Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

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In a Knoxville motorcycle accident case, the defendant is typically a motorist whose negligence allegedly caused a collision that led to the cyclist being injured or killed. However, other individuals or businesses can also be named as parties in some motorcycle crash cases.

As in other types of negligence lawsuits, the plaintiff has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant breached a legal duty that was owed to him or her and that this breach of duty was the proximate cause of damages complained of by the plaintiff.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was the surviving spouse of a motorcyclist who was killed when his motorcycle collided with a sport utility vehicle in 2016. At the time of the crash, the SUV driver was turning left into a truck stop. The plaintiff filed suit against the driver of the SUV and the owners of the truck stop, seeking to recover damages for her husband’s wrongful death. According to the plaintiff, the truck stop owners were negligent in failing to place a visible sign directing the plaintiff to the proper entrance for passenger vehicles (the SUV driver was turning into an entrance intended for semi-trailer trucks, not passenger vehicles; the plaintiff averred that the truck entrance had a much more limited view of oncoming traffic).

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Last month, a 23-year-old man was tragically killed in a motorcycle crash on Chapman Highway in Knoxville. According to a spokesperson for the Knoxville Police Department, the Sevierville man and his 24-year-old passenger were headed north on a Honda motorcycle near East Ford Lane when a sport utility vehicle (SUV) made an unexpected U-turn in front of him. Unfortunately, the driver of the motorcycle could not stop before striking the SUV.

Following the traffic wreck, the man was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased. His passenger was treated for non-fatal injuries at the same hospital. The 60-year-old SUV driver and her 64-year-old passenger were not injured in the collision. Although Knoxville police reportedly do not believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the deadly motorcycle wreck, evidence gathered during the accident investigation will apparently be forwarded to the Knox County district attorney’s office to determine whether criminal charges against the driver of the SUV are merited.

Both the deceased man and his passenger were reportedly wearing a motorcycle helmet at the time of the fatal crash. According to the nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), safety helmets prevent about 37 percent of traffic accident deaths among motorcycle drivers and 41 percent of motorcycle passenger fatalities across the United States each year. The State of Tennessee enacted a universal helmet law in 1967. This means all drivers and passengers in our state are required to wear a safety helmet when traveling on a motorcycle. The CDC estimates that the lives of about 46 out of every 100,000 registered motorcycle riders in Tennessee in 2010 were saved by wearing a helmet. In addition, helmet use saved the state approximately $94 million in economic costs during the same year. Overall, CDC data states Tennessee is sixth in the nation for lives and economic costs saved as a result of motorcycle helmet use.
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As car and motorcycle accident attorneys in Maryville, we see the tragic results of accidents every day. Being this close to the daily ramifications and costs of vehicle accidents, we pay close attention to any new development in the law or technology that may save lives. One of the newest technologies on the horizon is V2V warning systems. Imagine driving down the road and having your car warn you that the vehicle next to you is swerving into your lane. You slow down just in time to avoid a collision. These technologies are no longer science fiction.

Vehicle-to-vehicle (“V2V”) communications moved one step closer to becoming a part of our daily lives as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released plans to discuss making V2V communications mandatory on all newly manufactured vehicles. V2V communication systems are complex traffic networks made up of vehicle and roadside devices transmitting data back and forth — an internet for cars.

V2V systems are superior to other warning systems because they do not have to compute and predict another vehicle’s trajectory or speed. However, any workable V2V system requires other vehicles on the road to also have a V2V system operating on the same network protocol. The proposed mandate helps overcome this obstacle. In any case, even with a mandate, it could be decades before the V2V systems have any utility as the average turn-over rate for new cars ranges from 15 to 25 years.
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In a civil lawsuit for personal injury, you can collect damages from the at-fault party to compensate you for your injuries. Damages are meant to make the plaintiff whole by putting the plaintiff in a position he or she would have been in had the injury never occurred.

In making a plaintiff whole, it can be difficult to put a dollar figure on things like “pain and suffering” and “loss of enjoyment of life.” Speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you fully identify and understand your injuries and the damages you can claim. Fully understanding damages can help a lawyer turn a small claim into a substantial recovery.

Reduction of Award — Remittitur
There are several Tennessee laws and statutes that outline, define, and limit the amount of damages a plaintiff may receive. Sometimes the jury award may be deemed too much by the trial judge. Tennessee Code Annotated § 102 (“§ 102”) sets the rules for trial judges lowering the amount of damages, which is called a remittitur. The remedy of remittitur is designed to cure an award of damages that is grossly excessive without the necessity of a new trial or appeal.
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Motorcyclists encounter more hazards on the road than other vehicles. When driving any motor vehicle, be cautious of other vehicles on the road. Drivers have a duty of care to drive safely and avoid accidents. Unfortunately, some drivers may not be cautious and may breach this duty of care. If a driver breaches this duty and causes injury to a motorcycle driver, the motorcycle driver may have a negligence claim against the driver. If you or your motorcycle have been damaged by the negligent acts of an automobile driver, you are encouraged to speak to an attorney about a potential lawsuit. You will need an attorney who is experienced with motorcycle accident cases.

On the 20th of October, a local Maryville woman, driving a 2005 Harley Davidson, died following a motorcycle accident at the intersection of Bessemer Street and McCammon Avenue in Alcoe. This is a dangerous intersection in Alcoe because there is oncoming traffic from both directions. Knoxville News, reported that the motorcycle had been headed eastbound on Bessemer Street when the driver of a 1998 Ford F150 pick-up Truck pulled in to the intersection from McCammon Avenue. The driver of the pick-up failed to yield to oncoming traffic causing the Harley Davidson to run into the truck. Officers do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved. According to reports, the sun may have blinded the truck driver causing the driver to not see the Harley Davidson. The motorcycle driver was wearing a helmet; however, sadly, she was killed immediately.

The motorcycle fatalities from traffic accidents reached record levels in 2012. A Governors Highway Safety Association has reported that motorcyclist traffic fatalities have increased in the United States by 9 percent in 2012. From 1997 to 2011, motorcycle fatalities from vehicle accidents have more than doubled nationally from 2,116 to 4,612 while the total fatalities from all traffic accidents have dropped 23%. When a motorcycle driver is injured or killed in a traffic accident, in order to bring a negligence lawsuit, the motorcycle driver will have to show that the vehicle driver breached a standard of care. The motorcycle driver will have to prove that a reasonably prudent person would not have acted in the same way.
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As the weather begins to warm and more motorcycle riders head out to enjoy the rumble and freedom of the road, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging other motorists to be especially mindful.

Our Knoxville motorcycle accident attorneys know that most catastrophic injuries sustained by motorcycle riders are the result of other drivers failing to be cautious.

One of the most common statements investigators hear after a motorcycle crash is, “But I didn’t see him.” It’s not that these folks are lying. They probably really didn’t see the motorcyclist – because they weren’t looking.

May is national Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, with drivers of cars, trucks and buses reminded that sharing the road means looking twice.

So far this year, there have been 19 motorcyclists killed in Tennessee, with Maryville and Clarksville having the highest rates.

The Tennessee Department of Safety reports that motorcycle crashes have been increasing annually for more than a decade, despite marked decreases regarding other types of crashes.

In Knox County, the number of motorcycle licenses has increased by an average of 5.4 percent each year since 2004, with more than 20,000 people in the county currently holding a motorcycle license.

Along with that, the number of motorcycle crashes has skyrocketed, from 2,300 in 2004 to more than 3,250 in 2008 – a 42 percent increase. The state sees between 140 to 150 motorcycle deaths each year and more than 2,500 injuries. This is despite the fact that we’ve seen a huge spike in the number of motorcyclists wearing helmets. Just 10 percent of the motorcyclists killed in Tennessee between 1999 and 2008 weren’t wearing helmets.

Knox County has a crash rate of 10 per 1,000 motorcycle license endorsements, ranking it 34th out of the 95 counties in the state.

In terms of the deadliest months for motorcycle crashes, summer is unquestionably the leader, with fatalities beginning to spike in May and tapering off in September. That’s why May is an especially appropriate time to highlight awareness.

Motorcyclists comprise nearly 15 percent of all highway deaths, even though the number of motorcycle registrations represent just 3 percent of all the vehicles on the road.

And when we look at it on a per-vehicle-miles-traveled basis, motorcyclists are 30 times more likely than operators of four-wheeled vehicles to be killed in a crash and five times more likely to suffer a serious injury.

To help reduce these figures, the NHTSA recommends the following action by fellow motorists:

  • Don’t drive distracted or drunk.
  • Allow motorcyclists a full lane width.
  • Always use your turn signals before you merge or change lanes or turn.
  • Check your blind spots before changing lanes or merging.
  • Bear in mind that even a few raindrops can pose a significant hazard to motorcyclists. Be especially courteous of them in inclement weather.
  • Allow yourself more of a distance when you are behind a motorcycle so that he or she can navigate a safe stop or quick maneuver in an emergency.

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A recent sobriety checkpoint in Blount County netted a large number of citations given to motorcycle riders wearing non-compliant helmets.

The checkpoint on U.S. highway 129, resulted in 17 citations. Fifteen officers worked the checkpoint, which saw more than 200 vehicles in about two hours. As authorities work to reduce the risk of Tennessee drunk driving accidents, they found themselves monitoring the start of motorcycle riding season.

Knoxville motorcycle accident attorneys know May is motorcycle safety and awareness month. But that doesn’t mean thousands of riders aren’t already hit the streets following the unusually mild northern winter. Motorists are reminded to look twice and save a life as the spring and summer riding season gets under

Eight riders at Saturday’s checkpoint were given citations for wearing non-compliant helmets, which means they were not approved by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. is a resource riders can use to help ensure they are wearing an approved helmet; the DOT or Snell sticker should also be located on the inside or outside of the helmet.

The truth is that the vast majority of riders are safety conscious, and all too aware of the risks inherent in riding a motorcycle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 4,000 riders a year are killed and nearly 100,000 are seriously injured in riding accidents.

About 100 riders a year are killed in motorcycle accidents in Tennessee.

And in more than half of all fatal accidents involving another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle is at fault. Failure to yield and turning left in front of a rider is the most common cause of serious and fatal motorcycle accidents.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers 10 Tips every car and truck driver should know about motorcycles:

-Look for motorcycles, particularly at intersections.

-A motorcycle’s size may mean it is closer than it appears. Speed can also be difficult to judge. When pulling into traffic, whether at an intersection or from a private drive, assume the rider is closer than he looks.

-Blind spots can hide motorcycles. So can obstacles like bushes, fences and parked cars. Take a moment to check thoroughly.

-A motorcycle’s small size makes it look fast; don’t assume a rider is speeding.

-Brake lights don’t always activate when a rider is slowing — bikes can be slowed by rolling out of the throttle and down shifting. Allow plenty of following distance.

-Turn signals on motorcycle’s don’t shut off on their own. Therefore they can be left on accidentally. Make sure of a rider’s intentions before proceeding.

-A motorcycle is entitled to it’s own lane of travel, and may move around in that lane to avoid debris, for better visibility or for other reasons. Don’t crowd a rider.

-While a motorcycle can be quite maneuverable, don’t expect a rider to be able to dodge out of the way.

-Motorcycles can be slow to stop, particularly on wet or slippery pavement.

-Think of a motorcycle in motion as a person.
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A bill that would have eliminated the requirement for motorcycle riders to wear helmets in Tennessee has been shelved this legislative session.

Those against the bill say wearing a helmet dramatically curbs the risk of serious injury in the event of a Knoxville motorcycle accident. Proponents of the bill, meanwhile, believe that the decision about whether to wear a helmet should be a personal one, not dictated by politicians.

Knoxville personal injury attorneys
know this much: Whether the motorcycle is wearing a helmet holds no bearing on the liability of the other party in the event of a crash. What that means is that if you are involved in a crash, regardless of whether you are wearing a helmet, you can still move for legal action against the at-fault driver of the other vehicle. An experienced attorney can help you weigh all the options.

Still, the helmet issue was one that both sides were quite passionate about.

The Motorcyclist Liberty Restoration Act would have ended the requirement for riders over the age of 21 to wear a helmet in the state of Tennessee.

On the one hand, you had Libertarians, who viewed the issue as one of civil freedoms.

Rep. Glen Casada, R-Williamson County, was one of the bill’s co-sponsors. He was quoted as saying that government should not serve as mother and father to its citizens. The mandate that all motorcyclists wear helmets was taking things one step too far.

In repealing the law, supporters said it would boost the state’s tourism numbers, as more riders would begin flocking to the state.

On the other side, you have safety advocates, who said that helmet laws helped taxpayers avoid millions of dollars in expenses when riders suffered serious and long-lasting injuries. One study analyzed helmet use in states that had repealed their helmet requirement laws. They found that helmet use did indeed decline, and the number of motorcycle fatalities rose by some 30 percent.

Dr. Blaine Enderson of the University of Tennessee Medical Center, recently wrote an editorial that appeared in The Tennessean. He said that while he supported personal freedom of choice, motorcyclists don’t live in a bubble, and the choice of whether to wear a helmet is one that could affect their family, their employer and the community at-large.

A spokeswoman for the Tennessee Nurses Association was quoted by the local press as saying the issue is no different than laws that require vehicle occupants to wear seat belts.

Using this comparison, our Tennessee injury attorneys would note that just because a person isn’t wearing a seat belt at the time of a crash, it doesn’t release the other at-fault driver from being held legally accountable. It’s the same with motorcycle riders.

The truth of the matter is, the majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers who either aren’t paying attention or aren’t being respectful of these two-wheeled vehicles sharing the roadway. In these cases, it’s important to have an experienced attorney who will fight to win you the compensation you deserve.
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The number of car and trucking accidents in Maryville and elsewhere throughout the state took more lives in 2010 than in 2009 despite an announcement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that claimed the U.S. saw its lowest number of traffic fatalities since 1949.

In 2010, there were roughly 33,000 people who died in traffic accidents in the country. Yes, this is a decrease from the previous year, but there are a number of accident categories that saw a significant increase during this time.

The NHTSA recently released the 2010 Motor Vehicle Crashes Overview, which details accident statistics from the previous year. This is the most up-to-date information available on traffic accidents in the country. While the number of traffic fatalities decreased nationwide, the number of injuries in fact increased. Broken down into categories, the number of fatalities among large truck occupants, van occupants, bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists actually increased.

Our Maryville car accident attorneys understand that the reduction in traffic-accident fatalities may be short lived. The number of fatalities witnessed during the last part of 2010 illustrated a significant increase. Safe driving experts expect this trend to continue as the economy grows stronger. With a more steady economy, residents feel more confident in getting out and traveling. An increase in traffic equates to an increase in your risks for an accident.

The NHTSA is doing more to specify the types of accidents we see on our roadways. With the release of this year’s report, the NHTSA introduced two new measures, the “distraction-affected crashes” and the “alcohol-impaired driving crashes.”

-Distraction-affected crashes: This measure is used as a way for the Administration to collect more data regarding the contributions of distractions in a traffic accident. The new measure is being used to zoom in on traffic accidents in which a driver was believed to have been distracted at the wheel during the accident. These types of accidents took the lives of roughly 3,100 people throughout the year.

-Alcohol-impaired driving crashes: This new measure is used to examine traffic accidents in which alcohol was most likely the cause. This measure allows researchers to look closer at accidents in which a driver had a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or above, the legal limit for each state.

“We recognize our responsibility to improve our understanding of the dangers that continue to threaten drivers and passengers,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

Increases in traffic fatalities were witnessed by:

-Large truck occupants


-Occupants of vans



-Urban-area traffic accidents

-The state of Tennessee. 2009: 986 fatalities. 2010: 1,031 fatalities.

Despite the recent announcement of a decrease in the national traffic accident fatality number, we’d like to point out that 20 states experienced increases. Drivers are urged to remain cautious and alert on our roadways. As motorists flock to our roadways during the holiday season, there will be more dangers lurking than ever. Drive defensively and alertly to avoid an accident. Have a Happy Holiday and New Year!
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Greg Hardy, the defensive end for the Carolina Panthers, will be sitting out for at least two weeks of the team’s training camp after a motorcycle accident in Tennessee. The football star wrecked his bike on Interstate 40 just outside of Knoxville. The entire left side of his body was badly skinned during the accident. He was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, according to The Charlotte Observer, where he was treated for abrasions on his leg, foot and arm.

The accident happen when Hardy was heading east on Interstate 40 and slammed into the vehicle traveling in front of him causing him to lose control of his bike. The collision caused his bike to roll several times before coming to a rest on the shoulder. He has been charged with driving without a license, failure to exercise due care, following too closely and failure to yield.

Our Knoxville motorcycle accident attorneys recognize that the number of motorcycle accidents in our state continues to increase. Unfortunately, the rate of injury also continues to grow. These riders are often overlooked by passenger-vehicle motorists on our roadways. The lack of understanding regarding the functions of motorcycles leaves the two-wheeled motorists at great risks for a deadly accident.

Between the years of 2004 and 2008, motorcycle accidents in the state of Tennessee rose by a yearly average of 9.2 percent. Since 1999, motorcycle accident deaths increased by more than 145 percent.

Here are the yearly increases, according to the Tennessee Department of Safety:

-2003: 90 deaths: a 20.0 percent increase from 2002.

-2004: 97 deaths: a 7.8 percent increase.

-2005: 129 deaths: a 33 percent increase.

-2006: 141 deaths: 9.3 percent increase.

-2007: 149 deaths: 5.7 percent increase.

You may think that motorcycles are more vulnerable to traffic accidents during the evening hours, but the truth is that nearly 75 of motorcycle accidents in Tennessee happened during daylight hours.

The Tennessee Department of Safety offers these safety tips to help passenger-vehicle motorists avoid an accident with a motorcycle:

-Stay out of their lane. Motorcyclists need a full lane and enough space to respond to a number of roadway hazards and they need to have full visibility of the area around them.

-Check your vehicle’s blind spots. Many accidents occur because vehicles don’t check these areas where motorcyclists can get lost.

-Always make use of your turn signal. Making your maneuvers known will help them to anticipate traffic flow.

-Lookout at intersections. Nearly 70 percent of accidents that involved a car and a motorcycle happened when a car turned in front of a motorcyclist.

-Don’t follow too closely. You should allow at least a four-second following distance between your car and a motorcycle. Give them extra space in bad weather.
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