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Month: December 2017

Tennessee Truck Driver Fatigue

December 22, 2017

Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyers

There were 7,912,018 large trucks on the road as of 2003. Driver fatigue can make turn any one of those vehicles into a potential disaster. Yet many large companies pressured by profit margin and the stock market may put delivery times over driver safety.

When commercial drivers become fatigued from excessive daily and weekly work hours, they substantially increase the risk of crashes that result in death or serious injuries. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 750 people die and 20,000 more are injured each year due directly to fatigued commercial vehicle drivers.

Rules implemented by The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2003 allow tractor-trailer truck drivers to drive 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty. Also, tractor-trailer truck drivers may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on-duty, following 10 hours off-duty. Similar to existing rules, tractor-trailer truck drivers may not drive after being on-duty for 60 hours in a seven-consecutive-day period or 70 hours in an eight-consecutive-day period. This on-duty cycle may be restarted whenever a tractor-trailer truck driver takes at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.

Short-haul tractor-trailer truck drivers—those tractor-trailer truck drivers who routinely return to their place of dispatch after each duty tour and then are released from duty—may have an increased on-duty period of 16 hours once during any seven-consecutive-day period. The 16-hour exception takes into consideration legitimate business needs without jeopardizing safety. FMCSA estimates that without the extra two on-duty hours, the industry would be required to hire at least 48,000 new drivers, actually reducing crash-reduction benefits.

The current rule allows 10 hours of driving within a 15-hour on-duty period after eight hours of off-duty time. Also, tractor-trailer drivers may not drive after their 15th hour on duty in a workday or after 60 hours on-duty in seven consecutive days or 70 hours on-duty in eight consecutive days.

If you have been injured or a loved one has been injured or killed in a fatal Tennessee tractor-trailer truck accident, it is important to consider your legal options. Many truckers are employed by large corporations that may put delivery of their goods ahead of your safety. Don’t pay for the transportation industry’s greed.

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Auto Accidents: Insurance Claims Dos & Don’ts

December 21, 2017

Tennessee Personal Injury Attorneys
The Dos

Do call an insurance representative as soon as a covered event takes place. As soon as you get home from the car accident, or even before you go to the doctor, if able, call your agent.

Do look over and understand your coverage before talking to your insurer or your agent. Read the “Coverage” and “Exclusion” sections of you policy in particular. If you have a question about your policy, our lawyers can look over your contract for you.

Do take and keep detailed records of all conversations with your insurance company and get names, phone numbers, and job titles of people you talk to, including their supervisor’s name. It is advisable not to speak to the insurance carrier of the other party who injured you.

Do think about whether you might have insurance coverage under some other insurance policy as well. Many people have more than one policy that might cover a claim. In particular, look at homeowner policies, “umbrella” policies, and materials that came with your credit cards.

Do take photos of your personal injuries and property damage, if possible. Do be honest and forthcoming with your insurer. Even if it is embarrassing, it is better if your insurer knows all the details. Failing to be honest with your insurer might invalidate your policy or cause a denial of coverage.

Do know the difference between replacement coverage and depreciated or actual cash value. If your policy provides replacement coverage, don’t settle a personal property loss for “actual cash value.” You may be required to replace the lost items before getting your full reimbursement if you have replacement cost coverage.

Do keep all receipts of meals, lodging, and purchases made in connection with time spent pursuing your claim or recovering from your injuries from the time of the covered event until final settlement with your insurance company.

The Don’ts

Don’t give any recorded or written statements to your insurer or the insurance representative of the person who injured you until you speak with an attorney. Remember you are not required to let the insurance company record your telephone conversation. If you have questions, do call our law firm.

Don’t automatically accept the estimate or appraisal of your losses given to you by the insurer. Insurance companies will often try to get you to accept their estimator’s or contractor’s repair or replacement estimates, which might be a bit low. DON’T sign any releases or waivers of any kind until you obtain legal advice. A bad financial situation after a major loss may make it seem necessary for you accept a premature, inadequate settlement from your insurer. But you may remember destroyed items after you have signed a release as to payment for your personal property inventory or other claims. For these reasons, it is advisable to consult an attorney before signing a release or waiver. Be sure to read the fine print on any payment from the insurance company.

Don’t sign any release and do not accept any check that says “final payment”. Call our law firm as soon as possible.

Don’t ignore time limits. You only have two years before the statute expires and ignore time limits set by your policy.

Don’t forget that you have a contract with your insurer. Your insurer has a legal obligation to provide the coverage it promised to you. Be insistent about enforcing that obligation.

If you have been harmed in an auto accident, please contact today. We offer free initial consultations and work on a contingent fee basis, which means that there is never a fee unless we successfully settle your case.

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Tennessee Dog Bites: The Type of Animal May Affect Your Injury Claim

December 14, 2017

Tennessee Dog Bite Attorneys
Your legal rights depend on the type of animal that hurt you.

Dogs

Most states have passed laws that are known as “dog bite laws.” Dog bite laws impose what is known as “strict liability” on dog owners for harm caused by their dogs. Strict liability means that the dog owner is liable for injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether the owner was actually at fault.

Dog bite statutes provide a significant legal advantage to people harmed by dogs. In states that do not have such laws, an injured person has to prove that the dog owner knew (or should have known) that his/her dog was vicious and could hurt someone. Under strict liability dog bite law, however, the plaintiff only needs prove that the dog bit him/her.

However, an injured party could be barred or limited from getting his or her full damages (even under a dog bite law), if the dog owner shows that the injured person provoked the dog, or was trespassing. Generally, in states with dog bite laws, a person attacked by a dog will have an easier time proving his or her legal case than a person bitten by any other animal.

To find out whether your state has a specific dog bite statute, you should call our office for help today.

Horses and Domestic Animals

Most injuries from horses are caused by kicks, not bites, which are the most common cause of injury from dogs. Most states do not have specific laws for injuries caused by horses. As a result, injuries caused by horses commonly are treated as are injuries caused by other domestic animals, under standard rules of negligence. Thus, the owner of a horse will usually be held accountable for injuries caused by the horse if the owner knew or had reason to know of the horse’s dangerous nature. Also, like other animal cases, a horse owner may not be responsible for injuries if the owner can prove the injured person “assumed the risk,” was “contributorily negligent,” or provoked the horse.

Wild Animals

People who own or keep wild animals are subject to strict liability in the same way that dog owners are liable for dog bites under dog bite laws. The reason being, that the act of keeping an animal that, by its nature, is potentially harmful is considered inherently dangerous. Thus, even if the owner of a wild animal goes to extreme measures to keep people from his animal (such as building high fences), if the animal hurts someone, the owner of the animal can be held liable regardless of the effort he or she took to protect others.

Conclusion

The type of animal that harms you can affect your rights. To find out if your state has specific “dog bite laws” or other animal specific laws, call our office today.

If you or a loved one has been hurt by a dog bite or other animal related injury, please call our injury lawyers today. We offer free initial consultations and work on a contingent fee basis, which means that there is never a fee unless we successfully settle your case.

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