Archive for November, 2010
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
We previously addressed the litigation that has been covered widely in the media about litigation involving Toyota vehicles with product defects resulting in acceleration accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries and even death. The legislation being discussed in Congress may significantly increase the safety standards that apply to auto manufacturers. Two specific changes are being proposed that would have a significant impact on Tennessee auto accident lawsuits. NST Law regularly represents those injured in Tennessee auto accidents and is carefully watching this legislation because our firm emphasizes implementation of the most current legal developments and cutting edge technology when crafting a litigation strategy.
The first change being proposed in this new legislation would require installing a system that gives an automobile braking system priority over its accelerator. This change is a response to the sudden growth of acceleration accidents that led to massive recalls and serious auto accidents involving Toyota vehicles. Ironically, the legislation could be a double-edged sword in terms of its impact on preventing catastrophic auto accidents. If automakers implement such a system, it will mean that ones car drives differently and may increase car accident risk because drivers are not prepared for how the vehicle will respond in such a situation. By contrast, the new regulations would also reduce accidents related to unexpected acceleration accidents.
The other change that is being considered is to mandate data recorders that would record valuable information that could be used to provide critical information about breaking, acceleration and speed that might be critical when the facts are in dispute regarding how the auto accident occurred. Because there will be objective data to clear up disputed testimony, Tennessee auto accident cases may settle more quickly or litigation may be avoided entirely where there is little question of liability.
The Tennessee auto accident lawyers of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz will continue to follow this legislation closely because of the significant impact it could have on Tennessee auto accident litigation. If you or your loved ones are involved in a serious Tennessee auto accident, the experienced Tennessee auto accident lawyers at NST Law will carefully investigate the circumstances and use state of the art technology to help obtain fair compensation for your or your loved one. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz is the largest plaintiffâ€™s law firm in Tennessee that helps injured people recover compensation due to someone elseâ€™s negligence.
Friday, November 26th, 2010
Automobile transportation is in some ways a double-edged sword in that it is indispensable but poses a real risk of causing serious and even catastrophic injuries. There are about 6 million car accidents per year resulting in almost 3 million people suffering injuries and over 40,000 fatalities. Given the vital role of automobiles and the prevalence of auto accidents leading to serious injuries and death, airbags are one of the most significant safety innovations in recent years. Airbags are designed to protect occupants of an automobile from the impact of a collision. Unfortunately, airbags are sometimes defective and can themselves cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities. At the Tennessee law firm of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, we understand that litigating a defective airbag case can be complex requiring expert testimony. Our firm prides itself on the use of cutting edge technology in the courtroom.
Airbags can be a vital safety device that prevents serious injury in the case of a moderate to high speed frontal collisions. It has been estimated that over a fifteen year period, airbags have saved the lives of over 5,000 people involved in auto accidents. Airbags have also resulted in serious injuries or fatalities in relatively low speed collisions. Tragically, almost 60% of the fatalities from defective airbags have involved children.
Airbag can malfunction in the event of a serious auto accident in a number of ways including deploying too aggressively, deploying at the wrong time or not deploying at all. Airbags were designed for high impact or high speed collisions and have saved many lives in such crashes. While airbags are effective at protecting car occupants in a high impact collision, airbags can become a source of serious injuries in relatively low speed collisions. Air bags inflate with incredible force and velocity that can exceed 150 miles per hour so airbags that deploy in relatively low speed accidents can create a far greater risk of injury than the auto collision itself. Defective airbags that deploy when they should not can cause serious injuries including traumatic brain injury, blindness, fractures, loss of hearing and even suffocation.
There are a number of scenarios that constitute the most common cause of airbag related auto accident injuries. One of the most common defective airbag scenarios involves overly aggressive airbags that deploy at low speeds when the airbag should not deploy at all. The shear force of the airbag deploying can cause serious injuries that do not justify the risk of deployment in low impact collisions. Sometimes variations in manufacturing and quality control result in airbags deploying when they should not have deployed.
Another common situation where people are injured by defective airbags is when the airbag do not deploy in time or at all. Because of the intense force and velocity when an airbag deploys, it is critical that an airbag be completely inflated before a person makes contact with it. If the airbag inflates into a person, the impact from the inflating airbag can pose a much greater risk of injury than the low impact collision. Other times an airbag may not deploy at all. Typically, an airbag will deploy late or not at all because sensors that trigger deployment are poorly located, insufficient in number or malfunction.
At NST Law, we understand that if you or your loved one is injured by an airbag in a car accident, you need a law firm that has the resources and experience to carefully investigate the accident and utilize experts to explain the technical aspects of a defective airbag case. We know how to use technology effectively in the courtroom to ensure that you and your loved ones receive the compensation you deserve. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz is the largest plaintiffâ€™s law firm in Tennessee that helps injured people recover compensation due to someone elseâ€™s negligence.
Friday, November 19th, 2010
Seat belt are such an important safety device in an auto accident their use has been mandatory by 49 states and the District of Columbia. A police officer can give a ticket in 31 states even if the failure to wear a seat belt is the only violation committed by a driver. In the rest of the states, a ticket may be issued for failure to wear a seat belt if the driver has committed some other traffic offense. Despite the value of seat belts as a critical piece of safety equipment, many drivers and passengers have no idea that their seat belt can create a false sense of security. Defective seat belts can malfunction resulting in catastrophic injuries or fatalities in serious automobile accidents.
At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, we have been handled hundreds of serious auto accidents throughout Tennessee including those involving seat belt malfunctions. The attorneys at NST Law know that the automobile industry has been aware that the focus on producing seat belts at the lowest cost has made them vulnerable to unlatching during serious traffic accidents. This emphasis on producing seat belts cheaply has exposed drivers and passengers throughout the State of Tennessee to catastrophic injuries and fatalities.
Despite significant advances in seat belt technology over the last two decades, the automobile injury has largely continued to rely on outdated technology that is largely unchanged. Thousands of cars and trucks traveling on the roads of Memphis, Jackson and Nashville and throughout the State of Tennessee have seat belts that can fail during a serious auto accident where drivers need the protection a seat belt offers. When a seat belt fails during an auto accident, car occupants can be ejected from the vehicle or suffer serious injuries as their body is slammed against the interior of the vehicle.
There are a number of specific seat belt defects or malfunctions that are common including the following:
False Latching: The design of many seat belt buckles can lead a user to believe the seat belt is buckled even when the buckle is not completely engaged. Sometimes the buckle will feel and sound like it is buckled properly. Because buckles have no eject feature when the tongue of the buckle is not fully engaged, the user believes the seat belt is safely fastened. In a car accident, the tongue of the occupantâ€™s belt comes out of the buckle and the occupant is unprotected.
Defective Webbing: Sometimes the seat belt webbing can tear because of manufacturing defects.
Retractor Defects: Shoulder belts are supposed to retract so that there is not slack left in the belt. Defective retractors sometimes mean that the belt does not full retract leaving slack so that oneâ€™s body is not securely belted against the seat.
Intertial Unlatching: During a side impact collision or rollover auto accident, the body of the buckle moves in the opposite direction of the release button but the inertial forces acting on the release button tend to keep the button in place effectively pushing the button toward the unlatch position.
When a seat belt fails in an auto collision, there may be a dispute about whether the person was actually wearing a seat belt. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, we have the experience to investigate a serious auto accident to establish that a seat belt failed leading to unnecessary injuries to drivers or passengers. NST Law attorneys have been nationally recognized by Super Lawyers, which rates the top 5% of lawyers in the country. Call us today for your free initial consultation.
Thursday, November 18th, 2010
Many people who are seriously injured in Tennessee motor vehicle accidents do not immediately pursue a claim for compensation for their injuries because they believe they are at fault for causing the car accident. Sometimes an injured driverâ€™s belief that one is at fault in an auto accident may be based on the conclusions in a police report or the driverâ€™s own subjective impressions regarding fault in an auto accident. Sadly, this assumption that a driver is at fault is often wrong. The issue of who is at fault in an auto accident is often a complex factual based inquiry. Even if a driver is partially at fault in causing a traffic accident, it does not mean that the injured driver is not entitled to compensation for oneâ€™s injuries. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, we have been assisting accident victims and their families in seeking recovery for their injuries for over 20 years.
Prior to 1992, Tennessee accident law prohibited recovery by an auto accident victim if the victim contributed to his own injuries. However, the Tennessee Supreme Court abandons this all or nothing scheme of contributory negligence as â€śoutmoded and unjust.â€ť The court adopted the current comparative fault system commonly referred to as the â€ś49 percent rule.â€ť The negligence of a plaintiff does not bar a plaintiffâ€™s recovery as long as the judge or jury does not find the plaintiffâ€™s degree of fault to be equal to or greater than the defendantâ€™s degree of fault. This shift in Tennessee law was designed to make sure that those who were injured by the negligence of others were not completely prevented from seeking compensation for the staggering cost of catastrophic injuries because of a relatively small proportion of fault.
The comparative fault system allows a person injured in a serious auto accident to recover damages but the amount of the recovery is reduced in proportion to the plaintiffâ€™s degree of fault. The judge or jury will assign a percentage of fault to each party, determine the total amount of the damages from the injuries, and then adjust the recovery according to the injured driverâ€™s degree of fault. For example, suppose a person is in an auto accident and the judge or jury finds that the total damages are one million dollars. If the judge or jury also determines that the plaintiff was 30% at fault for the accident, then the damages awarded to the plaintiff will be reduced to $700,000.
Tragically, many people who do not understand this principle delay in seeking legal advise after a serious motor vehicle accident despite suffering serious injuries. Sometimes these injured motorists assume that they are at fault and are therefore not entitled to compensation for their injuries. By the time some people seek legal advice, the statute of limitations or the period to bring a claim against a governmental entity has passed and the right to seek compensation may be barred.
At NST Law, we will carefully examine the circumstances of your auto accident to make our own determination about who is at fault independent of any investigation done at the scene by law enforcement. We will determine if you are entitled to legal compensation for your injuries and advise you regarding your rights. It is imperative if you are involved in a serious auto accident that you seek immediate legal advice before evidence disappears or your rights become barred by waiting too long to pursue your claim. At NST Law, we have been handling serious car accident cases throughout the State of Tennessee for over 20 years. NST Law attorneys have been nationally recognized by Super Lawyers, which rates the top 5% of lawyers in the country. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz is the largest plaintiffâ€™s law firm in Tennessee that helps injured people recover compensation due to someone elseâ€™s negligence.
Monday, November 15th, 2010
Over a recent four-year period, Tennessee averaged about 175,000 auto accidents per year resulting in approximately 9,600 people being injured per year and another 1,000 fatalities per year. The huge human toll from Tennessee auto accidents has spurred to development of many traffic safety statutes designed to protect the public. These statutes are designed to discourage dangerous and reckless behavior that can put innocent drivers on the road at risk for catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Despite the existence of many statutes designed to promoted safe driving, many drivers either intentionally or unintentionally violate these traffic safety laws. When a violation of one of these laws causes a car accident resulting in injuries, the violation of the statute itself may be the basis for a finding that the driver was negligent. The attorneys of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz have been representing those injured in car accidents throughout the State of Tennessee for over 20 years. We have handled many cases where a violation of vehicle safety laws was a basis for imposing liability for the resulting accident and injuries.
Tennessee auto accident law permits a violation of a traffic safety law to be the basis for applying the legal doctrine of â€śnegligence per se.â€ť This literally means negligence as a matter of law. The notion is that if a driver violates a law that is designed to protect public safety the violation itself creates a presumption that the driver was negligent. The driver who violated the law may rebut the presumption by providing evidence that the driver was not negligent or establishing that the violation was somehow excused. A common example would be a driver who is driving while under the influence of alcohol. DUI/DWI laws are designed to protect unsuspecting motorist from drunk drivers. If a driver is found to have violated the law making it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level above .08%, this would be sufficient to create a presumption that the driver was negligent. The driver could try to rebut that presumption by introducing evidence that their driving was flawless and that the other driverâ€™s conduct caused the accident but would face a tough task.
The most common way that the violation of a safety standard can be established in a civil lawsuit involving a serious auto accident is by reference to a police report. Any serious accident will typically result in a police investigation, which will lead to a report as well as an officerâ€™s conclusion about who is at fault in the accident. The officer may specifically reference a traffic safety violation in his report as the cause of the accident. The officer may also issue a traffic citation that can also be used to establish a violation of the traffic safety law. However, the officerâ€™s report is not necessarily the only evidence that may be used to establish a violation. Even if the officerâ€™s report does not address the issue of a violation of any particular traffic law, such a violation can still be established by introducing independent evidence including witness testimony.
Even if a driver successfully establishes that the other driver was negligent per se because of the violation of a traffic safety statute that does not necessarily mean that the defendant is liable for damages. The auto accident victim must also establish that the driver who violated the statute proximately caused the victimâ€™s injuries and that the victim actually suffered injuries. It is not the case that every law that has some relationship to driving will necessarily be considered a public safety law. A law must be one designed to protect public safety to be the basis for a finding of negligence per se. The attorneys of Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz have been representing those seriously injured in car accidents for over 20 years. Our Tennessee car accident attorneys have a thorough knowledge of how to determine if a safety statute has been violated and how to prove that violation. NST Law attorneys have been nationally recognized by Super Lawyers, which rates the top 5% of lawyers in the country. Call today for your free initial consultation.
Thursday, November 4th, 2010
There are many causes of serious auto accidents, but many would be surprised to know that defective roadways contribute to over half of all motor vehicle accidents fatalities. Dangerous roadways contribute to more auto accident fatalities than even drunk driving. Auto accidents based on defective roadways require a law firm with experience handling such cases, as the defendant will usually be a public entity with enormous resources and special rules that protect the government against such claims. If you or someone you love is involved in a serious auto accident resulting in catastrophic injuries including quadriplegia, brain damage, paralysis or even fatalities, you need a law firm with the experience to navigate the special rules and procedures that must be navigated to obtain compensation from a governmental entity for defectively designed, constructed or maintained roadways. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, we have over 20 years of experience handling complex Tennessee motor vehicle accident cases.
Many people are surprised to discover that defective streets, roads and highways contribute to more accident fatalities then drunk drivers. Defective road conditions contribute to over 5.3 billion accidents each year resulting in 22,000 fatalities almost double the number of accident fatalities in which a drunk driver was involved. These accidents can be the result of a number of defects related to the roadway including the following:
â€˘ Inadequate Design
â€˘ Faulty Construction
â€˘ Poor Maintenance
â€˘ Failure to Make Adaptive Changes
These defects can contribute to a Tennessee car accident by inducing a driver to leave oneâ€™s lane and crash or leave the roadway entirely and fall down a slope. A government entity has an obligation to design, construct, and maintain roads and highways so that they do not pose an unreasonable foreseeable risk of causing injury to motorists. Many times accident rates will be much higher on certain sections of roadway, which may be sufficient to put a public entity on notice that the road is unsafe and that corrective action is necessary. At NST Law, we carefully analyze accident records and other government reports to establish the basis for finding a roadway is unsafe and that a government entity should have knowledge of the dangers posed by the roadway.
While another driver may also be at fault in a Tennessee auto accident, a government entity has an obligation to build roadways that are reasonably safe and forgiving of predictable driver error. If the roadwayâ€™s faulty design, construction, or maintenance contributes to a motor vehicle accident, successfully pursuing litigation against the government entity may be the only way to obtain full compensation for oneâ€™s damages including medical and rehabilitative expenses, lost wages, lost future earnings, pain and suffering, and loss of quality and enjoyment of life.
There are many types of hazards and defects that can make a roadway unsafe and contribute to auto accidents and resulting injuries including:
â€˘ Failure to design or maintain the road to promote good tire traction
â€˘ Freeway ramps that are too short to permit proper merging with traffic
â€˘ Insufficient barriers on the shoulder such as guard rails
â€˘ Sharp inadequately marked curves in the road
â€˘ Obstructions or design that prevent adequate visibility
â€˘ Failure to provide median dividers
These are just a few examples of defective road conditions that can result in serious motor vehicle accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries or fatalities. A government entity has virtually limitless resources to defend a liability claim resulting from an auto accident caused by a defective roadway. If you or someone you love is involved in a serious auto accident including an accident where defective road conditions were a contributing cause, call NST Law with over 20 years of experience. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, our Tennessee car accident lawyers have been handling serious personal injury and accident cases throughout the State of Tennessee for over 20 years. NST Law attorneys have been nationally recognized by Super Lawyers, which rates the top 5% of lawyers in the country.
Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
Recent data indicates that speeding and alcohol have caused auto accidents to rise in rural areas to the point that rural areas outpace urban areas in terms of both auto accident frequency and seriousness. When the statistics are examined more closely, it is apparent that the cause of the higher auto accident rates in rural areas is a result of both the impact of speed and alcohol on rural accident rates. A study just released by the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTA) based on 2007 data indicates that of 37,248 accidents that year 56% of accidents occurred in rural areas and 57% of fatality accidents occurred in rural areas. These statistics confirm what the experienced Tennessee auto accident lawyers of NST Law have known for years that the negligence of other drivers including speeding or drinking alcohol lead to many of the auto accident fatalities throughout Tennessee.
The frequency and seriousness of auto accidents in rural areas is even more alarming when one considers that despite rural areas only accounting for 27% of the population such areas accounted for 57% of all auto accidents in 2007. The NHTA statistics also suggest that the disproportionately high rate of accidents in rural areas is on the rise. During the period of 1998-2007, the rate of auto accident fatalities grew in rural areas by 9% while the rate fell in urban areas by 8%.
Speeding and alcohol appear to be the primary cause of the disparity between the rate of auto accidents in rural and urban areas. Speeding was a significant factor in the high accident rates in rural areas constituting a major contributing factor in 33% of all accidents. The NHTA study also reflected that accidents at night where speed can be particularly problematic where 11% more likely in rural areas.
The data released also shows that alcohol is a critical factor in the anomaly of higher accident rates in areas with less population density. The NHTA report indicates that drunk driving accidents caused 12,998 fatalities in 2007. Rural areas accounted for 57% of those fatalities. That driving with a blood alcohol level above .08, which is legally impaired under Tennessee law, was 12% higher in rural areas. Rural area drivers were also much more likely to be repeat DUI offenders with a rate of 62% compared to 55% in urban areas.
The NHTA study reinforces the experience of the Tennessee personal injury lawyers at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz that negligent drivers who are speeding or using alcohol are a major cause of fatal auto accidents in rural areas. If you are involved in a Tennessee auto accident, the dedicated auto accident lawyers at NST Law are prepared to help you seek compensation for your injuries. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz is the largest plaintiffâ€™s law firm in Tennessee that helps injured people recover compensation due to someone elseâ€™s negligence.
Monday, November 1st, 2010
The news has been dominated lately by injuries caused by products imported from China that pose serious health and safety risks. Millions of Americans have been placed at risk by the decision by automakers to outsource production of tire valve stems to China. This new defect has already led to a lawsuit resulting from a fatal car accident as well as widespread recalls and could cause numerous serious Tennessee auto accidents. The defective valve stems that have been fitted on millions of cars in the U.S. have been traced to Top Seal, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based Baolong Industries. The tires are distributed by Dill Air Control in the U.S. to such major retailers as Discount Tire Stores.
Reports of toys contaminated with led paint and poison pet food have dominated the media, but these defective tires may pose the greatest risk so far by defective products imported from China. In the wake of the discovery of this new defect, one auto manufacturer has recalled the defective tire while the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) is investigating the tire defects.
It is estimated that 36 million defective tires could be fitted on cars currently traveling U.S. highways. The report by the NHSTA indicates that the defect is that the rubber compound in these tire valves may undergo cracking causing the tire to lose air quickly and result in a blow out. The defect was reportedly the result of improper mixing of the rubber compound during the production process.
Unfortunately, the NHTSA has not yet felt the need for a national alert despite a recent lawsuit resulting from a fatality auto accident caused by the defective tires in Orlando Florida. In that case, Robert Monk died when he was involved in a rollover accident after the defective tire valve on his vehicle failed. Tech International, a U.S. distributor issued a recall of nearly six million of the Chinese made stems in the wake of the Florida lawsuit.
The risk posed by these defective tire valve systems could be vast given the NHTSA estimate that almost 30 million defective valve systems have been distributed in North America. The experienced Tennessee auto accident attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz know defective tires can lead to tire blowouts which combined with highway speeds may lead to catastrophic auto accidents and result in serious injuries and fatalities. Accidents resulting from blowouts are even more concerning because the driver basically loses control of the vehicle. If you or someone in your family has been involved in a Tennessee auto accident resulting from a blowout, the lawyers at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz are ready to assist you. The lawyers of NST Law have been nationally recognized by Super Lawyers, which rates the top 5% of lawyers in the country.
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