Not all car accidents involve two vehicles. Instead, in many cases, a car accident will, unfortunately, involve a car and a pedestrian. In many lawsuits in which a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, the driver of the vehicle will attempt to evade liability by arguing that the pedestrian caused the collision, and if the jury finds the defendant driver’s evidence to be compelling, the pedestrian may be denied compensation. This was shown in a recent Tennessee car accident case in which the court denied a plaintiff’s motion for a new trial after the jury found in favor of the defendant.  If you were struck by a vehicle, it is in your best interest to retain an experienced Tennessee car accident attorney to help you protect your rights.

Factual Background and Procedure of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff visited Tennessee as a tourist in 2005. During her stay, she jogged along the side of a highway. She decided to cross the highway, and while she was crossing, she was struck by a vehicle driven by the defendant. The plaintiff suffered severe injuries and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting a negligence claim. Following a trial, the jury found that the plaintiff was 80% at fault, and the defendant was 20% at fault for the accident. The plaintiff subsequently filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion, after which she appealed.

The Standard for Setting Aside a Jury Verdict

Under Tennessee law, a court will only set aside a jury’s findings of fact if there is no material evidence in support of the jury’s verdict. A trial judge is tasked with acting as the thirteenth juror and independently weighing the evidence to determine if it is in favor of the jury verdict. If the trial judge finds the verdict to be dissatisfactory, he or she must grant a new trial or set aside the  verdict.

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Some people who are involved in car accidents are tempted to avoid the expenses of retaining an attorney by representing themselves in a civil lawsuit. Few non-attorneys truly understand the nuances of the law, though, and self-represented parties often receive unfavorable outcomes due to their failure to comply with substantive and procedural requirements. This was demonstrated in a recent car accident case arising out of Tennessee, in which the court dismissed a self-represented plaintiff’s case for lack of prosecution. If you suffered harm due to a collision caused by another person’s negligence, it is prudent to consult a Tennessee car accident attorney to discuss your options for seeking damages.

Facts and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff sustained bodily injuries, emotional distress, property damage, and pain and suffering in a car accident caused by the defendant. The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging negligence claims. The plaintiff failed to appear on numerous occasions throughout the case and ultimately failed to appear at trial. She was granted a continuance but advised that if she failed to appear again, her case would be dismissed. The plaintiff did not show up for her second trial, however, after which the court dismissed her case with prejudice, for failure to prosecute. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in dismissing her case. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Dismissal for Failure to Prosecute

Under Tennessee law, courts are obligated to provide equal and fair treatment to parties that represent themselves in lawsuits. The courts are not permitted, however, to prejudice the substantive rights of other parties to be fair to parties that choose to represent themselves. In other words, self-represented parties are not permitted to refuse to comply with the procedural and substantive laws that apply to parties that are represented by counsel. Thus, the plaintiff was obligated to comply with the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure.

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When a person engaging in activities arising out of his or her employment causes a motor vehicle collision, not only may the person be held liable for any harm caused by the accident but in many cases, the person’s employer may be held liable as well. Recently, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee discussed when an employer will be held liable for the negligence of an employee driver, in a case in which a tow truck driver struck an unconscious pedestrian. If you were injured in an accident with a truck driver, you should speak to a Tennessee truck accident attorney regarding what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts Regarding the Accident

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s decedent was assaulted at a convenience store, after which he was chased and struck in the head with a rock, rendering him unconscious in the left lane of a road. He was wearing camouflage. The defendant driver was driving a tow truck that was towing a police car. He turned into the left lane of the subject road at a speed slower than the posted speed limit. As he approached the decedent, another individual ran into the road to alert the defendant driver of the decedent’s presence. The defendant driver swerved to miss the individual and struck the decedent. The decedent ultimately died from his injuries. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant driver, his employer, and the County. A bench trial was held, during which the sole issue was whether the Defendant employer was liable for the purported negligence of the defendant driver.

Vicarious Liability Under Tennessee Law

The court stated that drivers have a duty to keep a lookout that an ordinary prudent person would keep in the same situation. Further, the duty to keep a lookout while driving is codified at Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-143.  The court noted, however, that merely because an accident occurs, it cannot be presumed that anyone acted negligently. Rather, the court explained that a person alleging negligence must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, but that the defendant’s conduct fell below the standard of care, which amounted to a breach. The plaintiff must also establish proximate cause.

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In many cases in which there are disputed issues of fact surrounding a car accident, such as how the accident occurred or whether the accident caused the plaintiff’s harm, either party will hire an accident reconstructionist. A reconstructionist can determine, among other things, the force generated by the accident, but there is a limit to the testimony a reconstructionist is permitted to offer. In a recent case arising out of a rear-end collision involving a tractor-trailer, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee analyzed whether a reconstructionist is permitted to offer an opinion as to the cause of a plaintiff’s injuries. If you suffered injuries in a collision with a tractor-trailer in Tennessee, it is prudent to meet with a skillful Tennessee truck accident attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was driving a van when he was rear-ended by a truck driven by the defendant driver, on behalf of the defendant trucking company. Prior to the trial, the defendants stated their intention to offer the expert testimony of an accident reconstructionist during the trial. In response, the plaintiff filed a motion to preclude the reconstructionist’s testimony, arguing that he was not qualified to opine on the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries because he was not a medical doctor. The defendant argued, however, that the reconstructionist was testifying as to the force the accident would produce and the kinds of injuries that typically would arise out of such force, rather than the medical cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Upon review, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion.

Opinions on Causation

In evaluating whether an expert should be permitted to testify, the court assesses if the expert’s testimony is reliable, and if so, if it is relevant. The court’s inquiry as to an expert’s qualifications must be related to the facts of the case, the nature of the issue, and the expert’s specific area of expertise. The party seeking to admit testimony must prove that it is admissible by a preponderance of the evidence. In evaluating whether testimony is reliable, the court will assess whether the expert’s theory can be tested or has been subject to peer review, the known error rate of the theory, and whether the theory is widely accepted.

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When a person is injured in a truck accident, the person has a right to pursue claims for his or her damages. If the person was acting in the course of his or her employment at the time of the accident, however, the pursuit of compensation may be complicated by another party’s claim. This was evidenced in a recent case arising out of the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Eastern Division, in which the plaintiff’s employer filed a motion to intervene to assert claims against the defendant. If you were injured in a Tennessee truck accident, it is in your best interest to consult a knowledgeable attorney to discuss how another party’s potential claims could affect your recovery of compensation.

Factual Background

It is alleged that the plaintiff was driving a tractor-trailer owned by his employer, when it was struck by another tractor-trailer, driven by the defendant. The plaintiff and his wife subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant in the federal district court, seeking damages for injuries caused by the accident and loss of consortium. The plaintiff also filed a workers’ compensation claim with his employer to recover benefits.

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s employer filed a motion to intervene pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24. The employer argued that it had paid $34,000 in benefits to the plaintiff and that it suffered property damage as a result of the accident and, therefore, should be allowed to intervene in the proceedings. Upon review, the court granted the motion.

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Although negligent driving is the cause of most motorcycle accidents, some are due to dangerous roads or thoroughfares. When unsafe road conditions cause a motorcycle accident, an accident victim may be awarded damages from the party that created the hazardous condition, if the injured person establishes liability. The Court of Appeals of Tennessee recently discussed what a person injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a dangerous condition must prove to recover damages. If your motorcycle accident was caused by unsafe road conditions, it is prudent to speak with an experienced Tennessee motorcycle accident attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who was operating a motorcycle, was struck by a car exiting the drive-through area of the defendant’s fast-food restaurant. The plaintiff sued the defendant property owner on a theory of negligence, arguing that the drive-through lane, which allowed customers to exit the property onto a five-lane highway, created an unreasonably dangerous condition.

Specifically, the plaintiff reportedly argued that the lane promoted an unregulated flow of traffic onto the highway, with no warning signs or traffic control devices. The plaintiff further alleged that the lane was dangerous because it permitted drivers to turn left onto the highway. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. The court found the plaintiff failed to establish a duty or proximate cause, and granted the motion. The plaintiff appealed.

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If a person is injured in a car accident in Tennessee, he or she will often file a lawsuit seeking compensation from the driver that caused the accident. If the driver was engaged in the course and scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident, the injured party may be able to recover damages from the driver’s employer as well. Recently, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Knoxville explained when an employer can be held liable for harm caused by its employee, in a case arising out of a car accident. If you were injured in a Tennessee car accident by a driver engaged in the course and scope of his or her job duties it is critical to meet with a seasoned Tennessee car accident attorney to discuss who may be held accountable for your harm.

Factual Background

It is alleged that in August 2016, the plaintiff was driving on a road in Greene County, Tennessee, when a car traveling in the opposite direction crossed the center line and struck her head-on.  The plaintiff sustained permanent and severe injuries in the accident. She subsequently filed a lawsuit asserting negligence claims against the defendant driver’s estate and the defendant driver’s employer, arguing that the defendant driver was engaged in the scope and course of her employment at the time of the accident.

It is reported that the plaintiff further alleged that the defendant driver was liable for negligent hiring and supervision. The defendant employer denied that the defendant driver was engaged in employment-related activities at the time of the accident, and filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed, arguing that the court erred in ruling that the defendant driver was not acting in the scope of her employment at the time of the accident and that the defendant employer could not be held liable under a theory of respondeat superior.

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Most people purchase car insurance with the expectation that the insurance will provide coverage in the event of a car accident. If a car owner fails to comply with the terms of the policy and is subsequently injured in an accident, however, he or she may be denied any coverage or benefits pursuant to exclusions under the policy. Recently, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee analyzed policy exclusions in a case in which a car accident was caused by an unlicensed driver who was intoxicated at the time of the accident. If you were involved in a car accident in Tennessee and your insurance company is attempting to deny you coverage you should meet with a skillful Tennessee car accident attorney to discuss your options for recovering benefits.

Factual Background

It is alleged that the car owner was involved in an accident in which he rear-ended another driver. At the time of the accident the car owner did not have a valid license. Additionally, he admitted to the investigating officers that he had been drinking and failed multiple field sobriety tests. He was ultimately charged with and convicted of driving under the influence.

It is reported that the other driver filed a lawsuit against the car owner, seeking costs, and compensatory and punitive damages for the harm she sustained in the accident. The car owner was insured by the plaintiff insurer. The insurer subsequently filed a declaratory judgment action and a subsequent motion for summary judgment, seeking an edict from the court that it was not obligated to provide the car owner coverage under the terms of the policy. Continue reading ›

Driving a car is generally safe but it is not without risks and being involved in a car accident can cause substantial injuries and, in some cases, death. Although many car accidents are caused by other drivers, unexpected hazards in the roadway can cause collisions as well. While many roadway hazards are caused by natural conditions, in some cases a hazard may be caused by a person’s negligence. In a recent Tennessee case, an appellate court addressed the issue of what constitutes sufficient evidence of a defendant’s responsibility for creating a hazardous condition that caused an accident, to avoid dismissal of a case. If you suffered harm in a Tennessee car accident due to a hazardous condition that was created by another person you should speak with a trusted Tennessee car accident attorney as soon as possible regarding your options for seeking recourse.

Alleged Facts Regarding the Accident

It is reported that the plaintiffs’ decedent was driving his car on a roadway, when he hit a bull that was standing in the middle of the road. The impact caused his car to veer off the road and flip upside down in a nearby creek. The decedent subsequently drowned. The plaintiffs, the wife and children of the decedent, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant, alleging he owned the bull and was negligent in failing to control it. The defendant denied that he owned the bull. Following the completion of discovery, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted.

Allegedly, the trial court stated that due to the lack of direct evidence that the defendant owned the bull, the defendant was entitled to summary judgment. Further, the court stated that there was not sufficient evidence that the defendant testified falsely at his deposition as to his ownership of the bull. The plaintiffs appealed the trial court ruling, which the appellate court reversed.

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While the majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by one or more person’s negligent driving, some accidents are caused by defects or dangerous conditions on the roadway. In cases where a Tennessee motorcycle accident is caused by an unsafe road, anyone injured in the accident may pursue claims against the person or entity responsible for maintaining the road. Proving the liability of a government contractor or entity for an accident caused by a dangerous condition presents unique challenges, however, as different laws and standards apply to the government and its contractors than the laws applicable in typical car accident cases.

A Tennessee court recently explained the evidence needed to sustain a claim against the State and a contractor hired by the State to pave a highway, in a case in which a motorcyclist was injured in an accident caused by loose gravel.  If you were injured in a Tennessee motorcycle accident that was caused by a dangerous condition on a road or highway, you should consult a seasoned Tennessee motorcycle accident attorney regarding the evidence you need to prove liability for your harm.

Facts Regarding the Accident

Allegedly, the plaintiff was traveling over a portion of a highway maintained by the defendant State, that was recently been paved by the defendant contractor when the plaintiff struck a patch of loose gravel and lost control of his motorcycle. The plaintiff sustained serious injuries in the accident, and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging they were liable for his injuries due to negligence and defective construction. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff couldn’t produce evidence showing that the gravel was from the defendant contractor’s paving project, or that either defendant had notice of the allegedly dangerous condition prior to the accident. Further, the defendant contractor argued that the State Construction Projects Liability Act precluded liability. The trial court granted the defendants’ motions and the plaintiff appealed.
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