Speeding causes fatal car accidents across the country each year, and Nashville is no exception. In fact, the Nashville area ranks among the 40 worst U.S. cities for drivers.
Davidson County saw 100 traffic fatalities in 2019 and 108 so far in 2020. And although other counties have higher fatalities rates, Davidson County has the highest crash rate in the state.
Speeding is an important factor in fatal car accidents in Nashville. Davidson County has the highest rate of speed-related crashes in Tennessee, averaging 1,355 speeding crashes per year between 2015 and 2019.
Those numbers are concerning, to say the least. If you have suffered serious injury or lost a loved one as a result of a Nashville vehicle crash, you may be wondering what to do next. The experienced car accident and wrongful death attorneys at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers understand what you are going through. We have spent 44 years helping crash victims in Tennessee and Kentucky seek the compensation they need and the justice they deserve.
Recent Fatal Nashville Speeding Accidents
Every year we see speeding as a factor in fatal car accidents in Nashville.
In November 2020 speeding led to tragic results when a 23-year-old driver lost control of his car after hitting a curve on Murfreesboro Pike. He drove the car into oncoming traffic and hit two other cars before being hit by a pickup truck. The driver of the car died, and occupants in the other three vehicles suffered injury.
In another accident in October 2020, a 21-year-old lost control at a curve while speeding on I-40 and crashed into a rock wall. Although he injured no one else, the young driver was tragically killed as a result of the crash.
Back in March, yet another driver lost control and crashed into a wall when speeding in wet road conditions. That driver was also killed.
None of these three accidents involved alcohol. The drivers simply lost control of their vehicles as a result of speeding. Many people think that speeding is not that big of a deal. Until it is. Unfortunately, too many people pay the price for their own or another driver’s decision to drive too fast.
Drag Racing Is a Problem in Nashville
Many don’t realize that Nashville is the home of many car enthusiasts. It’s also home to one of the biggest auto shows in the country, attracting 50,000 visitors each year. The downside is that some of these car enthusiasts participate in dangerous drag racing on Nashville streets.
In fact, drag racing is a growing problem in Nashville. Counilwoman Joy Styles reports that she receives complaints “every single weekend in regards to drag racing.” She says drag racing has caused many accidents, including ones involving cars running off the road and even running into homes.
Drag racing has become an even bigger problem during the COVID-19 pandemic, since fewer cars on the road mean more open roads for racing. In November 2020, Nashville police stopped 21 cars in one night as part of a street racer sting. They handed out numerous reckless driving citations and even arrested two drivers and impounded their cars.
Councilwoman Styles is working to get license plate scanners installed on public roads to help cut down on drag racing. And police are continuing to combat street racing by increasing patrols and monitoring social media.
Tennessee Laws on Speeding
To keep motorists safe, Tennessee has numerous laws on the books to penalize reckless behavior such as speeding. Those who speed can face civil liability and even criminal charges as a result of their actions.
General Speeding Laws
Like other states, Tennessee posts specific speed limits for different roads. If you violate the speed limit, you can get a speeding ticket.
However, Tennessee also has a basic speeding law, which requires drivers to operate their vehicle at a safe speed for the “existing circumstances,” regardless of the speed limit. For example, if the posted speed limit is 55 mph but you are driving in a snow storm, it may be unreasonable to drive 55 mph. If you lose control of your car and hit another vehicle, you could get a ticket or be held liable for resulting damages.
Reckless driving is also illegal in Tennesee. There are a number of ways to commit reckess driving. Generally, reckless driving involves driving a vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Although going a few miles over the speed limit generally won’t count as reckless driving, excessive speeding typically qualifies as willful or wanton disregard for safety.
If you were in a car accident with a driver who received a citation for reckless driving, this can be helpful evidence for your personal injury claim. It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your options.
Under Tennessee law, drag racing is illegal. Drag racing can include using a vehicle for any of the following purposes:
- Determining the vehicle’s maximum speed or its maximum speed within a certain distance or time;
- Comparing the vehicle’s speed with that of another vehicle;
- Attempting to “outgain, outdistance, or to arrive at a given destination” before or at the same time as another vehicle; or
- Accepting or carrying out a challenge relating to a vehicle’s performance.
Someone who participates in drag racing on a public road or an area frequented by the public can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. Participants include those who arrange or supervise drag races, even if they are not actually driving.
When drag racers cause injury, they may face not only criminal penalties but financial consequences as well. Victims of accidents caused by drag racers can bring civil lawsuits to recover for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
If someone recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another by operating a vehicle, they can be charged with vehicular assault. Serious injury caused by drag racing falls into this category.
Consequences for vehicular assault can include significant prison time and fines. Moreover, someone who commits vehicular assault will have financial liablity for any resulting injuries.
If someone dies as a result of reckless driving or drag racing it can constitute vehicular homicide. Vehicular homicide is a felony and can have serious criminal consequences. If the driver has previous convictions for vehicular assault or vehicular homicide, the state may charge them with aggravated vehicular homicide, which is equivalent to second-degree murder in seriousness.
Those who lose a loved one as a result of vehicular homicide may have a cause of action for wrongful death. This means that they will have the right to bring a lawsuit against the reckless driver and seek damages for things like:
- Loss of financial support provided by the deceased person,
- Funeral and burial expenses,
- Emotional anguish,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of the deceased person’s love and companionship.
Even if the driver does not receive a vehicular homicide conviction, you can seek damages for the wrongful death. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you evaluate your claim and advise you of your options.
Have You Suffered Injury or Lost a Loved One Because of a Speeding Driver?
When people speed, tragedy can happen. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a speeding driver, help is available. You have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver for all your financial losses as well as your physical and emotional damages.
Insurance companies will try to downplay the speeding driver’s role in the accident. They may even try to suggest that your actions played a role in the accident. An attorney can help you stand up to the insurance company and hold them accountable for what they owe you. Your attorney can investigate your claim, gather evidence, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
If you know that a speeding driver violated one of the laws discussed above, reach out to an attorney right away. Even if the State does not pursue criminal charges, you can seek compensation for your losses from the at-fault driver. If the State does charge the wrongdoer with a crime, you still need to speak with a personal injury lawyer to protect your own interests.
A criminal conviction can punish the speeding driver for their reckless actions, but it won’t help you pay your medical bills. An attorney who regularly handles personal injury and wrongful death cases can help ensure you get the financial support you need after an accident.
Flora Templeton Stuart Can Help
If you need legal help, reach out to the knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers. We have helped thousands of clients recover millions of dollars in accident compensation.
We go the extra mile to ensure you have the help you need. For example, we can refer you to excellent doctors to receive the treatment you need for your injuries. We will even travel to you if you’re unable to come to our office. Plus, you won’t pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for you.
Call us or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation and get started on your claim. We have offices close by and can travel to you. No fee is charged unless we win your case.