September 15th, 2021|
If you’ve been driving long enough, you’ve undoubtedly encountered a vehicle that was moving erratically on the road. And if it happened at night and especially on the weekend, there’s a good chance the driver is intoxicated. Intoxicated drivers are one of the biggest risk factors on Tennessee’s roads for causing serious crashes that can injure and even kill others.
Police and state troopers are always on the lookout for impaired drivers, but they don’t always catch them. According to the FBI, drunk drivers get behind the wheel while intoxicated more than 80 times before they are arrested! If you encounter a vehicle that you suspect is being driven by a drunk driver, here’s what you should do:
- Check for signs of intoxication—Commons signs of an impaired driver include erratic acceleration or braking, following too closely, failure to hold a lane, almost hitting other vehicles and objects, and driving without headlights on at night.
- Give the vehicle a wide berth—Drunk drivers are unpredictable. They can swerve into your lane and strike your vehicle at any moment. If you suspect you’re driving near a drunk driver, change lanes or slow down and allow them plenty of room.
- Call 911—Drunk drivers put everyone in their paths at risk, and they can be considered emergency situations. When you call 911, tell the dispatcher where the drunk driver is, the make and model of their car, and their license plate number.
If you’re ever involved in a crash with a drunk driver, the Nashville auto accident lawyers at Ponce Law want to help. You can contact us anytime, day or night, for a free consultation and to get the ball rolling on your compensation claim.
April 30th, 2021|
You’d be hard pressed to find a Tennessee driver who doesn’t understand the importance and legal requirement of obeying the speed limit, avoiding alcohol and drugs before getting behind the wheel, and stopping at red lights. But there are far more laws than those governing what you can and can’t do while driving.
However, not all drivers are familiar with all of the state’s traffic laws. After all, many drivers haven’t been tested on their knowledge of traffic laws since they passed the state examination to receive their driver licenses. That means decades have passed and countless laws have been passed or changed since they were at their most knowledgeable on this topic.
Thankfully, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office has compiled a list of the most commonly violated and important traffic laws in the state. You can view the specifics of these laws at this helpful database. It includes laws for everything from alcohol and drug usage, to leaving the scene of an accident, to teen driving, to work zone traffic.
Knowing these laws is important not just for avoiding citations and accidents, but also for maintaining eligibility for full compensation after a crash. That’s because Tennessee uses a modified comparative negligence system for determining settlements after accidents. You can still receive compensation after a crash as long as you’re less than 51% at fault, but your percentage of fault is subtracted from your settlement check.
That means that if you’re 40% at fault for a crash and awarded $10,000, you’ll receive only $6,000, as 40% will be deducted due to your level of fault. And in many cases, fault is assigned to drivers when they violated one or more traffic laws.
April 28th, 2021|
Whether it’s built-in to your vehicle or you use the one in your smartphone, having a GPS can make getting around town and to new destinations much faster and easier. With just a few simple taps or commands, you can get exact directions, all while avoiding slow downs and traffic jams. But there’s also a major downside to using a GPS—the potential for distraction.
Too many drivers become more focused on their built-in or smartphone GPS screens than on the road ahead of them. In an effort to avoid missing a turn, they may avoid seeing the vehicle that slowed down or stopped in front of them. Or, while their eyes are trying to decipher where their next turn is, they may not realize they’re drifting into oncoming traffic.
There are two rules for safely using a GPS:
- Pre-program your destination before you leave—Input your destination before you even put your vehicle in drive. If you need to change your destination, pull over and do it from a safe location.
- Turn on turn-by-turn speech directions—Having a live map of your route displayed on your GPS can be helpful, but it’s also distracting. The safest way to utilize a GPS is to rely on turn-by-turn voice directions which don’t require you to look away from the road.
It’s also important to remember that GPS directions and maps aren’t always 100% accurate. For example, road closures may not be accounted for, and certain routes may send drivers on far-flung detours to shave just a couple of minutes off of their commutes. When programming a new destination into your GPS, zoom out to view the entire route to ensure it’s accurate.
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of crashes in Tennessee, and GPS usage is one of the most common causes of distracted driving. If you or someone you love was hurt by a distracted driver, contact the Nashville auto accident lawyers at Ponce Law today for a free consultation.
February 1st, 2021|
When you’re hurt in a crash, you have a lot of bills piling up. Your medical bills alone may be enough to empty your bank account, not to mention the costs of repairing your vehicle. And to make matters worse, your injuries may prevent you from working—and that means no paychecks for weeks or months.
So, if the insurance company calls and offers you a settlement, you may jump at the chance to get a check to cover some of your expenses. After all, your bills are due now, and you don’t have a way to pay them. A quick and easy settlement can seem like a godsend during such a difficult time, but as with most things, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
While there’s no catch on the money you’ll actually get from the insurance company, there IS a catch on the total value of your claim. And the catch is that you’ll get far less money by accepting their initial offer than you would if you pushed for more compensation, especially with a lawyer on your side. Insurance companies make big profits by avoiding fair settlements whenever possible, and that often means giving victims lowball settlements right out of the gate.
Unfortunately, accepting an initial settlement means forgoing the chance to get more compensation later. So, if you take their first offer, that’s it—you can’t come back for seconds if you find out you need more to cover your damages. Don’t take this risk! Get a Nashville auto accident lawyer from Ponce Law on your side from day one, and get the money you’re truly owed. Contact us today for a free consultation.
January 13th, 2021|
Nashville has seen a stretch of freezing temperatures lately, and with that comes the threat of ice and snow. Both can and will cause crashes, especially when drivers don’t take the proper precautions. To reduce your risk this winter, keep these driving tips in mind:
- Reduce your speed—The best thing to do to prevent a winter crash is to drive slower than you normally would. Reducing your speed reduces your stopping distance, which is vital if ice is present. It also makes you less likely to lose control if you hit a patch of black ice.
- Increase your following distance—Keep plenty of distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you. If they suddenly slam on their brakes and you’re following too closely, you may be unable to slow down in time to avoid rear-ending them.
- Avoid ALL distractions—Distracted driving is always dangerous, but never more so than during inclement weather. Texting while driving is a no-no, but so is reaching for items, looking at your infotainment screen, or even rubbernecking when you pass an accident scene. Eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, mind on the task at hand—no exceptions!
At Ponce Law, our Nashville auto accident attorneys know that winter is a dangerous time in Tennessee. Although local road crews do a great job preparing for snow and ice and clearing it when it arrives, they can’t always hit all the roads. In addition, not all drivers take winter weather seriously, putting themselves and others at risk.
If you or someone you love is injured in a winter crash caused by someone else, we want to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.
November 18th, 2020|
Many people assume that they can only get a check after a crash if they are 100% not at fault. And while it’s true that Tennessee is an at-fault state, it’s also a comparative negligence state. That means that the degree to which each driver is at fault for a crash is factored into determining how much the less at-fault driver can receive in a settlement.
Auto accidents are complex, and many wrecks can be partially blamed on both drivers. For example, a driver may pull out in front of another driver who is speeding. Although the first driver may have failed to look both ways or come to a complete stop, the speeding driver was also breaking the law and could have avoided the crash if they were going slower.
In cases like that, the driver who is found to be less at-fault than the other driver may be eligible to receive compensation. However, their level of fault will be deducted from their settlement. That means if they are 40% at fault, they’ll receive 40% less of the settlement they would have received. In other words, a $10,000 settlement would become a $4,000 settlement.
In addition, you may be eligible to receive compensation if you purchased Med Pay coverage for your auto insurance, even if you were 100% at fault for the crash. This coverage pays out no matter who caused the crash, no questions asked.
November 11th, 2020|
Got travel plans for Thanksgiving? If so, you’re probably like most Americans and are skipping the airport and packing up the car instead due to COVID-19 concerns. Traffic has been down throughout much of 2020 due to the pandemic, and while experts recommend limiting in-person get-togethers, there will still likely be heavy traffic on Tennessee’s roads in a few weeks.
Holiday weekends are always among the most dangerous times for drivers in America due to more people on the road than usual. In addition, drivers are often flustered, stressed, and trying to get to their destinations as quickly as possible. All of that combines to create a potentially dangerous environment for you and your loved ones.
You can reduce your risks this holiday season by:
- Avoiding distractions—Appoint someone else to be in charge of text messages, phone calls, and looking up directions.
- Not speeding—Leave early to give yourself plenty of time to make it to your family get-together.
- Checking your vehicle before you go—The last thing you want to deal with on your holiday road trip is a dead battery, a flat tire, broken windshield wiper, or burned out headlight!
- Mapping your route in advance—Road work is often canceled or minimized during holiday travel, but road closures and lane shut downs often persist. Map your route in advance to avoid slowdowns, bottlenecks, and dangerous areas.
- Packing supplies—Thanksgiving weather is usually mild in TN, but if you’re traveling north, you could hit snow and ice. Pack your vehicle with blankets, food, and water in case you get stranded.
If you get hurt in a crash over the holiday season, we want to help! At Ponce Law, our Nashville auto accident lawyers fight for the rights of people injured by negligent drivers. Contact us today for a free consultation.
September 16th, 2020|
The risks of driving under the influence of alcohol are well known. Law enforcement agencies and public health organizations spend a lot of money on education and enforcement campaigns. In addition, there’s a good chance you’ve even driven through a DUI checkpoint or two in your life.
But alcohol isn’t the only thing that causes impairment—or increases the risk of being involved in a crash. Certain types of drugs can also make you significantly more dangerous to others behind the wheel. Those drugs aren’t necessarily illegal, either, as many prescription and even over-the-counter medications have the potential to cause impairments to focus, memory, motor skills, and more.
Examples of dangerous drugs include:
- Medications that cause drowsiness—These medications often have warnings on their boxes or labels. They include everything from allergy medications and sleep aids to anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressants.
- Marijuana—In addition to being illegal in TN, marijuana can also impair drivers’ ability to accurately judge distances and speed. They also may experience impaired reaction times, making it more difficult for them to avoid sudden movements from other drivers.
- Amphetamines—This type of drug is available both in prescription and street form, and it can cause drivers to be more aggressive and erratic behind the wheel. Safe driving is all about being cool, calm, and collected—all of which are difficult to be on amphetamines.
It’s important to ask your doctor about whether it’s safe to drive when you’re prescribed a new medication. In addition, check the labels of any medications you take, even over-the-counter ones, as drowsiness is a common side effect.
At Ponce Law, it’s our goal to help anyone hurt in a crash caused by a negligent driver, whether they were impaired or simply didn’t follow traffic laws. If you or someone you love was injured, contact our Nashville auto accident lawyers today for a free consultation.
March 9th, 2015|
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents in Middle Tennessee—especially amongst teenagers. In fact, 78 percent of young drivers admit to checking texts on a cellphone while behind the wheel of a vehicle, while 75 percent say they have sent texts while driving.
But advancements in technology are helping people combat this issue. The Nashville car accident attorneys at Ponce Law explain that applications for smartphones can be used to keep drivers from using their devices while vehicles are in motion.
An article from Action News 5 elaborates on how a smartphone app called Canary informs parents whenever a teen driver uses a cellphone while in a moving car. The app detects when the phone is unlocked or operated inside of a moving vehicle. When this occurs, it sends an alert to parents’ phones.
While technology may help reduce distracted driving accidents, awareness of the dangers is the best way to get drivers to put their phones down. That’s why the Nashville personal injury lawyers at Ponce Law would like to encourage parents to have a dialogue with their teen drivers about the risks of cell phone use behind the wheel.