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Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle

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People who must rely on PIP benefits available under a policy of uninsured motorist coverage following a Kentucky hit and run accident are often surprised at how contentious the process of obtaining fair compensation can be.

It might seem that the insured person and the insurance company are “on the same side,” especially if the claimant has been faithfully paying his or her premiums for many years. The truth is that an insurance company is still an insurance company. It does not matter whether a claim is paid out under a UM/UIM policy or a liability policy; the company will still do everything it can to limit the amount paid out.

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review of judgment

When a person is injured due to the negligence of another party, the injured person is entitled to pursue fair compensation for his or her injuries. In determining the amount due to a Tennessee car accident claimant, the court may consider the victim’s past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of ability to enjoy life, permanent impairment, and other factors.

If the case is tried to a jury, the jury members make this determination. If the trial court judge hears the case without a jury, he or she makes the determination.

Either way, if one party or the other is aggrieved by the amount of damages awarded by the trial court, there is the possibility of having an appellate court review the award.

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crutches

Kentucky is a “no fault” insurance state. While this does not mean that a person hurt by another person’s negligence can never seek compensation following a motor vehicle accident, it does provide that certain minimum benefits must be available to those who purchase automobile insurance, without regard to fault.

The idea is that injured individuals who suffer only minor injuries will have their medical expenses paid through their own personal injury protection (PIP) or basic reparations benefits (BRB), thus discouraging lawsuits.

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liability insurance coverageIt is not usual for a company car to be used for purposes that go beyond official work for the employer’s business. But what if the employee doesn’t work for the company any longer, but still has the vehicle? Who is responsible if the former employee gets into an accident in that vehicle? Is the business obligated to provide liability insurance coverage?

In a recent case, a dispute arose as to whether the vehicle owner’s insurance company owed liability coverage for an accident that occurred when the automobile was being used by a former employee for non-business purposes.

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eclipse drivingOn Monday, we will have an unusual opportunity here in Bowling Green and all of South Central Kentucky: we will be a prime viewing area for the solar eclipse.

This is incredibly exciting, so much so that schools are closed, local hotels are full and many special events are planned. Traffic is expected to be extremely heavy in our area as people make their way to prime viewing spots. Southern Bowling Green is expected to be one of the places that will experience totality – a total eclipse – along with Hopkinsville, which is touting itself as the point of the greatest eclipse and “eclipseville.”

Nashville, too, will have great views, so you can expect plenty of traffic between Bowling Green and Music City as well.

 

 

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clock

Compared to some states, Tennessee has a very short statute of limitations for the filing of claims involving personal injury: just one year. If a claim is not filed within this time period, the plaintiff’s case will be dismissed regardless of its merits.

In addition to filing his or her claim in court within one year of the accident, the plaintiff must also serve a summons and a copy of the complaint on the defendant within a certain time period.

A recent Tennessee personal injury case illustrates the difficulties that a claimant faced when his opponent not only moved out of the county but also filed for bankruptcy protection.

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By Kyle Roby, Attorney and Partner
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

close-up-of-road-300x200Would you consider an ATV – an all-terrain vehicle – a motor vehicle? Kentucky law and some insurance companies do not – and that’s what the case we recently won for a client concluded, to the client’s benefit.

The client, Thomas Robertson, was driving an ATV on a public roadway in Metcalfe County. Stacy Morgan was driving a vehicle on the same road, and as she attempted to pass Robertson, he turned left, and she collided with his ATV.

Both were injured in the accident. Robertson did not have insurance, but Morgan did. Robertson, driving the ATV, sought Basic Reparations Benefits (BRBs) from the insurance company that insured Morgan’s vehicle. Under the terms of Morgan’s insurance, Robertson was considered to be a pedestrian, and pedestrians are entitled to basic reparations benefits.

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golf cart accidentsBy Bob Young
Attorney and Managing Partner
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

In the past decade, golf carts have become popular for quick, easy and cheap transportation in neighborhoods, especially those near golf courses. Kentucky first allowed golf courses on public roads about 10 years ago. Golf carts are part of a class of vehicles called low speed vehicles. They’re quiet, inexpensive and considered by many to be easy to drive. Best of all, golf carts are usually rechargeable, so no gasoline is required.

Unfortunately, though, golf carts have become falsely believed to be safe, and even acceptable for those without a valid driver’s license to operate. Neither of those things are true. By law, golf carts are considered just like any other motor vehicle. You must have a valid driver’s license to operate a golf cart on public roads in Kentucky, and you must adhere to local and state laws that restrict the use of golf carts.

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calendar appThe Kentucky appellate courts seem to have heard more uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance cases than usual lately. Perhaps the court has done this intentionally for the sake of judicial economy – the reason being that it is easier to decide cases with similar issues while all of the intricacies of a particular branch of law are still fresh in the court’s mind.

Another reason may be that there are simply more UM/UIM disputes these days than in past years. Kentucky does have mandatory automobile liability insurance requirement, but the minimum required is just $25,000 per person (or $50,000 per accident) for bodily injury claims. Given the rapidly increasing costs of medical care, this coverage is often not enough to fully compensate an accident victim for his or her medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

UM/UIM coverage bridges the gap between a defendant’s liability coverage and a plaintiff’s total amount of damages, at least up to the plaintiff’s own policy limits. It is important to note that, just as in other types of personal injury cases, timeliness is very important when it comes to asserting one’s rights under a UM/UIM policy.

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Scooter

Most personal injury lawsuits settle out of court, but some do proceed to trial. Most often, this happens because the parties disagree as to who was at fault, the amount of damages to which the plaintiff is entitled, or both.

When one party is displeased with the jury’s decision, he or she has the right to appeal the trial court’s entry of judgment on the verdict to a higher court. However, much deference is afforded to the jury’s verdict, and the burden is on the appealing party to convince the appellate court that a legally reversible error was made in the lower court.

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