Typically, negligence and personal injury claims are evaluated by considering the testimony presented by each party as to what happened at the time of the accident and who was at fault. The credibility of witnesses is evaluated, experts and evidence may be provided to support each party’s version of the facts, and ultimately a judge or jury must determine whose story they believe. But what happens when one party can’t remember what happened at the time of the accident? A recent case before the Tennessee Court of Appeals addresses this issue.
One of the foundational principles of the public judiciary is that judicial proceedings should be open and transparent for the public. For this reason, filings, papers, and arguments made by parties in a lawsuit are typically considered part of the public record and can be viewed by others, although sometimes for a small fee. In very limited circumstances, parties can request that a court “seal” a paper that is filed, or the record of the proceeding in its entirety, in order to protect the privacy of parties involved. This can happen when one party is a minor or when sensitive information is being discussed, such as with medical records, cases involving sexual or child abuse, or situations when confidential financial information is at issue. Even when a court agrees to seal a record, the parties cannot use that to their advantage to keep important information from another party in a related lawsuit, as illustrated by a recent decision by the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
In cases in which summary judgment motions are filed, the movant must be able to establish that there are no material factual disputes that would create genuine issues for trial. It is only in the absence of any factual discrepancies that a court will conclude, prior to trial, that one party is entitled to summary judgment. Sometimes, in an effort to establish a lack of material facts, one party will assert that his or her recollection of an incident is the definitive story of what happened, and, thus, the issue is without dispute. This is often done through an affidavit or the testimony of a deponent. A recent case before the Tennessee Court of Appeals looks at whether an affidavit is sufficient to warrant summary judgment.
As anyone who has been involved in a lawsuit can tell you, litigation is rarely a fast or efficient process. It may take years for a case to proceed from the initial complaint all the way to a jury trial, with plaintiffs left waiting in the wings throughout. Courts recognize that litigating lawsuits can be a time consuming and lengthy endeavor, and are constantly seeking to make the process more efficient and less costly for parties. One way to do this is to ensure that courts do not have to duplicate their efforts by dealing with the same issues in multiple different lawsuits. In a recent case before the Tennessee Court of Appeals, the court considered these issues in addressing whether the victim of a truck accident could bring his own lawsuit at the same time that his insurer had a lawsuit already in court.
Tennessee is a modified comparative fault state. This means that when considering claims of negligence or personal injury, jurors or the court must look at the percentage of fault attributable to each party when determining liability. For instance, if a patron of a restaurant is slightly drunk and trips stepping off a sidewalk and onto the street, jurors must determine which percentage of her injury is attributable to the fact that she had been drinking (her fault) and which percentage of her injury is attributable to the restaurant’s failure to properly mark a drop-off in the sidewalk or otherwise notify patrons of a dangerous condition (the restaurant’s fault). If the patron is 25% at fault and the restaurant 75% at fault, the patron may only receive 75% of the damages that she claims. Under the modified comparative fault system, if the restaurant’s fault is 50% or less, the patron is not entitled to any damages at all. As illustrated in a recent case before the Tennessee Court of Appeals, when jurors assign percentages of fault to parties, courts are reluctant to second-guess these percentages or reverse a jury’s determination.
In Bachar v. Partin, Mr. Bachar was involved in an automobile accident with a truck driven by Mr. Partin. According to Mr. Bachar, Mr. Partin failed to properly stop at a stop sign. In order to avoid colliding with Mr. Partin as he entered the intersection, Mr. Bachar swerved his car and ended up colliding with another vehicle. Mr. Bachar sued for negligence, and Mr. Partin responded by alleging that Mr. Bachar was partly to blame for the accident that occurred. According to Mr. Partin, Mr. Bachar was speeding at the time of the accident.
According to the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration, large truck deaths have been on the rise all across the U.S. Between 2009 and 2013, for example, the total number of people killed in large truck accidents increased by 591 to reach 3,802. Within the same time, people who died as a result of truck collisions within Tennessee increased from 86 to 107.
Those who are not killed in the accidents usually escape with varying degrees of injuries. It is estimated that more than 104,000 people are injured in truck accidents every year across the country. In short, every 16 minutes, someone is either injured or killed in a truck accident in the U.S.Truck Collision Cases Are Complex
Accidents involving large trucks are often devastating in terms of injuries and damage to your vehicle, and even in cases where there is evidence that the accident was the fault of the truck driver or another motorist or pedestrian, many people still believe that they can handle the case on their own.
Car accident statistics show that motorists involved in accidents with a large truck are more likely to be serious injured or even killed. Semi-trucks are often owned by large companies that have experienced legal teams and insurance representatives in place whose job it is to minimize the financial impact by offering the lowest possible settlement, and unfortunately people who decide not to involve an attorney are often victims of unfair compensation. It’s best to hire a Nashville truck accident lawyer who understands the laws and can help you get exactly what you are owed.
Auto accidents can happen to even the most cautious drivers. Maybe another driver ran a red light and hit you; maybe a multi-vehicle accident has left insurance coverage in question. These are just two examples of the types of auto accident cases taken on by the Nashville Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of Eric Beasley.
How a Nashville Accident Attorney Can Help
You might not know what to expect the first time you visit a lawyer’s office. To start with, you’ll be asked to describe the situation you’re concerned about. This interview will take place before any papers are signed so you won’t be held to any obligation if the Nashville Accident Lawyer is unable to assist. You’ll also be informed of steps involved in filing a car accident claim. This will give you an idea of how quickly your case can be resolved. If everything is agreeable to you, a contract will be available for you to sign. You’ll receive a copy of the document for your own records; it is part of your attorney’s legal responsibility to provide you with a copy of the contract so you can refer back to it in the future.
A 62-year-old man who was charged with DUI after rear-ending a another vehicle in Bellevue on September 5 has been released on bond. The crash occurred when the suspect rear-ended a Suburban that was stopped at a red light. The impact totaled the Suburban, and the driver was treated for minor injuries. According to police, the suspect has been charged in three previous alcohol-related crashes in Nashville.
Alcohol-related accidents can cause serious injuries to the victims. An auto accident lawyer can help injury victims seek compensation to pay their medical bills, repair their damaged vehicles, and make up for time missed from work. Some common auto accident injuries include:
- Neck / back injuries
The driver of a commercial farming truck being unloaded at Tennessee Farmers Co-op near La Vergne was killed when the truck rolled over him on Tuesday morning, police said. The victim, a Lawrenceburg resident, was transported to Stonecrest Medical Center before being rushed to Vanderbilt Medical Center, where he died from his injuries. No other vehicles were involved in the incident, but police are investigating the cause of the accident, including performing a mechanical inspection of the truck.
Commercial trucks require more maintenance than other vehicles because they travel more miles on a daily basis. In addition, due to the gross vehicle weight of commercial trucks, components such as brakes, tires and other vehicle parts wear out more quickly. When trucks are not properly maintained, they have a greater chance of mechanical failure, which could lead to injuries and fatalities. It is the responsibility of truck companies to ensure their fleet is properly maintained in good working condition at all times. Injury victims and family members who have lost loved ones in truck accidents should seek legal advice from an experienced accident lawyer. Eric Beasley is a Nashville truck accident attorney who helps injury victims and their families seek just compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and emotional and physical suffering.
Free Consultation with a Nashville Truck Accident Attorney