Archive for February, 2011
Thursday, February 17th, 2011
Most people have known for years that drunk drivers exact an enormous toll in the form of loss of life, permanent injuries and staggering financial costs in the form of medical expenses, rehabilitative and long-term nursing care as well as property damage. Many organizations and massive societal resources have been devoted to reducing the number of drunk drivers on the road and to reducing drunk driving fatality rates. However, a new epidemic may pose an even greater risk of causing serious Tennessee auto accidents. Distracted driving may soon usurp drunk driving as the leading cause of serious motor vehicle accidents. Car accidents caused by distracted drivers continues to become more prevalent as the number of handheld electronic devices continues to grow. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has been representing Tennessee car accident victims including those suffering serious injury or wrongful death at the hands of distracted drivers for over 20 years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified distracted driving as one the most pressing safety issues facing drivers. Drivers can be distracted by a multitude of causes including:
â€˘ Talking on cell phones
â€˘ Reading newspapers or books in print or on E-reader devices
â€˘ Using laptop, net book or tablet computers
â€˘ Adjusting iPods or other MP3 or multi-media devices
â€˘ Texting on cell phones or other mobile devices
â€˘ Playing handheld games
â€˘ Using GPS devices
While these are just a few examples common driver distractions, it is clear that advances in electronic technology have resulted in a corresponding increase in driver distractions. While many people are aware that driver distraction creates a substantial risk of causing serious Tennessee auto accidents, few people are aware that scientific research has quantified the seriousness of the danger. A study comparing the accident risks associated with distracted driving and drunk driving produced surprising results. The study evaluated the differences in reaction time when drunk drivers apply the brakes to that of distracted drivers and found the following:
â€˘ Braking Time with No Distractions or Alcohol: 0.54 seconds
â€˘ Reaction Time of Drivers Whose Blood Alcohol Level Exceeds Legal Limit: 4 additional feet
â€˘ Braking Distance of Drivers Reading a Text Message: 36 additional feet
â€˘ Braking Time When Sending a Text: 70 additional feet
Surprising scientific research results like these can help traffic safety experts develop new policies that improve Tennessee roadway safety and is important in helping Tennessee judges and juries understand the seriousness of distracted driving behaviors.
Many people feel instinctive outrage when they are faced with fatal Tennessee car accidents caused by drunk drivers and commonly award punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish particularly egregious behavior and provide a deterrent to such behavior in the future. Punitive damages may exceed all other types of damages combined. This same sense of outrage is not necessarily instinctive when a judge or jury must decide whether to award punitive damages for a Tennessee car accident caused by a distracted driver, which means that experienced Tennessee distracted driving attorneys must provide evidence like this to help juries understand that distracted driving practices are at least equally deadly and preventable.
We routinely use state of the art litigation tools, cutting edge-edge scientific research, accident reconstruction expert testimony and other sophisticated litigation tools to present the most compelling case to a judge or jury. NST Law has been representing individuals and families seriously injured or killed in Tennessee distracted driving accidents for over 20 years. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, PLC is the largest plaintiffâ€™s law firm in Tennessee that helps injured people recover compensation due to someone elseâ€™s negligence. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has offices in Memphis, Jackson and Knoxville, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Jonesboro, Arkansas. Our experienced team is comprised of 26 lawyers and a staff of over 100 that have the experience and resources necessary to help you obtain compensation for your Tennessee car accident. Call NST Law today for your free consultation with a Tennessee auto accident lawyer at 1-800-LAW-4004 (1-800-529-4004) or visit us on the web at www.nstlaw.com.
Thursday, February 17th, 2011
Recently, a Tennessee driver was tragically killed in a serious car accident, which was presumed to have been caused by the driver falling asleep at the wheel of his vehicle. With many residents throughout Tennessee forced to work longer hours and extra jobs to make ends meet, drowsy driving related auto accidents is becoming a major motor vehicle safety issue. One study reports that as many as one in six car accidents is linked to drowsy driving resulting in over 5,500 drowsy driving fatalities per year. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that in excess of 60% of drivers have driven in a fatigued state at some point in time. Many of us have had the terrifying experience of dosing off and waking up in a panic startled state and discovering that we have drifted toward an adjacent lane or the shoulder of the roadway. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, we have been handling Tennessee car accident cases involving tired and fatigued drivers for over 20 years. Many traffic safety experts believe that even these alarming statistics regarding the prevalence of drowsy driving understate the problem, and based on twenty years of experience handling serious auto accident cases, we agree with this assessment.
Drowsy driving and fatigue has long been recognized as a leading cause of fatal trucking accidents but now there is an increasing focus on discouraging drivers of passenger vehicles from driving when they are sleepy. If you are sleepy, you should avoid driving, but many people have a hard time determining if they are too tired to drive safely. There are a number of indicators that may help you determine if you are too drowsy to drive including the following:
â€˘ Difficulty keeping your eyes open or concentrating on the roadway
â€˘ Your head slumping into your chest
â€˘ Inability to keep your vehicle from drifting into the next lane
â€˘ Repeated yawns
â€˘ Inability to remember driving the last stretch of roadway
Many people take steps that are only modestly effective when they feel tired behind the wheel, which may include blasting the air conditioning or radio. Ultimately, continuing to drive when one feels the need to take such drastic measures puts the driverâ€™s life and the lives of others with whom the driver shares the road at risk. The only safe answer when one experiences the symptoms of fatigue and sleepiness is to pull over and rest or arrange to have someone pick you up and drive you home. While this may be a very inconvenient solution, inconvenience is the least of your worries if you are involved in a serious Tennessee drowsy driving auto accident.
Fortunately, new technology may help drivers recognize that they are too tired to drive. Several car manufacturers now offer lane departure warning systems. These systems are designed to provide an alarm if it determines that a driver appears to be falling asleep and veering into the adjacent lane or off the roadway. Each of these systems works differently, but one version even uses infrared sensors to gauge eyelid movement.
Another new system that has been manufactured by a Danish company and is not yet available in the U.S. works by asking drivers to complete a questionnaire which asks questions regarding a persons work hours, medications and similar factors that may cause fatigue or drowsiness to determine the driverâ€™s drowsy driving risk. The warning device stores the information and compares the time of the day, the number of hours that the driver has been driving without a break and other relevant factors. The warning system will display a light and emit a sound. If the driver is too slow to push a button to stop the warning, the device will indicate that the driver is too fatigued or drowsy to drive.
Hopefully, safety features like these that help reduce the risk posed by drowsy drivers will eventually become standard equipment in new cars and help reduce the number of Tennessee drowsy driving auto accidents. In the meantime, Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz will continue to represent clients throughout Tennessee who suffer serious injuries or wrongful death at the hands of drowsy or fatigued drivers. If you are involved in a fatigue related car accident anywhere in Tennessee, the attorneys at NST Law can help you receive the full compensation to which you may be legally entitled. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has offices in Memphis, Jackson and Knoxville, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Jonesboro, Arkansas with the experience and resources necessary to fully investigate and help successfully resolve your Tennessee drowsy driving auto accident case. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, PLC is the largest plaintiffâ€™s law firm in Tennessee that helps injured people recover compensation due to someone elseâ€™s negligence. Call us today for your free no obligation initial consultation with a Tennessee car accident attorney at 1-800-LAW-4004 (1-800-529-4004) or visit us on the web at www.nstlaw.com. No matter where you are in Tennessee, NST Law is just a phone call away.
Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
Every year thousands of children suffer serious injury or wrongful death from dangerous conditions and hazards on othersâ€™ property. These children often are not invited onto the premises nor is the property generally held open to the public. However, it is highly foreseeable that certain types of man-made conditions or hazards may appeal to a childâ€™s curiosity with obvious examples including open trenches, swimming pools, scaffoldings and temporary structures. The general area of Tennessee law that governs injuries to children in such situations is premises liability law and more specifically the attractive nuisance doctrine. The basic idea is that because it is typically foreseeable that children may be drawn to such hazards and unable to appreciate the risk, a property owner may be liable for injuries to a child who wanders on a property and suffers injury or wrongful death caused by a man-made hazard. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has been representing Tennessee children who suffer serious injury and wrongful death from hazards on othersâ€™ property for over 20 years. Serious injuries to a child are particularly troubling because they can have a lifelong impact on a childâ€™s future and quality of life.
Tennessee premises liability law generally does not impose a significant duty on property owners to protect adults whom trespass on private property, such as, a person who is entering the property to take a shortcut or to snoop around. The only obligation owed to a trespasser is not to cause intentional injury. This effectively means that a Tennessee property owner is not liable for injuries to an adult who falls in a trench but would be liable if the trench was hidden under a cover designed to trap unsuspecting trespassers. By contrast, a property owner may be liable for injuries to a child that falls in a trench on the property even if it was open and obvious.
An attractive nuisance is an artificially constructed condition on property that both has a tendency to attract children and to pose a risk of injury. The key is that it is foreseeable that a child might be attracted to certain dangerous conditions but not possess the sophistication and maturity to appreciate the potential danger. Common examples of hazardous man-made conditions that may constitute an attractive nuisance include the following:
â€˘ Swimming pool
â€˘ Open trench, hole or ditch
â€˘ Piles of building materials
â€˘ Construction equipment or machinery
â€˘ Piles of lumber
This list is hardly exhaustive but provides a few examples of the types of hazards that may be considered an attractive nuisance. Generally, an attractive nuisance is a man-made hazard rather than a naturally occurring hazard like a pond or other natural part of the terrain.
Tennessee courts will typically engage in a balancing test considering a variety of factors when determining whether to impose liability for an attractive nuisance including the following.
â€˘ The ownerâ€™s knowledge of prior trespassing on the property
â€˘ Whether the type of risk is one that a child would understand and appreciate
â€˘ The magnitude of the risk
â€˘ The burden associated with eliminating the danger in light of the degree of risk posed to children
â€˘ Safeguards actually taken by the property owner to prevent injury to children from the hazard
Tennesseeâ€™s attractive nuisance doctrine is designed to protect children who innocently wonder onto property and are exposed to risks of injury that they may not be mature enough to understand. If your child has been injured by an attractive nuisance, the experienced premises liability attorneys at NST Law can help you receive the full compensation to which you may be legally entitled. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has offices in Memphis, Jackson and Knoxville, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Jonesboro, Arkansas with the experience and resources necessary to fully investigate and help successfully resolve your Tennessee premises liability case. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, PLC is the largest plaintiffâ€™s law firm in Tennessee that helps injured people recover compensation due to someone elseâ€™s negligence. Call NST Law today for your free no obligation initial consultation with a Tennessee injury attorney at 1-800-LAW-4004 (1-800-529-4004) or visit us on the web at www.nstlaw.com. No matter where you are in Tennessee, Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz is just a phone call away.
Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
A recent report released by the National Highway Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides some welcome news that motor vehicle fatalities have dropped to their lowest level since 1950.Â The even more encouraging news is that this decline in car accident related fatalities occurred despite a significant increase in cars on the road and the number of miles driven.Â This would seem to suggest that attempts to improve the safety of roads, drivers, and vehicles has been successful.Â The trend toward a decline in motor vehicle related fatalities extended to all types of traffic accidents.
While that is the good news, there is also bad news.Â Auto accidents in the U.S. still account for 33,000 fatalities and another 2.2 million injury victims annually.Â The NHTSA report singled out distracted driving as an ongoing significant cause of auto accidents resulting in fatalities and serious injuries.Â Cell phone related accidents were singled out as a growing area of concern.Â Texting while driving has been equated to drunk driving in terms of its role in causing serious auto accidents.Â Distracted driving can result in accident involving all types of vehicle including tractor-trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, passenger vehicle accidents, SUV rollover accidents, and pedestrian accidents.
Traffic safety experts estimate that cell phone use results in over 6,000 car accident fatalities per year.Â It has also been suggested that the increased popularity of texting has resulted in an increase in cell phone related accidents because it is more distracting to drivers and results in a driverâ€™s eyes leaving the roadway for a longer duration.Â A study measured delays in reaction time when applying the brakes when impaired by alcohol to delays in braking when texting from a cell phone.Â The study results below clearly indicate how serious the issue of texting while driving has become as a cause of motor vehicle accidents:
- Normal (i.e. no texting or alcohol): 0.54 seconds
- DUI: 4 additional feet
- Reading a Text Message: 36 additional feet
- Sending a Text Message: 70 additional feet
While the roads are clearly getting safer, the risk of being involved in a serious motor vehicle accident particularly involving a distracted driver is still far too high.Â If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or killed in a Tennessee auto accident, the experienced attorneys at NST Law can help you seek the compensation you or your family are entitled to under Tennessee law.
Our Tennessee car accident lawyers have represented thousands of people involved in Tennessee auto collisions for over 20 years.Â Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has offices in Memphis, Jackson and Knoxville, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Jonesboro, Arkansas with the experience and resources necessary to fully investigate and help successfully resolve your Tennessee auto accident case.Â Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, PLC is the largest plaintiffâ€™s law firm in Tennessee that helps injured people recover compensation due to someone elseâ€™s negligence.Â Call us today for your free no obligation initial consultation at 1-800-LAW-4004 (1-800-529-4004) or visit us on the web at www.nstlaw.com.Â No matter where you are in Tennessee, we are just a phone call away.
Saturday, February 5th, 2011
Tractor-trailer accidents are often the most deadly of all motor vehicle collisions which is hardly surprising given that a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The size and weight of a fully loaded tractor-trailer means greater stopping distances and less responsiveness to steering adjustments which compounds the issue of relatively poor visibility. Despite these obvious and serious risks, trucking companies still frequently engage in exceeding maximum load regulations to increase profit margin. An overloaded truck or one that has a load that is not properly secured often causes serious trucking accidents resulting in life-altering injuries. Commercial trucking accidents account for 12% of all motor vehicle fatalities with the occupant of the other vehicle being the person who is killed in 98% of all commercial trucking accidents. At Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, we have been representing those who suffer serious injuries or wrongful death in Tennessee tractor-trailer accidents for over 20 years.
A tractor-trailer accident may be caused by improper loading, handling or weight distribution of a commercial truckâ€™s cargo. The big-rigâ€™s cargo may cause the truck to be top-heavy which increases the risk that the big-rig will jackknife or overturn while negotiating curves. A tractor-trailer that is not loaded properly is also more likely to experience an unsafe shift of the load. When the cargo load shifts, part of the load may fall from the tractor-trailer and create obstacles in the roadway or fall directly on another vehicle. Improperly secured cargo can also cause obstructions in the roadway that may lead to serious auto collisions.
Cases involving tractor-trailer accidents involving improperly secured loads can be complex because it can be difficult to determine if the cause of the accident was the product of improper loading of the cargo or a careless or inexperienced truck driver. Some trucking companies do not provide sufficient training regarding the handling characteristics of certain rigs, and an improperly secured load may pose a significant risk on curves, grades or when emergency maneuvers are required. Careful investigation by trucking accident reconstruction experts of the accident scene immediately following a trucking accident can make it easier to determine the responsible parties and causes of the accident. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz routinely works with leading trucking industry experts who we can dispatch to the scene of a trucking accident.
An additional complication in trucking accident cases that involve an improperly secured load is the typically murky relationship between entities that may have contributed to the tractor-trailer accident. Separate business entities may have been involved in assembling and loading the cargo. The cargo also may have been loaded and unloaded multiple times by different business entities. The truck driver typically will not work for any of these companies and may not even be an employee of the trucking company that was transporting the load. Truck drivers are often classified as independent contractors so that commercial trucking companies can shield themselves from liability for serious trucking accidents. Trucking company lawyers typically use this â€śshell gameâ€ť to claim that it was not the conduct of their company that caused the trucking accident. At NST Law, we are very familiar with the murky relationships between potential defendants in trucking accident cases and will seek to identify and include all responsible parties.
Even if a load is properly secured, a tractor-trailer can pose a much greater risk when it is overloaded. Federal regulations permit a tractor-trailer to have a maximum weight when fully loaded of 80,000 pounds. As a practical matter, the heavier the load being transported the greater the probability of an accident because of the decreased control and responsiveness of the tractor-trailer and the greater the resulting injuries. A tractor-trailer that weighs only 50,000 pounds is half as likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a big-rig that is fully loaded. Although trucking companies are well aware of this basic fact, they often try to exceed maximum weight regulations putting other drivers on the roadways in danger.
If you are involved in a tractor-trailer accident anywhere in Tennessee, the attorneys at NST Law can help you receive the full compensation to which you may be legally entitled. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has offices in Memphis, Jackson and Knoxville, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Jonesboro, Arkansas with the experience and resources necessary to fully investigate and help successfully resolve your Tennessee trucking accident case. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, PLC is the largest plaintiffâ€™s law firm in Tennessee that helps injured people recover compensation due to someone elseâ€™s negligence. Call us today for your free no obligation initial consultation with a Tennessee tractor trailer accident attorney at 1-800-LAW-4004 (1-800-529-4004) or visit us on the web at www.nstlaw.com. No matter where you are in Tennessee, NST Law is just a phone call away.
Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
Although tractor-trailer accidents are often the most deadly form of motor vehicle accident, the complexity and potential devastation associated with a commercial trucking accident increases substantially when an improperly secured load or an overloaded truck is involved. A fully loaded truck is more difficult to control, requires substantially increased braking distance and may decrease the ability of truck drivers to see other vehicles or obstacles. The massive weight of an overloaded tractor-trailer means not only increased probability of a trucking accident, but a resulting accident is likely to result in much more catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. Despite the trucking industryâ€™s awareness of these risks, it is not uncommon for trucking companies to overload a tractor-trailer so that it can transport more in less time to increase profits.
Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz (NST Law) has been representing trucking accident victims throughout Tennessee who suffer serious injury or wrongful death in Tennessee trucking accidents for over 25 years. If you or someone you love has been injured in a Tennessee tractor-trailer accident, NST Law will investigate whether the trucking accident was a result of overloading the commercial truck or other practices that violate federal or state trucking regulations or industry standards.
The weight and size of the load transported by a tractor-trailer has a significant impact on the probability that the commercial truck will be involved in a Tennessee trucking accident as well as the seriousness of any resulting Tennessee motor vehicle collision. Although federal regulations permit a tractor-trailer to be loaded up to 80,000 pounds, a truck loaded to this weight increases accident risks substantially. An 18 wheeler, which only weighs 50,000 pounds, is only half as likely to be involved in a trucking accident as one fully loaded. Although trucking companies are well aware of the dangers posed by heavily loaded tractor-trailers, they will often exceed even the 80,000 pound limit. When a tractor-trailer weighing in excess of 80,000 pounds collides with a passenger vehicle, which may weigh 3,000 pounds, the results are predictable. Commercial trucking accidents cause over 12% of all motor vehicle fatalities with a passenger or driver in the other vehicle being the person killed 98% of the time.
The legal issues that arise when a tractor-trailer transports oversized, overweight or over-length items can be even more complex. Transportation of these types of cargo requires a special permit and special restrictions apply. Generally, these items must be transported during daylight hours and on non-legal holidays. Tractor-trailers transporting oversized, overweight or over-length items are also required to avoid urban areas during rush hour traffic. An extensive regulatory framework is imposed on the transportation of such articles to ensure the safety of others on the roadway and surrounding areas. One such requirement that may apply is a requirement that an escort vehicle accompany the oversized, overweight or over length load. Commercial trucks transporting these loads also require specialized marking, and special financial responsibility is imposed when transporting this type of cargo.
Some serious Tennessee trucking accidents are caused by cargo loads that are improperly loaded or secured. Cargo that is not properly secured can fall into the roadway and cause obstructions or fall directly onto other vehicles. When a cargo load is not properly loaded even a slight shift in the load can cause the truck to jackknife or the truck driver to otherwise lose control of the big-rig. If the tractor-trailer has not been correctly loaded, the tractor-trailerâ€™s center of gravity may be off causing the driver to lose control of the truck or the truck to tip or jackknife.
When a massive 80,000 18 wheeler truck is involved in a collision with another vehicle, there is no such thing as a minor fender bender. The results are typically catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, broken bones or fractures and wrongful death. Trucking companies have teams of trucking accident experts that may be dispatched to the accident scene immediately, and critical evidence can disappear. The liability of trucking companies for tractor-trailer accidents often involves violations of the complex matrix of federal and Tennessee trucking regulations. An experienced Tennessee trucking accident lawyer must have a thorough understanding of these special requirements. If you are involved in litigation with a trucking company, it is important to have experienced Tennessee tractor-trailer accident lawyers on your side who will examine all of the causes that contributed to the trucking accident including traffic violations, hours of service violations, driver fatigue or drowsiness, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, exceeding the maximum permissible load and other violations of trucking regulations and/or trucking industry standards.
NST Law has been representing individuals and families seriously injured or killed in Tennessee trucking accidents for over 20 years. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz, PLC is the largest plaintiffâ€™s law firm in Tennessee that helps injured people recover compensation due to someone elseâ€™s negligence. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has offices in Memphis, Jackson and Knoxville, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; and Jonesboro, Arkansas. Our experienced team is comprised of 26 lawyers and a staff of over 100 that have the experience and resources necessary to help you obtain compensation for your Tennessee trucking accident injuries. Call NST Law today for your free consultation with a Tennessee truck accident attorney at 1-800-LAW-4004 (1-800-529-4004) or visit us on the web at www.nstlaw.com.
Memphis, TN Office
488 South Mendenhall
Memphis, TN 38117
Jackson, TN Office
2709 North Highland Avenue
Jackson, Tennessee 38305
Phone: 731- 427-5550
Knoxville, TN Office
408 North Cedar Bluff Road
Knoxville, Tennessee 37923
Jackson, MS Office
460 Briarwood Drive
Jackson, Mississippi 39206
Jonesboro, AR Office
922 South Main Street
Jonesboro, Arkansas 72401