above tried to argue that the police officer intentionally injured himself, which meant he should not be paid benefits owed to him pursuant to Mississippi law. The facts presented by the employee showed that he was injured by an accident, and therefore, he was entitled to his benefits.

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Driver fatigue is a widespread issue across the country. Research shows that drivers who are fatigued tend to exhibit many of the same side effects as drunk drivers – delayed reaction times, impaired judgment, and lapses in concentration, just to name a few. What has recently come to light is a troubling trend – Uber drivers working dangerously long shifts. According to USA Today, an Uber driver in Utah drove for 20 consecutive hours on at least one occasion last year to take advantage of a sudden spike in the hourly rate he could earn. Situations like this are occurring across the country. Uber drivers in the Seattle area are reported to work in excess of 16 consecutive hours.

As of this time, Uber does not cap the number of consecutive hours that its drivers can work. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits passenger-carrying vehicles to 10 hours of driving following 8 consecutive hours off duty, Uber vehicles do not fall under the definition of passenger-carrying vehicles. Thus, drivers would not be subject to federal hours-of-service guidelines. Lyft, on the other hand, has been reported to shut down its app after a driver has been logged on for 14 hours and will not let that user log back on until 6 hours after that.

According to Uber, only 7% of drivers work in excess of 50 hours per week. Further, Uber claims that it recognizes the dangers of drowsy driving, investigates instances of driver misconduct, and takes appropriate action when necessary.

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ThinkstockPhotos-525489094-MediumThe time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is often referred to as the “100 deadliest days of summer” around the Knoxville area. When the school year ends, more teenagers are out on the road during summer, either enjoying their time off or driving to and from summer jobs. In fact, AAA estimates that fatal teen accidents increase by 15% during the summer months. Leading causes of those wrecks are speeding, distracted driving, and not using seatbelts.

Teen driving is not just an issue in Knox County. Nationwide, motor vehicle wrecks are the leading cause of death for teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data shows that on average, approximately 6 teens between the ages of 16-19 are killed each day as a result of a car accident.  Further, teens in that age range are nearly 3 times as likely to be involved in a fatal wreck than drivers who are 20 years old or older.

When discussing a link between teenage driving and car accidents, the CDC lists eight “danger zones.” They include the following:

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Millennials, those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, are often stereotyped as a lot of things: entitled, sensitive, idealistic. Some people even blame a number of society’s problems squarely on millennials. While many of these perceptions are generally untrue, one fact is concerning: millennial drivers display riskier and more erratic driving behavior than other demographics.

A study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) presented evidence that drivers between the ages of 19 and 24 display far more risky driving behavior than adults and senior citizens. The study found that roughly 88% of the 2,511 licensed drivers surveyed displayed at least one risky driving behavior in the last month. Risky driving behavior, as defined by the AAA, included speeding, disobeying traffic signals, and using a cell phone. Millennials acknowledged texting while driving at nearly twice the rate of other drivers, and nearly half of the individuals surveyed reported running a red light, even if they could have stopped the vehicle safely.

Not surprisingly, the study fits with findings of a 7% increase in accident fatalities from 2015 to 2016. This increase follows a tragic trend in the frequency of traffic-related fatalities, which legislators throughout the country, at the federal, state, and local levels, are keenly aware of. Many states rely on marketing campaigns to increase awareness of ways to prevent fatal car accidents. For example, entities like the Tennessee Department of Transportation and Mississippi Department of Transportation routinely publish car wreck statistics on their websites to ensure citizens are informed about motor vehicle-related dangers.

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Self-serve taprooms are on the brink of revolutionizing the bar industry by adding the same elements that make self-serve frozen yogurt places so wildly popular. For example, Pour Taproom is a chain of bars that sell a wide variety of craft beer, but with a slight twist: customers pour their own drinks. Customers can pour as much, or as little, as they like and pay by the ounce. Naturally, when Pour Taproom attempted to obtain a beer license for its newest establishment in Knoxville, it raised some red flags.

The Knoxville City Council has voiced legitimate safety concerns over the bar’s method of serving customers. The self-serve policy seems to be ripe with potential Tennessee dram shop lawsuits, which is one reason why the Knoxville City Council raised the possibility of an ordinance that would effectively ban self-serve bars. Knoxville Beer Board chair, Brenda Palmer, explained that the new ordinance would only permit service of beer from the permit holder, the permit holder’s employees, or agents of the permit holder.

Board members and concerned citizens are worried that self-serve bars’ new style of service could be dangerous. With semi-unregulated drinking and with the option to pour more beer than would traditionally be served, there is the definite possibility of an influx of serving alcohol to people who are too intoxicated.

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Did you know that on average, 88% of drivers use their cell phones at some point while driving? This statistic was released in a recent study conducted by Zendrive, a company that measures driver safety. The study analyzed 3.1 million drivers between December 2016 and February 2017. The subjects made 570 million trips covering 5.6 billion miles. The study made many findings, including that drivers used a cell phone during 88% of the 570 million trips. Further, for every one hour driven, drivers spent an average of 3.5 minutes on the phone.

The study then ranked all 50 states by the prevalence of distracted driving. Here is Zendrive’s list of the 10 states where distracted driving is most prevalent:

  1. Vermont
  2. Mississippi
  3. Louisiana
  4. Alabama
  5. Arkansas
  6. Oklahoma
  7. New Jersey
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Missouri
  10. Massachusetts

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We are taught at a young age to look both ways before crossing the street. However, despite our best efforts, pedestrian related accidents occur at shocking numbers. A statistic from 2015 found that over 5,300 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes, equating to one crash-related pedestrian death every two hours. Additionally, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash.

Recently, the city of San Francisco, California, was involved in a wrongful death lawsuit resulting from a pedestrian crash that took the life of a 38-year-old disabled woman. The victim was struck by a vehicle and killed as she crossed Market Street back in February 2016. The vehicle that struck and killed her was operated by an employee of the city of San Francisco, who was acting on behalf of the city at the time of the crash. According to the accident report, the driver made an illegal left-hand turn on to Market Street, striking the victim who was lawfully in the pedestrian crosswalk. According to reports, a settlement of $2.9 million was expected.

The victim’s death has brought about positive change from the city of San Francisco. The site of the victim’s death, and many other dangerous locations throughout the city, is receiving new signage clarifying illegal turns. Many, however, are calling for stronger measures, such as GPS tracking in government-owned vehicles, as well as frequent driver education classes for city employees.

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downtown-drive-5-1574071Simply put, guardrails are supposed to protect cars, drivers, and passengers. At the very least, they can prevent a bad situation, such as a car or truck wreck, from turning even worse. On highways and interstates, they can prevent cars from running off the road, falling down an embankment, or veering into oncoming traffic. When not functioning properly, bad things can happen. Drivers in many states have been having serious problems with guardrails recently, and at least seven people have died as a result of deadly guardrails in Tennessee, Virginia, and Missouri.

One such incident occurred near Knoxville, Tennessee, when a 17-year-old girl was killed in a car accident caused by a defective guardrail. The driver veered off the road, drove into the median, and hit the end of a guardrail. While the guardrail was supposed to help absorb the impact with the vehicle, the end actually pierced through the vehicle, hitting the driver in the head.

The type of guardrail in question is X-LITE, which is manufactured by Lindsay Transportation Solutions. There are currently 1,700 of them on Tennessee roads, interstates, and highways. TDOT conducted its own investigation into this type of guardrail and found that they did not always work when cars hit them traveling at speeds 62 mph or higher. Usually, 62 mph is the standard crash test speed for guardrail ends. TDOT also found issues with the installation instructions, which, according to TDOT, “could result in the terminal performing differently from the original tested conditions.” Right now, Tennessee is accepting bids to replace all of these guardrails. Once complete, the final cost could end up being $3.5 million or more.

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For years, the medical community has been aware of the hazardous effects that a concussion can have on an individual. Though most popularly known as studied in the context of sports, researchers are making new life changing discoveries on concussions every day. An example of this can be seen with the NFL’s Concussion Protocol. In the past, head injuries were taken very casually, and players were told to shake them off and get back in the game as quickly as possible. Now, however, football players are required to pass special concussion protocol testing before they can return to the field. So if concussions are treated with such caution in the world of sports, why isn’t the same true for everyday life?

Concussions are a category of traumatic brain injury brought on when the brain crashes into the skull, usually as the result of a blow to the head or body. This blow could come in a car accident, especially if a victim’s head is jerked around after the impact. Symptoms of a concussion may appear right away or may take weeks to manifest, and they include headaches, memory loss, dizziness, and nausea. Concussions are generally graded into three categories, with the most severe being labeled Grade 3 and the most mild as Grade 1.

A new study shows that concussions may have lasting effects on an individual’s ability to drive, even after symptoms seem to disappear. The study followed 14 young adults who were 48 hours removed from symptoms following a concussion. The participants were placed in a driving simulation where researchers monitored their driving ability. Shockingly, the participants displayed clear signs of impaired driving, despite presenting no obvious symptoms of their concussion.

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man-talking-on-the-cell-phone-1541703Distracted driving can be just as bad as reckless driving. When your attention is on your phone or another device, you are not able to pay proper attention to the road. Sen. Jim Tracy from Shelbyville, Tennessee, recognizes the obvious danger of cell phone use while driving. This is why, for the second straight year, Sen. Tracy is sponsoring a bill that would effectively ban cell phone use while operating a vehicle in Tennessee.

The proposed legislation, SB0954, would create a Class C misdemeanor for driving a motor vehicle and talking on a hand-held cell phone. The bill would also attach a penalty for minors who are found guilty of the proposed infraction. Violators can also expect to pay a fine.

The bill comes in the wake of startling evidence that shows that distracted driving crashes in Tennessee have more than doubled since 2006. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security: