The 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:
- Inexperienced drivers
- Driving with teen passengers
- Driving at night
- Not using seatbelts
- Distracted driving (including texting while driving)
- Fatigued driving
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving (drunk driving and drugged driving)
A fatal car accident case is often complicated. Immediately following the collision, surviving loved ones will be grieving and making funeral arrangements. However, in order to assert a successful claim to recover damages, certain steps must be taken as soon as possible.
For example, a Knoxville car accident lawyer can assist in obtaining the accident report, investigating the accident, interviewing witnesses, and gathering the proof needed to prove liability against the at-fault driver. In Tennessee, this means establishing that the defendant breached a duty owed to the decedent to drive safely and act reasonably under the circumstances. Common examples of negligent behavior are speeding, improperly changing lanes, making an illegal turn, texting while driving, or engaging in behavior that takes his or her eyes off of the road.
Proving negligence can allow the survivors to recover damages. In a wrongful death case, they can be extensive. Common elements of damages are medical bills and lost wages. Depending on the decedent’s age, education, work history, and qualifications, future loss of income may be obtained. In Tennessee, damages may not be awarded if they are too speculative in nature. Thus, to prove future lost wages, expert testimony from a vocational economist will likely be needed.
Non-economic losses can be obtained as well. If the victim suffered between the time of impact and time of death, damages for pain and suffering may be available. Loss of consortium is another element of damages in a wrongful death claim. This area provides compensation for loss of comfort, aid, and society due to a loved one’s premature death.
If you have lost a loved one in a car wreck, call our Knoxville wrongful death lawyers today for a free consultation. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has served Tennessee auto accident victims for more than 25 years, and we are ready to take your call today. To schedule a free consultation with one of our injury attorneys, call 1-800-LAW-4004.