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Campbell County personal injury attorney car accident

Before you lend your vehicle to someone, carefully consider what the consequences could be if he or she gets into an accident. There are various outcomes if the person borrowing a car has an accident, including minor to serious injuries. Therefore, it is important for any vehicle owner to understand his or her rights and responsibilities. Regardless of whether or not you know what your auto insurance policy covers or the nature of the accident, it is important to work with an accomplished car accident attorney to help secure the best outcome.

Tennessee Liability Laws

In general, the owner of the vehicle will be held financially responsible for any damages in a collision. Whether or not you are a passenger at the time, your insurance policy will most likely be the one to cover damages. This rule is known as ownership liability. In some situations, if your car is totaled by another driver, your insurance policy will pay up to its limits and then the driver’s policy will carry the rest of the burden. However, this all depends on what kind of insurance policy you have. Some do not allow for this sharing of financial responsibilities, and you may end up owing more than your insurance covers.

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Campbell County auto accident attorney

If you get into an accident or are pulled over for any other reason in Tennessee, you will always need to provide proof of insurance. However, unless you buy your vehicle from a private seller and fail to get insured beforehand, you should always have some form of insurance on your vehicle. We will explain why below, but remember that if you face charges for any traffic violation or need to secure fair compensation after a car accident, seeking the help of a seasoned personal injury attorney can go a long way in achieving a favorable outcome. 

Temporary Insurance in Tennessee

Tennessee law requires that all drivers have auto insurance that covers at least the following: 

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Campbell County auto accident injury attorney

Drivers can do a lot to protect themselves and others on the road, and this includes making sure their vehicles are well-maintained. Too often, drivers only care about getting their car repaired when a warning light appears on the dash, but other symptoms also warrant a visit to a mechanic as soon as possible. If a driver has failed to properly maintain their vehicle, this can render it unsafe to drive, leading to a dangerous car accident. If you are ever involved in a collision with another vehicle, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights and determine how you can recover compensation for your damages.

The Importance of Vehicle Maintenance

A car's suspension keeps it balanced and upright. The struts, steering rack, anti-roll bars, control arms, and drive shafts work across the width of the car to provide the level of control that drivers need when they are behind the wheel. If any part of the suspension has a critical failure, a car could lose balance, and the driver may lose steering control. Thankfully, there are some clear symptoms that alert drivers to a possible problem with their car’s suspension.

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Campbell County traffic violations defense attorney

The staggering amount of car accidents caused by distracted driving in Tennessee pushed lawmakers to institute a new law on July 1, 2019 that bans any kind of cell phone use while driving. Understanding this new law can help you avoid a costly ticket in addition to a serious crash. In some cases, the penalties for using your phone behind the wheel can carry costly fines and the loss of driving privileges. Regardless of the charges, it is critical that you present an aggressive defense to the court with the guidance of an experienced traffic violations attorney.

Distracted Driving Statistics in Tennessee

For the three years leading up to 2019, distracted driving by Tennessee motorists caused more than 24,000 crashes annually. Tennessee also had the highest fatality rate of any state for distracted driving in that time period. The national average was 1.49 fatalities per 10 billion vehicle miles, while Tennessee’s rate reached 7.2 deaths for that same mileage.

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Campbell County auto accident attorney

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in five years, 40 percent of car accidents in the United States will be caused by elderly motorists. However, it is a common misconception that older drivers cause more collisions than younger drivers. This is often based on the belief that older motorists have a decreased ability to operate their vehicles. While this may be true in some cases, the majority of accidents that involve an elderly driver are not the elder’s fault, and these drivers generally sustain more severe injuries than younger drivers.

Should Elderly Motorists Lose Their Driving Privileges?

Tennessee does not have a law saying that at a certain age, elderly drivers should cease operation of their vehicles. The state does require that all drivers over the age of 70 must renew their licenses every three years. It is up to the driver to decide when to stop driving. However, it is important to note that if a collision occurs as a result of the elderly driver’s negligent actions, the Tennessee Commissioner could restrict that driver from ever driving again.

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Campbell County car accident attorney speeding

Drivers who operate their vehicles at a high rate of speed have less control of their automobiles than those who obey the traffic rules. In Tennessee, speeding can come with heavy fines depending on how far over the posted speed limit a driver is traveling. Unfortunately, a ticket will be the least of a driver’s worries if the violation causes a collision with another car, a motorcycle, or a pedestrian. In those cases, the offending driver will be responsible for the injuries and damage that was done as a result of the incident.

What Are the Tennessee Speeding Laws?

The state of Tennessee requires all drivers to maintain a safe speed on the road. This speed could vary depending on the conditions of the day and also in what county a motorist is traveling. Tennessee does have absolute speed limits for certain types of roadways:

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Campbell County drunk driving defense attorney

The state of Tennessee punishes those who drive under the influence (DUI) harshly, even for first-time offenders. Penalties increase for subsequent DUI convictions against a driver, but they become even more severe if a person is injured or killed because of a DUI collision. Additionally, Tennessee punishes those who flee the scene after causing a drunk driving car crash, regardless of whether it caused injury or death to a victim.

Is Fleeing the Scene Considered a Felony?

Tennessee law states that any person who flees the scene of a collision -- whether or not alcohol or drugs are involved -- will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This includes accidents which take place on or at:

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Campbell County rear-end collision attorney

Tennessee has many rules of the road, which all drivers must learn before obtaining their driver’s license. However, not every motorist obeys all the traffic laws, and violations of these laws can lead to car accidents, which can cause serious bodily harm. Drivers should stay far enough behind the vehicle ahead of them that they will be able to stop in time to avoid colliding with that vehicle. In addition, Tennessee law states that drivers should not follow other vehicles "more closely than is reasonable and prudent." Not keeping this amount of distance is called “tailgating,” which can be charged as a Class C misdemeanor in Tennessee. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, tailgaters could face more charges if their actions cause a collision.

What Types of Injuries Can be Caused by Tailgating?

If a car follows another vehicle too closely, a driver risks hitting the car in front of him or her if that car slams on the brakes. The most common collision when a tailgater is involved is a rear-end collision. Even though this type of crash does not seem like it could seriously hurt a driver or his or her passengers, it can cause multiple types of injuries, such as:

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Campbell County traffic violations defense attorney

According to a recent survey done by TicketSchool.com, more than 50 percent of the driving community admits to not using a turn signal when changing lanes or making turns. Some of the reasons motorists gave for this were because they did not think they had enough time or simply because they did not want to use their signals. This is dangerous driving behavior, which can lead to collisions that result in serious injuries or even wrongful death. Drivers can also be pulled over and issued a traffic citation if a police officer sees the motorist failing to signal. The act can also be considered reckless driving -- which is a Class B misdemeanor in Tennessee -- because not signaling in which direction you are driving puts other motorists on the road in danger.

Why Is it Important to Use a Turn Signal?

Drivers cannot read each other’s minds on the road, and therefore, no one knows when someone is planning to change lanes or make a turn. That is why it is required by Tennessee law to use a signal before making a turn or decreasing speed suddenly. Not only is this a requirement under the traffic laws, but it is a common courtesy on the road. Using a turn signal can prevent:

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Campbell County car accident attorney permit driver

The state of Tennessee requires all teenage drivers-to-be to go through a process before earning their Class D driver’s license. This is known as the Graduated Driver License program, and its purpose is to make sure young drivers understand the importance of safe driving. Car accidents involving a GDL driver who has not yet earned a driver’s license can lead to the driver being unable to earn a full license for a longer period of time. The young driver can also be held liable for damages done to another vehicle and/or injuries sustained during the accident.

The Graduated Driver License Program by Steps

There are four levels of the Tennessee GDL program:

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Campbell County auto accident injury attorney

During the winter months when the sun sets sooner and rises later, it is important for people to drive with their vehicles' headlights illuminated. Headlights are the most important equipment while driving in low-light conditions or darkness, because they allow the driver to see the roadway ahead. If a driver cannot see, he or she will be unprepared for obstacles in the road, in addition to other vehicles or pedestrians who are crossing the road. Not using headlights can lead to motor vehicle collisions and injuries that can range from minor to serious.

Tennessee’s Requirements for Using Headlights

According to Tennessee law, drivers must use their headlights starting a half-hour after sunset until a half-hour before sunrise. Lights must be visible from at least 200 feet away so that drivers have plenty of time to see each other on the road before getting too close.

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Campbell County construction zone worker injury attorney

The state of Tennessee was ranked as having the sixth-highest death rate of construction workers in the years of 2003-2017 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Tennessee had 70 deaths within that time, contributing to a grand total of 1,844 nationwide. Studies show that speeding is the number-one cause of car accident injuries or fatalities in construction zones. In these work areas, the speed limits are decreased in accordance with Tennessee law. Those drivers who do not decrease their speed run the risk of hitting a worker on duty. This can result in at least a misdemeanor charge with a $250 fine or at most a charge of vehicular homicide, which comes with more serious punishments. By obeying the laws and safe driving practices, drivers can help reduce the likelihood of a construction zone accident. 

Tennessee Construction Zone Rules

Drivers in Tennessee are required to slow down when they pass through construction sites; however, it is up to the workers to make sure the proper warning is given so cars can reduce their speed. Signs should be placed along the road to give drivers an ample amount of time to slow down. These signals will usually appear as large orange signs, but they can also include:

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Campbell County bicycle accident lawyer

There are many paths for bicyclists to explore without venturing on to public roadways. However, cyclists are not forbidden from traveling on public streets in Tennessee. If a bicyclist chooses to ride on the road, their bike is considered a vehicle, the same as a car. Therefore, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities to follow traffic laws, and if they are involved in a collision that was the fault of another driver, they can take steps to pursue compensation for their personal injuries.

Bicycle Safety

Tennessee law states that whoever is at fault for causing a collision on the road is responsible for paying compensation to the other party or parties. In many cases, a driver who strikes a bicyclist is at fault, either because they did not respect a bicyclist's right to share the road or because they acted negligently.

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Campbell County car accident injury attorney

Every state has laws and rules to keep their roadways as safe as possible, but nowadays not everyone obeys the rules. Certain actions that drivers take on the road may be considered reckless driving that unfortunately can result in car accidents and serious injuries to other drivers or innocent bystanders. The state of Tennessee defines reckless driving as operating a motor vehicle -- car, motorcycle, or truck -- with wanton disregard for the safety of others on the road.

Examples of Reckless Driving

Since reckless driving is any action that puts others in danger, the violation can be a simple as speeding to as serious as not yielding to school buses. Other examples of reckless driving include:

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Campbell County hit-and-run car accident lawyer

Being involved in a car accident can be a scary ordeal, both for the person responsible for causing the collision and the occupants who may be injured. In some cases, a negligent motorist may think that leaving the crash site is the best way to stay out of trouble, but in fact, fleeing from the scene of a motor vehicle crash is against Tennessee law. If an at-fault driver does attempt to leave, the victim may wonder how to receive compensation for injuries and any damages done to their vehicle. That is why it is imperative to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney. 

What to Do After a Car Crash

No matter what the circumstances of a collision are, both parties involved must stop immediately in order to assess damages and call the police. Both drivers should pull their cars to the side of the road and do the following:

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Campbell County automobile accident lawyer

The seasons are changing, and that means there will be more rainy days to come before winter sets in. Driving habits should change while on the road, or else serious car accidents and injuries can occur because of road conditions. Hydroplaning is the most common cause of car accidents in rainy weather. This occurs when a car is moving so fast that the moisture on the road causes the vehicle to lose traction. As a result, the car slides across the pavement, giving the driver little to no control. This can lead to cars veering off into other lanes of traffic, resulting in collisions with other vehicles and severe or fatal injuries.

Tips for Road Safety in Wet Conditions

According to a study by AAA, wet pavement leads to over one million car accidents annually nationwide. Although it is an instinct to want to drive quickly to make it to one's destination in a shorter amount of time, drivers should adhere to the following safe driving practices when traveling in the rain:

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Campbell County personal injury compensation lawyer

Tennessee law requires drivers and passengers of moving vehicles to wear safety restraints (seat belts) at all times while the car is in motion. Not only do restraint systems keep the occupants from moving around inside the car, but they also can help prevent an injury that can result from a car accident. While some restraints have been shown to cause injuries such as whiplash or broken ribs, seat belts protect against worse bodily damage and even can prevent death due to a collision. Whether or not an accident happens, a person can be ticketed for not using a seat belt while operating a motor vehicle. It is important to understand what the law says about seat belt use and how it relates to receiving compensation in a vehicle crash.

What Does Tennessee Law Say?

According to the law, drivers and passengers over the age of four years old are required to wear a seat belt if they are in a moving vehicle. The only exception to this law is for vehicles that are used as public transportation or livery vehicles such as limousines, which do not have seat belts available to passengers.

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Jacksboro, TN motor vehicle crash lawyer

Most states, including Tennessee, have a required tread depth for tires on a motor vehicle. This is because the tread is what makes a car able to travel safely along the roadways. When ice coats the pavement, adequate tread depth is what can prevent cars from sliding around. Tires can wear out after several years of use and could eventually “burst” if the tread is completely worn away. When this happens, cars can spin out of control and possibly collide with another vehicle, resulting in personal injuries for any of the occupants.

Tire Tread Depth

On average, a tire can last three or four years before needing to be replaced. Tennessee law states that tire tread depth needs to be at least 4/32 inches deep for front tires and 2/32 inches deep for back tires. Other factors that can affect a tire's safety and performance include:

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Campbell County personal injury lawyer

Some people may like to ride in the back of a pickup truck for fun, but this can lead to injuries if a person is thrown or ejected from the truck bed. Each state has its own rules when it comes to truck bed passengers. In Tennessee, no child under the age of six years old may ride in the back of a pickup truck. Tennessee law also states that no minor under 12 years old is allowed to ride in a truck bed when the vehicle is traveling on an interstate or a highway. Those passengers who are older than the age of 12 are able to legally ride in the truck bed. However, if they are ejected and injured in a car accident, they can seek compensation from the at-fault driver.

What Can Cause a Passenger to Be Ejected From a Truck Bed?

Since there are no seat belts installed in pickup truck beds, it is more dangerous to ride in this area of the truck, especially in certain road conditions. A collision does not need to happen in order for someone to be thrown from a truck bed.

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Jacksboro, TN auto accident lawyer

Drivers are expected to follow the rules of the road and travel safely. With so many vehicles on the highways, everyone needs to be especially mindful when they change lanes. Whatever the reason for lane changing, a driver should check their side and rearview mirrors and wait until it is clear to move over. If the motorist does not do so, a sudden lane change can cause a collision with another car. Depending on the speed at which the crash happened, the accident could result in serious injuries to the drivers and passengers involved. 

Types of Injuries That Can Result from Lane Change Collisions

Depending on the rate of speed that both vehicles are traveling, there can be severe damage and injury caused by a lane change. Damage to the vehicles includes front-end bumper dents, damage to side doors and mirrors, and rear-end bumper and frame distortions.

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