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Chattanooga Law Blog

FAQ: Do I need uninsured motorist insurance?

Most Tennessee drivers know that state law requires you to have liability auto insurance that covers injuries and property damage if an accident occurs.

The state insurance requirements are meant to cover your liability if you are at fault for causing the accident. But what about when you are not at fault? You may have medical and property damage insurance to cover some aspects, but what if the negligent driver does not have enough liability insurance to cover the damages they caused? In Tennessee, the minimum requirement is only $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. In today's world that may be little more than one ambulance ride to the hospital.

Should a DUI mean police no longer need a search warrant to enter your home?

When the police enter a home, they generally need a search warrant -- or an exception to the search warrant requirement. While there are exceptions, when it comes to your home, the courts take the warrant requirement very seriously.

One of the exceptions is "hot pursuit" of a suspect. In such a case, the suspect flees from the police and enters his or her own residence. Assuming they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, the police may be allowed to follow the fleeing suspect, even if it means entering the residence.

Know the rules of using an ignition interlock device

Most people know that there is a wide range of consequences they could deal with if they face DUI charges. We have discussed several such penalties in previous blog posts.

The mandatory use of an ignition interlock device is one of those consequences - and individuals must understand all that this requirement entails, so they do not face even more risks.

Jerry H. Summers publishes 'Tennessee Trivia No. 1,' his sixth book

Chattanooga lawyer Jerry H. Summers has just released his sixth book, "Tennessee Trivia No. 1." It is a compilation of short stories and photos that bring southeast Tennessee's past to life.

The reviews are in and they are positive. Sam Elliott, a Chattanooga attorney, author and historian called Summers' new book, "a well-researched volume of history and folklore that will delight the reader."

He adds that Summers highlights "the often forgotten places and events that make southeast Tennessee a marvelous place."

The 190-page book features more than 60 stories, including tales about a rags-to-riches lawyer, the old Chattanooga law school and the "divorce mill" scandal.

NHTSA: Repair your vehicle's safety recalls now

Every year, there are hundreds of safety recalls involving motor vehicles. Yet many people never make the required repairs, even though they are free. They may not know their vehicles are subject to recalls because the auto maker's communication was insufficient. They may receive a recall notice but not realize how important it is to get the repair.

Every safety recall is important. A safety recall indicates a problem with the vehicle or its equipment that could cause injuries or fatalities. In some cases, injuries or deaths have already been reported. Don't risk your safety by putting off a free repair.

Could you be found at fault in a car accident?

You could, depending on the circumstances. In Tennessee, it matters because a finding of fault means you are legally responsible for the injuries and damages in the wreck to the extent you were at fault.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 6.7 million car crashes reported in 2018, the latest year for which data is available. Those crashes caused about 2.7 million injuries and more than 36,000 deaths.

Study finds lead contamination widespread in household water

It isn't just Flint, Michigan. While lead water pipes have been outlawed in homes, many still get water from systems with lead transmission lines. The lead from those lines can leach into the water delivered to the home.

Your home.

Study shows women are drinking more heavily and using more drugs this year

The pandemic has had all sorts of effects. People are driving less, but percentage rates of speeding, driving impaired, or engaging in other risky behavior is higher. Many people are at home with their families more, but they're experiencing significant loneliness. Reports of domestic violence are on the rise, perhaps driven by economic insecurity and other anxiety.

These effects may be combining to increase alcohol and drug use, especially among women, according to a recent study by Rand. That study, which involved a survey of 1,540 people, revealed that both men and women are spending more time binge drinking than they did last year. (Binge drinking was defined for men as 4+ drinks within two hours and for women as 3+ drinks within two hours.)

OxyContin maker Purdue pleads guilty to 3 criminal charges

The painkiller OxyContin has played an outsized role in the opioid crisis, which has killed at least 470,000 people since 2000. Originally intended as a drug for severe pain, OxyContin was prescribed widely for moderate pain, exposing millions to the risk of addiction and overdose.

While many factors may have contributed to the opioid crisis, many consider drug makers to have played a key role. Some allegedly misrepresented the risk of addiction when using their products. Some are said to have actively encouraged doctors to massively increase the prescriptions they wrote. Some made false reports to government agencies.

Cognitive distractions: A risk drivers must avoid

When you think of distracted driving, most people imagine someone texting while driving, doing their make-up in traffic or looking out at the scenery instead of paying attention to the road in front of them.

These are all legitimate - and dangerous - examples of distractions that drivers engage in all too often. However, some of the most unsafe behaviors are the distractions you cannot see.

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