Nashville Auto Accident Attorney

What Tennessee’s Modified Comparative Fault Rule Means for Car Accident Victims

by Staff Blogger | June 29th, 2022

It’s not always easy to determine exactly who is at fault after a car accident. In some cases, it’s clear that one driver is 100% at fault, such as after a crash where a driver ran a red light or rear-ended a stopped vehicle at an intersection. But other types of crashes, such as those involving two distracted drivers or two drivers who were both breaking traffic laws, often require more investigation, and fault may be split.

Many drivers who are hurt in crashes for which they were partially responsible may not even attempt to get compensation or sue the other drivers. After all, they likely believe they are not eligible for damages for a crash that they partially caused. However, Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence rule means that drivers CAN get compensation for crashes as long as they are less than 51% at fault for them.

That means that as long as victims are less at fault for a crash than the other driver(s) involved, they can sue them or file damages claims against their auto insurance policies. The catch is that the amount of money the partially at-fault drivers can receive is reduced by their level of fault. If an injured driver’s damages are $10,000 but they were 30% at fault for their crash, they can only receive up to $7,000 due to their percentage of liability.

Getting compensation when you’re partially at-fault is often more difficult than getting compensation when you have zero liability after a crash. That’s because insurers use any degree of fault as an excuse to deny victims the settlements they need, even when those drivers still have a legal right to compensation.

At Ponce Law, we work hard to help injured Nashvillians get the money they’re owed through Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence. Contact our Nashville car accident lawyers today for a free consultation.

You Can Sue the Other Driver Even if Winter Weather Contributed to Your Crash

by Staff Blogger | January 12th, 2022

Driving when there’s snow and ice on the ground is inherently dangerous. It makes it more difficult to slow down and stop, and it also makes drivers more likely to lose control of their vehicles. Although road crews in Middle Tennessee work hard to keep our roads safe during winter weather, there’s no avoiding the fact that ice builds up on roads, especially when it’s raining or sleeting.

Even when winter weather crashes seem unavoidable due to inclement weather, drivers may still be held liable if they crash into other vehicles. When snow and ice are on the ground and traction is reduced, drivers are expected to reduce their speed and drive with extreme caution. When it can be proven that drivers didn’t take every possible precaution and then caused crashes, they can be held liable for victims’ damages.

It’s common for injured victims of ice and snow-related crashes to hesitate to file compensation claims against other drivers, but you shouldn’t let inclement weather dissuade you from seeking damages. Otherwise, you may be paying out of pocket. The Nashville auto accident lawyers at Ponce Law are familiar with winter weather crashes, and we know how to help you get the money you’re owed. Contact us today.

How Planning Ahead Keeps You Safe on the Road

by Staff Blogger | December 1st, 2021

When it comes to reducing your risk of being involved in a car accident, what you do behind the wheel is only part of the equation. Committing to safe driving means planning ahead before you even pull out of your driveway.

Here are a few ways to keep your trip as distraction-free as possible:

  • Set your GPS before you go.

Program your GPS first thing. Doing so not only means that you won’t be tempted to change it while you’re driving, but it will also give you an advance warning of traffic, road closures, and other things you need to be aware of before you leave home. This can help you avoid potential dangers and delays.

  • Select a playlist, podcast, or audio book.

It’s important to keep your eyes on the road at all times while driving. Even a task as quick and simple as changing the radio station can be dangerous if it involves taking your eyes off the road. When you get your audio setup before you head out, you won’t be tempted to make changes while driving.

  • Make phone calls and send text messages before hitting the road.

Need to alert someone of your ETA or give them an update on something? Do it before you start your trip. And while you’re at it, let them know you’ll be driving and won’t be able to respond to any further calls or text messages until you stop or arrive at your destination.

When drivers don’t plan ahead or take safety seriously, they can injure themselves and others. If you get hurt by a negligent driver, we want to help. Contact the Nashville auto accident lawyers at Ponce Law today for a free consultation.

What to Know About Daylight Savings Time and Auto Accidents

by Staff Blogger | November 10th, 2021

With the clocks moving back one hour due to the end of Daylight Savings Time, many people were excited to get an extra hour of sleep on Sunday. But that also means that daylight comes earlier and it gets dark outside earlier. While these changes occur twice a year, they can be disruptive to your sleep cycle and your safety on the road in a few different ways.

It may be dark when you get off work.

In late fall and early winter, the sun sets early in Nashville. If you get off work around 5 p.m., there’s a good chance it will be completely dark when you head home. Driving after dark is always more dangerous than driving when it’s light outside, so be extra cautious and be sure that all of your lights—headlights, taillights, brake lights, and signals—work.

You may get less sleep because of earlier sunrises.

Being well-rested and alert is up there with driving sober and distraction-free when it comes to being safe behind the wheel. And while rolling the clocks back one hour can give you an initial increase in sleep, it can result in earlier wakeups due to earlier sunrises. If you’re sleep-deprived due to those early wakeups, go to bed earlier to make up for the change.

Shorter days are coming.

The shortest day of the year is on Dec. 21, which is the winter solstice. As we approach that day, the amount of daylight we get decreases. And the less daylight there is, the more time we spend driving in the dark. In addition, this time of year means more holiday parties and gatherings, and they often involve alcohol and an increased potential of drunk drivers.

Rolling the clocks forward and backward can make Middle Tennessee’s roads more dangerous, but ultimately, drivers are still in control of their actions. If you get hurt by a negligent driver, the Nashville car accident lawyers at Ponce Law are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Should You Speed to Keep Up with the Flow of Traffic?

by Staff Blogger | October 1st, 2021

Most drivers follow the speed limit on most roads. But on certain highways, the speed limit is regularly, if not always broken by most drivers. If you’ve ever followed the speed limit and driven 55 mph on a highway where everyone is else is going 70+ mph, you’re not alone. Some drivers see this as a reason to speed and keep up with traffic, but speed limits exist for a reason.

“Keeping up with traffic” isn’t a valid excuse if you’re pulled over for speeding by a police officer or state trooper. And it also doesn’t give you any protection from being involved in a crash, even if everyone around you is speeding.

In fact, speeding always makes crashes more severe, and when drivers around you swerve or suddenly slam on their brakes, it makes you more likely to crash into them, as you have less time to react and your vehicle will take more time to slow down.

If you’re on an interstate or highway where everyone is speeding, move to the right-most lane and continue driving at the speed limit. Not only does that eliminate your risk of getting a ticket, but it also reduces your risk of being in a crash. And when you drive in the right-most lane, you don’t impede the flow of traffic as you might in the center or left lane.

At Ponce Law, our Nashville auto accident lawyers are here to help when drivers are injured by negligent motorists, especially when they speed. Contact us today for a free consultation if you or someone you love was injured by a driver who failed to uphold their duty of care.

Distracted Driving Doesn’t Just Involve Your Eyes

by Staff Blogger | June 9th, 2021

For many people, the phrase “distracted driving” is synonymous with cell phone usage behind the wheel. And for good reason—smartphones are omnipresent in our lives, and it’s all too easy to sneak a quick glance at yours to check an email, send a text message, or even browse a website. But it’s possible to be dangerously distracted without ever taking your eyes off the road.

In addition to visual distractions, there are two other types of distractions that can be extremely dangerous:

  • Manual distraction—This type of distraction occurs when you take your hands off the wheel. It’s common when you’re reaching for something in your glove box, center console, passenger seat, floorboard, or backseat. Even though your eyes are on the road, the fact that your hands aren’t means you can’t react in time to avoid a crash.
  • Cognitive distraction—It’s entirely possibly to have your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and still be distracted! That’s because you can daydream or “drift off” while driving, which means that you aren’t actually processing what’s happening in front of and around you. Chatting with passengers and even experiencing “highway hypnosis” are examples of this.

When you get behind the wheel of your vehicle, driving safely should your biggest—and only—priority. It’s easy to take driving for granted, but it’s a complex task that requires hundreds of small adjustments, decisions, and reactions every minute. And even minor distractions can make it harder to perform those tasks, putting you at great risk of a crash.

The Nashville car accident lawyers at Ponce Law know that distracted driving is an epidemic in TN, and we hold those drivers accountable when they cause crashes. Contact us today for a free consultation if you or someone you love was harmed by a negligent driver

How to Stay Safe on the Side of the Road

by Staff Blogger | January 20th, 2021

Tennessee’s Move Over Law has been expanded several times since it was first enacted around 15 years ago. Initially, it only applied to emergency vehicles such as police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. Later, it was revised to include utility vehicles. And most recently, it expanded in scope once again to include ALL stopped vehicles with their flashers on, including passenger vehicles.

If you end up stopped on the side of the road, it’s important to understand the risks you face. Many construction workers and emergency responders are killed every year nationwide when they are hit by vehicles, and the same risk applies to ordinary people who end up on roadsides. To reduce your risks, take these steps:

  • Turn on your flashers—Whether it’s a bright sunny afternoon or the middle of the night, turning on your flashers makes you much more visible to approaching drivers, and that alone can reduce your risks.
  • Stay in your vehicle—The safest place to be if you have to pull over is inside your vehicle, especially if the shoulder is narrow. Call 911, a tow truck, or highway assistance from your vehicle if needed.
  • Never change a flat tire—If you had to pull over due to a flat tire, resist the temptation to change it yourself. Changing a flat tire on the side of the road is extremely dangerous. Instead, call highway assistance or a tow truck.

The Move Over law is supposed to make these tips less needed, but unfortunately, few drivers obey it. However, if they fail to move over and cause a crash, they can be held liable for any damages. Contact the Nashville auto accident lawyers at Ponce Law today if you or someone you love was hurt by a negligent driver on a Tennessee roadway.

How Are Today’s Vehicle’s Safer Than They Used to Be?

by Staff Blogger | March 4th, 2020

Technology has impacted every aspect of daily life, including vehicles. And while many car buyers are initially most impressed by things like huge touchscreen displays, ambient lighting, and Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, the most important technological advances involve those that reduce their risk of crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and since it was founded, auto manufacturers have worked hard to obtain 5-star safety ratings. In recent years, numerous advances have made drivers and passengers safer both on the road and during crashes, including:

  • Airbags—Modern vehicles are equipped with multiple airbags that protect occupants from all angles during crashes.
  • Electronic stability control (ESC)—Whether it’s due to slick roads or taking a corner too fast, losing control of your vehicle is terrifying. ESC helps drivers remain in control in otherwise dangerous situations.
  • Backup cameras—Handy in parking lots, backup cameras were made mandatory in all new vehicles beginning May 1, 2018, due to backover accidents that seriously injure or kill many people, including children, every year.
  • Blind spot detection—Mirrors don’t show you everything when you’re preparing to turn or change lanes, and turning your head means taking your eyes off the road. Blind spot detection means you’ll know if someone is in your blind spot without ever turning your head.
  • Crash-avoidance systems—Some vehicles are capable of taking over in an instant and avoiding crashes on their own. Distractions are always dangerous but sometimes unavoidable, and these high-tech systems apply automatic braking just before impact.

The Nashville auto accident lawyers at Ponce Law are grateful for the ever-improving safety features in today’s vehicles, but we also know that negligent drivers will always be an issue. If you or someone you love was injured because of a careless driver, we’re here to evaluate your claim. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.

3 Tips for Staying Safe on Your Spring Break Road Trip

by Staff Blogger | March 2nd, 2020

Spring is almost here, and that means warm weather and family trips throughout the country or within the great state of Tennessee. For many families, spring break vacations involve driving to their destinations. And when you have a car loaded down with luggage and passengers, it’s more important than ever to drive as safely as possible.

Before you head out on your spring break trip this year, be sure to keep these tips in mind:

  1. Take off early rather than later in the day—Planning on starting your vacation early by leaving late afternoon on a Friday? For safety reasons, you’re better off waiting until Saturday morning. In addition to facing less traffic, you’ll also drive during daylight hours, which is a safer time to be on the road.
  2. Designate a passenger to handle electronic duties—Whether it’s changing radio stations, working your vehicle’s or phone’s navigational system, or answering emails, phone calls, and text messages, having a passenger assigned to those tasks reduces distraction risks for you while driving.
  3. Ensure everyone stays buckled up—If you have kids, you know that they can become restless and antsy during long car rides. But even adults sometimes feel cramped and want to stretch out. However, safety beats comfort any day, and that means seat belts must remain buckled at all times.

At Ponce Law, our Nashville auto accident attorneys hope everyone has a safe and happy spring this year. If you or someone you know is involved in a crash caused by a negligent driver, whether it’s on your road trip or during your daily commute, we want to help. Contact us today.

Defective Roadway May Be to Blame for Mt. Juliet Car Accidents

by Staff Blogger | July 15th, 2015

Many factors can play a role in Tennessee car accidents, including the negligent design or maintenance of roadways.

When care is not taken when planning a roadway or conducting regular upkeep, crashes are more likely. Residents and officials in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, say this may be the reason for an increase in car accidents at a local interchange.

According to WKRN 2 News, there have been nearly 30 collisions along I-40 East near South Mt. Juliet Road and Belinda Parkway. Those crashes resulted in at least eight injuries and a majority of the accidents seem to occur while it’s raining.

This prompted officials at the Tennessee Department of Transportation to launch an investigation lack of proper drainage and what can be done to solve the issue. So far, the agency has determined drains in the area are clear and free of debris that can cause clogs. The team is also working to determine if the slope of the road is correct.

At Ponce Law, we understand the risks a defective roadway can pose to motorists, and our Nashville personal injury lawyers are hopeful any problems discovered on the highway can be resolved before another accident happens.