Tuesday, December 31, 2013



Is someone borrowing your car?

At some point, everyone has let another person drive his car.

However, did you know that you could be liable for injuries caused by the person driving the car. It is important to understand when you are liable for injuries that are caused by someone else driving your car.

In Tennessee, a car owner can be liable for letting another person driving his car if he is doing so with his permission.

In other words, you cannot normally be held liable if your car is stolen and it causes a wreck.

In negligent entrustment, the car owner knows that the person borrowing the car is an unfit or reckless driver. In this case, the car owner can again be liable for injuries and damage to another person and his car. However, in order for the car owner to be liable, it must be shown that the car owner either knew or should have known that the driver was not competent or was reckless at the time he gave the borrower permission to take the car.

A car owner can also be liable for letting an intoxicated driver borrow the car. And, a car owner can be liable for letting someone with a medical condition, which affects the person’s ability to drive, borrow the car.

Ultimately, you are responsible, (with your assets) to pay for accidents caused by a permissive driver of your car. If you lent it to a reckless or intoxicated person, you might be liable for punitive damages as well.

Be careful about lending.

You might be getting trouble back in return.



It was bound to happen. Chimps are similar enough to people that many so-called “scientists” actually think that humans evolved from common ape-like ancestors.

So, maybe it should not shock us that entire groups are now suing on their behalf, to cause them to recognized as “persons” under the law.

“Personhood” is a term also extended in the law to corporations (Wal-Mart, Exxon, etc.) even though they are not human beings.  Wal-Mart is not the late Sam Walton, nor is Apple the late Steve Jobs. Corporations can own property, sue, be sued and issue stock, for example.

As persons under the law, the chimps would be eligible for some legal protection, such as not being used in medical experiments or kept in cages. The medical experiments often benefit human beings, ironically, because of their physical similarities to humans.

Steven Wise, an author and animal rights activist has filed several lawsuits on behalf of chimpanzees. He runs a group called the “Nonhuman Rights Project,” advocating legal personhood for chimps and other animals. In one case, he calls chimpanzees autonomous, self-determined, self-aware, intelligent, and emotionally complex beings, that cognitively resemble human beings.

As such, this movement tries to ban their use in circuses, their captivity in zoos, and also their use in medical testing for diseases.  In what might be a sign of things to come, New Zealand and Spain extended personhood protections to the great apes. Other countries have banned research on great apes.

Wise argues, "The act of denying equality in order to enslave, based on a single trait, jeopardizes the equality of everyone."

What about fetuses? Why can’t we protect humans? The one trait that differs is simply viability outside the womb.

Those of us who know that chimps and humans were both specially created by God on day 6 can both acknowledge that humans have dominion over all the animals, but we can also be compassionate in our care of chimps and others.

I, personally, would like to see at least the same compassion extended to the unborn by the abolition of abortion.



If you drive a recent model Hyundai or Kia, you might be getting some money back as result of a $400 million class action settlement that is pending. 

The consolidated Hyundai/Kia Mileage Class Action Lawsuit case is “In Re: Hyundai and Kia Fuel Economy Litigation,” MDL 2424.

Both Kia and Hyundai admitted some of the fuel economy numbers on their stickers were inaccurate. Not surprisingly, they were higher on the sticker than in the real world. 

Each Kia owner in the class action settlement may get about $667, while Hyundai owners are expected to get an average of about $353. There had been some debit cards issued by the attempting to reimburse for the difference in mileage. There is also an incentive to buy another car. 

The Kia vehicles include the Rio, Sportage, Sorento, Soul and Optima hybrid.

The Hyundai vehicles included in the class action settlement are the Azera, Accent, Elantra, Veloster, Veloster Turbo, Sonata Hybrid, Genesis, Tucson and Santa Fe Sport.

In the case of the 2013 Kia Soul its sticker is now lowered a whopping 6 mpg from the fictional 34 mpg down to the actual 28 mpg. The Hyundai Santa Fe plunged from 33 mpg to an actual 29 mpg.

Making some assumptions, let’s say 6 mpg per a tank of 15 gallons equals 90 mpg that does not exist but was supposed to. Per fill up, that’s 3.2 gallons at 3.50 a gallon or $11.25 per tank extra that would not have been burnt.  That’s $585 a year with merely a once-a-week fill up.

That’s a lot of money to a working mom, but not enough to hire a lawyer and tackle a large Korean car manufacturer. That’s what class actions do.  They pool losses like that and spread the costs and risks over the class. The money each receives may not be much, but it stops the system form encouraging this behavior.  It helps everyone.

Other class actions currently pending include items as wide and varied as DePuy hip implants, Trex decking, Ebay charges and Alexia potato products.

Class actions keep us all safer and help keep companies treating us fairly.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Here are five (5) LEGAL resolutions can help yourself and your family.

1.    Shoot a video. Make a videotape of all of your household goods, just by walking through the house and opening closets and attics. If you suffer loss due to tornado, fire, theft or earthquake (optional coverage) you can easily fill out claim forms. You will be housed in an apartment or hotel your insurance company places you in, and you can just play and pause the video. See Proverbs 27:23. Be sure to store the video with family or friends and not in your home!

2.    Buy more UM coverage. UM stands for Uninsured/Under-insured Motorists coverage. On your car, you should carry at least $100,000.00 of this coverage. It is very cheap, compared to what you may receive. It only pays you, your family or those in your car if they are injured or killed by an unknown, under-insured or uninsured motorist. See 1 Timothy 5:8. It is vital. If you do nothing else, do this.

3.    Check your credit. You can do this for free, courtesy of our government, once per year per agency at www.annualcreditreport.com.  And never co-sign!  See Proverbs 17:18. This credit check will help you spot identity theft and open cards you may have forgotten about.

4.    Check your house and land for hazards. Are there rotten trees overhanging your driveway? Do you have a good fence around your pool? Is your dog properly secured?  Are your steps solid, and your stair railings tight? Are there holes in your yard? Is there plenty of lighting available at night? If you have cattle, are your fences in good shape without overhanging limbs or unlocked gates? See Exodus 21:33. Even though you are not automatically liable for injuries on your property, an ounce of prevention stops most injuries.

5.     Do you have life insurance? Many do not. It is common for grief-stricken widows to have to work two jobs to pay the funeral off. Is that your plan for your loved ones? See Proverbs 13:22. Buy insurance, and term is usually cheapest.

These few pointers may make a real difference for you this year. And, they are not nearly as hard as a resolution to lose some weight!

Friday, November 15, 2013


Aging, Injury and Long-Term Care Loom Like a Storm

Some of my severely injured clients require long-term care.  You might be surprised to learn that almost half of those that require long-term care or other similar assistance are under the age of 65!

Two out of every three of us will require long-term care at some point in our lives. That also means that 66% of us will miss more than six months of income during our working lives!

In handling personal injury, medical malpractice, workers compensation and social security disability for years now, I have seen how massive an impact that can be.  Most folks cannot go six months without that income, and then caregivers are usually unable to work. This puts two folks out of the workforce.

Add to that, the soon-coming storm.

The population shift that we are living through is bigger than any of us can probably appreciate.  Baby boomers (born 1945-1964) and Generation X (1965-1979) have far fewer children and much less stability in marriages. (Turns out  the 60’s “free love” wasn’t so free).  As a result, there are fewer adult children alive to provide support, and many who are alive are estranged or just plain worthless.

For instance, statistically there are more than seven people that are between ages 45-64 that are available to care for those baby boomers and others currently over 65.

But, by just 2030, that drops to only four, and by 2050 maybe three! Imagine, three times the current senior population, but only a fraction of middle aged to give care and pay taxes.

So, who will take care of you and I?

I am sure our government has an answer, and I am sure I am not going to like it.

Monday, November 11, 2013



In Tennessee, all drivers are required to have automobile insurance and are not supposed to drink and drive. Some violate both laws. Especially around the holidays.

If you are injured by a drunk driver, you may be able to receive money damages for medical bills, lost wages, lost enjoyment of life, or punitive damages, even if he is is uninsured.  But, it is important to understand what happens after you are hit by a drunk driver so that you can make sure you get what you deserve.

In Tennessee, an automobile insurance policy must meet certain requirements. It must cover only $25,000 for one injury or death. Also, it must cover $50,000 for all injuries or deaths from one accident. And, it must cover $15,000 for property damage for one accident. It is important to note that these are the requirements for the minimum coverage required. Some drivers may have automobile insurance policies with higher coverage, but we can all agree $25,000 may not cover just the medical bills.

Your own automobile insurance policy often has “UM” coverage for those that have little or no coverage. UM acts like the drunk driver’s coverage in all ways, even though it’s your insurance company. That’s where your medical bills and pain and suffering are paid through. Do not be afraid to make that claim. Also, try to carry at least $100,000 in UM.

If you have been hit by a drunk driver, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible to document any injuries you have sustained and minimize your injuries. The automobile insurance companies will look at this information when determining how much money they should give you for your injuries.  Delaying treatment can hurt your case and diminish your credibility. 

Always put your own insurance company on notice of any accident, and check your UM policy to see if you are underinsured yourself.

Drive safely this holiday season.

Friday, November 1, 2013



Motorcyclists are often thought of as being reckless. We have all seen one pop a wheelie in traffic or roar carelessly around and weave through traffic.

But, in Tennessee, most motorcycle accidents are not the fault of the motorcycle driver. Usually, it is automobile drivers who fail to watch out for motorcyclists when making turns at intersections. And the consequences to the motorcycle driver can be devastating.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2011 over 4,500 people in the United States were killed in motorcycle accidents, which represent 14 percent of all traffic fatalities for that year. The NTSB concluded that people on motorcycles are 30 times more likely than people in passenger vehicles to die in a crash, and 5 times more likely to sustain personal injury in a crash.

If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in an accident while on a motorcycle in Tennessee, understand that the same Tennessee laws apply equally to motorcycles as they do passenger vehicles, including the requirement that a negligent driver who causes an accident must compensate you for your injuries and other damages.  

Look twice when turning left, and let’s protect the most vulnerable motorists on the road.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thinking about Law School??

As an injury lawyer running my own firm for over 13 years now, I am often asked if I think someone should go to law school.  In general, I discourage it. Here is why.
Back in the mid-1990s, when I graduated, jobs were plentiful enough that most of my peers were employed before graduation.  Even as recently as 2007, some statistics showed that a whopping 91% of law school graduates were hired, and usually at very good compensation rates. But just two years later, in 2009, full time legal placement was reported at only 65%.
Let’s do some math here.  Average college grads are already carrying $26,000 in student loan debt when they earn their sheepskin and might get accepted to law school. Then, average school debt for newly minted law school graduates is $100,000.
So, the average hopeful lawyer-to-be may have $126,000 in debt, plus interest, riding on his or her ability to land a very scarce legal job!
But this is what they find: Insurance companies have fired large firms and gone in-house with their lawyers.  These able attorneys are on salary and thus, costs are held down, and insurance defense firms that once hired many top grads have shrunken.  Travel costs have also been cut.  There was a time that if a large insurance company asked their attorney to travel overnight, he would bill “portal to portal.” In other words, billing would begin as he exited his door and continue till he returned to that door.  Now, travel is often expected to be absorbed as a “soft cost.”  Software and web-available forms are now to the point that some review and document drafting is automated.  India has lawyers that will do some of the tedious work for 20% of an American attorney’s pay.  Insurance companies and large clients also have services review attorney billing to cut costs anyway they can. Many lawyers will tell you that their rate has not increased in ten years! 
So, is law school for you? 
In this climate, or any other, I would say only if you are called to it.  If not, there are easier ways to make a living.  If you like to argue, salesmen get more opportunities to do that than attorneys.  If you like to analyze, reporters and accountants do that more than lawyers do. If you like the idea of changing people’s lives, social workers and nurses have much more daily ability to do so. 
But if, like me, you are called to plead the case of the injured, little man against the Goliaths of the world, you must go and go now.
Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.



In the midst of the government shut down, something even more troubling occurred at a few Wal-Marts in Louisiana: legalized looting.

When one says, “looting,” most picture youths with television sets under each arm in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. That was overlooked, many cases, by the overwhelmed New Orleans police force.
However, in this Louisiana looting event that occurred on Saturday, October 12, 2013, the police simply kept order as shoppers simply gathered as much as they could carry—for FREE!

Of course, nothing is free. Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards are government food stamps cards with a set limit to spend. However, due a computer glitch, the limits disappeared for a few hours. The result? Legalized looting.

Some piled their carts high, until the announcement that the problem was corrected. Then carts, overflowing with coveted items, were cast off and abandoned throughout the store, as those disappointed they did not steal fast enough, left the store.

Was it looting and thus stealing? Of course, it was.  The issue is the justification we, as sinners, we go through to justify violating, in this case, at least the 8th, 9th and 10th Commandments. Coveting leads to lying and then to stealing.

These losses must be absorbed, either by the federal government itself, or even possibly by Wal-Mart who realized the error quickly, but did nothing to stop it. Do these folks not realize that the “government” is all of us? Are they ever taught there is no free lunch? Do they acknowledge that every loss must be paid for by someone, somewhere?

I have had this experience in a small scale myself, and I suspect you have, too. Have you ever had a vending machine that gave you drinks for free? I had that happen when I was young, and I know at whatever age I was, I took more than one with the “justification” that I had put money in before, and it had shorted me a drink. So, while that is not equivalent to taking say, $700 worth of groceries (a felony), the human nature aspect is the same.

No doubt, these opportunists were thinking that “Wal-Mart is a big, rich company and they can afford it.” Which, while true, has no bearing on their actions’ morality. Today, many are justifying the EBT cardholders’ actions, saying, “They just wanted food!”

What if we have a real shutdown and the government defaults such that the 47 million EBT cards stop working for a week or two? This was a two hour-long glitch and it left two Wal-Marts in shambles even with police presence.  What will “illegal looting” look like? We have all been warned.
Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tribute to Veterans

One Man’s Thoughts on 9/11, War & Veterans
I stood crying, seeing the smoke fill up the blue New York sky twelve years ago, and I wept for the world that my children would grow up in.

I saw heroic role models, like firefighters, police, port authority officers and EMS running up when all others were running out. We watched our neighbors plunge 80 stories to their death rather than be burned alive.

America now stands as the only remaining Super Power in the world, but we are now standing more and more alone. This makes our brave men and women out there our last line of defense for those who wish to do us harm.

I have lived all my life under a “Blanket of Security” that I have not earned or really sacrificed for.

This “Blanket of Security” is sewn with the bloody patches of innumerable soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen, emergency workers, police and firefighters.

Many did not return to their families expectantly waiting back home.

This Blanket of Security is stitched with the stained gauze covering the unknowable number of bloody wounds suffered. But many have come back with invisible wounds—like PTSD or without the ability to walk, or talk, or even think clearly. The ghosts of battle still haunt the nightmares of some of our finest. Too often, a soldier’s very youth itself lies dead on the battlefield as the same, but now much older-than-his-age soldier, limps home.

And on the home front, how many children prayed every night for God to keep their Daddies and Mommies safe from the wars? Those prayers were often answered in the negative.

This Blanket of Security is currently all that separates us from Iran, who told the world to imagine itself without the United States, and wishes to wipe Israel from the map. It is the strong shield that protects us from Islamic cowards who killed unarmed pilots, and flew our own planes filled with innocent civilians into buildings on 9/11.

This Blanket of Security is the only moat around the castle of our country that protects us from the likes of a North Korean dictator who keeps their people locked in an atheistic, intellectual closet, controls nuclear bombs and a million-man army. His people are starving and doing without, so he can try and command world respect form a world his people will never know anything of.

I have never contributed a patch to this blanket personally. I have never supplied a stitch to hold it together. I am therefore, most indebted to those that have.

We, as Americans, should never leave any doubt where we stand in support of our troops. Where they are, so should be our prayers, our support, our blessings and our pride. This is especially true as we have been recalling 9/11.

Thank you Veterans, First Responders and your families who make up our “Blanket,” from families and staff of PEEL LAW FIRM

May God Bless America, and May America again Bless God.

Car Accidents & Insurance

On average, you will have some type of car accident once per decade. As an injury lawyer, I see the most serious car accidents.
Many, if not most car accidents are minor. Most are so-called “fender benders.”  In these less serious accidents, such a bump in parking lot without any visible damage, it will be tempting to just let it go.  However, take photos and at least exchange information (name, address, phone, license plate, number driver's license number, insurance information and any witness contacts).
If it was just you, and you simply backed into a tree in your yard, or your own garage door, and the damage is close to your deductible amount, there is no need to report it to police or your insurance.
However, hitting another vehicle can lead to unforeseen consequences. Damage to cars are often may be much worse underneath than they look from eye level.  Many of my clients suffer soft-tissue injuries they themselves did not even think they had at the scene.
If you feel tight, sore or at all affected by the accident, allow the EMS ambulance to take you to Emergency Room. You are in no position to diagnose yourself. While the ER will only rule out the most obvious injuries, it documents your complaints. This can be important later if you injuries prove much more serious than you initially suspected.
Specialists are needed to evaluate back and neck problems, often relying on an MRI scan. Sometimes, inflammation can increase to such an extent that it impinges upon a nerve. This is often the case with someone noticing numbness and tingling in the hands, or down the legs into the feet. These symptoms should never be ignored.
Insurance companies try to get recorded phone statements from the injured parties very early on. If they succeed, only the initially noted injuries will be recorded. This makes it more difficult to tie in later appearing problems later. As such, giving a statement to the opposing insurance company should be viewed for what is. It is a chance for that opposing insurance company to minimize or even deny your claim.
The earlier the wise counsel you obtain, from doctors and an injury lawyer, the less regrets you may have.