By David Peel
Number one and I hope most importantly, the regret that one feels when someone has injured another human being through an accidental act or omission.
Number two the terror that fills your heart when one year later this brings you a summons saying you are being sued.
Most of us carry insurance, effectively gambling that we are going to accidentally injure someone else either while driving or while they are at our home or business.
But when the sheriff wakes you up at 4:30 a.m. with a civil summons and you find out you’re being sued for $1 million, knowing that you have insurance is cold comfort. You feel personally attacked and very vulnerable. While your auto, home or business insurance will provide an excellent Law Firm to defend you and pay any claims within limits, it still feels very personal to the person being sued.
And again, this is not even a mention of the fact that someone was injured allegedly due to your negligence. So here are a few tips to help keep you from having that visit from the sheriff:
1. Drive defensively. You’ve heard it said before, but it means that at four-way stops allow others to go and don’t jump out just because it’s your right. At green lights, treat that as an invitation to proceed but make sure it’s safe to do so. Basically, plan on the other drivers not being as good as you and avoid left turns wherever possible.
2. Do not text and drive. It is illegal in the state of Tennessee to do so. And while it is legal to place phone calls, anything that distracts you from driving, until we have the full robot cars, means that you are putting yourself and others at risk.
3. Take a walk around your home or business. Things like potholes develop in a parking lot slowly and like the proverbial frog in the pot, the change is so gradual that some people do not notice that a real hazard has developed. Loose steps and railings, and things that you know to step over or avoid will not be necessarily known to your guests.
4. Your dog can get you sued. Any breed of dog can lead to an injury, whether it be the obvious attack or the less obvious tripping or chasing someone who panics. Put the dog up if in any doubt.
5. If there is an accident, get photographs or video on the scene if it all possible and be sure to get all the witnesses. I have seen cases where someone is sued simply because the witnesses did not stay thinking everything was obvious and later a different story emerged about what supposedly happened. Assume that you’re defending yourself immediately regardless of whose fault the crash is.
Y’all be safe out there.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in tractor trailer and car accidents, medical malpractice, and disability. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.