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Knoxville Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Who is liable: the trucker or the carrier?

Say that you are traveling along one of the roads in or around Knoxville, and you are suddenly struck by a large semi-truck. You or your passengers, and given the massive size of the vehicle that struck you, there is likely significant damage to your own car. Suddenly, you are looking at medical expenses and repair costs which could easily exceed your auto insurance coverage limits. You may be left with little choice but to seek compensation. The question is who is responsible: the truck driver or the company he or she works for?

If he or she states that he or she is an independent contractor, you have your answer: liability lies solely with the driver. The same is true if the driver was off duty and was driving around looking for a bite to eat or a place to rest after having completed a route. In such a scenario, it may be difficult to argue that he or she was acting as an agent of his or her employer.

Examining the danger posed by eating and driving

Given the mount of local and national awareness that has developed over the dangers and penalties associated with drinking and driving in recent years, you likely feel pretty safe when traveling on Knoxville’s streets. Yet were aware that all around your, countless drivers are engaging in activity that can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated? Several of the clients that we here at Pryor, Priest and Harber have worked with have discovered the hard way the risk posed by those who choose to eat and drive.

You might immediately question what is the harm in eating while driving, yet it is not the effect that causes the risk, but rather the distraction. Data compiled by the Auto Alliance and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recognizes three common types of distractions that occur while driving:

  •          Visual
  •          Manual
  •          Cognitive

How bikers can avoid injuries while riding in the rain

One thing that bikers in Knoxville should not forget about before they take to the streets is the dangers of riding in the rain. The summer is when “60 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents occur," states Cars.com. Rain, construction, bad driving behaviors and other factors are all contributing factors. Wet weather conditions make the roads a more challenging terrain to drive on for all types of motorists. However, motorcyclists are more likely to crash their bikes and suffer serious injury than other types of drivers. 

Here is a brief overview on how motorcyclists can stay safe when riding on wet roads.

Car seat safety tips that could save your child’s life

A major source of injury for kids in Knoxville is car accidents. Many parents inadvertently risk their children’s safety by not taking extra precautions before they hit the roads. Vehicles are equipped with technology and mechanical devices to help protect the occupants inside in case of collisions. Experts recommend the use of car seats to protect young vehicle occupants. However, they are not enough to keep kids from becoming hurt and dying in car accidents. According to NPR.org, improper car seat and seatbelt use affect 20 percent of children in fatal motor vehicle accidents. Parents should learn how to properly restrain their children.

Here are some car seat safety tips to help reduce the risk of harm to children. 

Understanding mechanical failures in truck accidents

When people in Tennessee read about truck accidents, they usually do not think about all of the factors involved in driving a semitruck. While many people might think that negligence is usually involved in these accidents, there are times when mechanical failures play a role.

As in other industries, truck drivers are expected to adhere to certain safety standards. The Department of Transportation says that before beginning a day’s drive and after they finish, truckers must go through a checklist to catch mechanical failures before they occur. The brakes, coupling devices and tires are some of the parts checked each day; the list also includes parts such as sliding locks and the horn. While some people may think that these parts do not need to be checked twice a day, proper maintenance is crucial to maintaining the safety of the trucker and other drivers on the road.

Lowered BAC limits attempt to prevent truck accidents

Sometimes, the biggest danger on Tennessee roads can be the other drivers traveling around you. This can be especially true if those vehicles are large trucks. If you are involved in an accident with semi-trucks and other large vehicles, their increased size and weight can mean more serious injuries and fatalities. To keep this from happening, lawmakers have created stricter laws for truck drivers to follow. We at Pryor, Priest and Harber have experience representing drivers who have had collisions with large trucks and can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

 

Drugged driving on the rise nationwide

As people across Tennessee and the nation watched the story unfold of champion golfer, Tiger Woods, being arrested near his home for a DUI, a spotlight was shined on a problem that is currently plaguing our roads and highways. As the Palm Beach Post reports, more crashes that result in the death of the driver now involve drugs, both prescription and illegal, than involved alcohol. In 2015 the number of drivers who died with drugs in their system is 43 percent, and alcohol is 37 percent. In 2005, the amount of drivers who died with drugs in their system was only 27 percent.

As The Atlantic explains, a recent study found the 20 percent of drivers had used a prescription drug in the past 48 hours. The most commonly used were antidepressants, sedatives and painkillers. Illegal drug use is also up among drivers on nights and weekends. In 2007 only 12.4 percent of drivers were found to be driving with illegal drugs in their systems, but by 2013 that number was up to 15.1 percent. Marijuana use is the most common, in 2007 8.6 percent of drivers tested positive for THC and in 2013 that number had jumped 48 percent, all the way up to 12.6 percent of night-time and weekend drivers testing positive.

More accident claims filed after pot legalized in three states

While Tennessee has not joined the ranks of the states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, that does not mean that plenty of Tennessee residents may not be headed to those states as part of their summer vacations. At the same time, it is a reality that illegal use of marijuana may well happen in Tennessee and that illegal use may include people driving after consuming the drug. In either of these situations, innocent people may be at risk of being involved in an accident caused by a drugged driver.

An agency that performs insurance research, the Highway Loss Data Institute, conducted a study taking a look at accident insurance claims in multiple states, including three states where pot had been legalized for at least part of the time during the study. What the institute found in its analysis that Washington, Oregon and Colorado all saw jumps by more than two-and-a-half percent in the number of insurance claims filed for motor vehicle accidents after marijuana was legalized versus before.

Are you too sleepy to drive?

When you think about car accidents, you may feel the only dangers you should worry about are drunk, distracted and aggressive drivers. But did you know you could be a danger to yourself and other motorists if you are feeling fatigued behind the wheel? According to CBSNews.com, “sleepy motorists are just as dangerous as intoxicated/drunk drivers.” Drowsy driving is a very common occurrence that increases the number of driving errors motorists make and motor vehicle wrecks on the roads. 

It is important for you to know what signs to watch for so you can protect yourself and everyone else. 

Childhood Car Accident Fatalities: Improper Use of Restraints

When car accidents happen in Knoxville, many people do not realize how much of a risk they pose to children. Kids under the age of 15 are more likely to die from unintentional injuries they sustain from car accidents, states NYTimes.com. There are many factors that contribute to their deaths during motor vehicle wrecks. But the most primary reason children are at risk of dying in car accidents is the improper use of seat belts. 

Here is a brief overview on fatal car accidents involving children. 

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