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Articles Tagged with accident

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

Each state has its own rules as to how to handle a case in which both the plaintiff and the defendant are alleged to have been negligent in causing an accident. In a Kentucky car wreck case, the law of pure comparative fault applies. (In some other states, the rule may be modified comparative fault or pure contributory negligence.)

Under the doctrine of pure comparative fault followed in Kentucky, the plaintiff can recover money damages from the defendant as long as he or she is not found to be 100% at fault; however, he or she is only entitled to recover the percentage of total damages attributed to the defendant’s negligence.

Such cases are often hotly contested, since each party may try to pin all or most of the blame for the crash on the other side.

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By Kurt Maier, Attorney and Partner
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

car wreck in KentuckyAs we approach Thanksgiving, travel is on the minds of many Americans.

AAA typically releases a travel forecast for Thanksgiving, but hasn’t done so yet this year. In 2016, AAA predicted that 48.7 million people would travel for Thanksgiving, with driving being by far the most popular option for getting to that destination. This was an increase from previous years, thanks to lower gas prices and improved economic conditions.

Much of that travel is by car, with many heading out on Wednesday, November 22, this year to visit family for Thanksgiving. In the south, it seems like there is road construction year-round, and that creates a lot of stop-and-go traffic. Top that off with uncertain chilly weather that can even turn icy and you’ll find a near-perfect set up for car wrecks.

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Kentucky auto accidentKentucky is a no-fault insurance state. This simply means that each party in a Kentucky auto accident case must first seek payment of medical expenses up to $10,000 from their own insurance companies through a claim for basic reparations benefits (also known as personal injury protection – or PIP – benefits). If a person sustains serious injuries, it is usually still possible to pursue compensation from the negligent motorist.

Facts of the Case

In a recent (unreported) case appealed from the Jefferson Circuit Court, the insured motorist was a woman whose vehicle was struck from behind in a multi-car accident in May 2015. At the scene, the insured motorist did not report any injuries, but there was minor damage to her vehicle’s rear bumper. The insured motorist later sought chiropractic treatment for injuries she alleged resulted from the accident, submitting the bills to the insurance company for payment under her basic reparation benefits (BRB).

The insurance company did not pay the insured motorist’s medical expenses, instead filing a petition to compel the insured motorist to give a pre-litigation deposition. The insured motorist filed a counterclaim, alleging that the insurance company’s refusal to pay her medical expenses immediately was a violation of the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Reparations Act. The circuit court found that the insurance company had shown good cause for its request for a deposition and ordered the insured motorist to comply within 30 days. It also dismissed the insured motorist’s counterclaim.

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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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gas station

Attorneys who routinely handle personal injury cases often tell clients that it can take anywhere from a few months to several years for their case to make its way through the courts or settle.

Typically, however, the litigation process does not take anywhere near as long as it did in a case decided in March by the Kentucky’s highest court. In that case, a decade passed between the plaintiff’s initial injury and the court’s decision.

One factor that extended the case’s time in the courts was a change in the applicable law while the case was pending. Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, the court’s decision required their case to, once again, be remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

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X-Ray

Our civil justice system is built on the premise that a jury of disinterested individuals is in the best position to determine matters such as the credibility of witnesses and the amount of money that a person injured by another person’s negligence should receive in compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and so on.

Unfortunately, no system is perfect. Even juries sometimes get it wrong. When that happens, it is the trial judge’s job to grant a new trial so that justice may prevail.

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tractor trailerLawsuits arising from 18-wheeler accidents can be very complex. One reason for this is that the tractor and trailer may be owned by or insured by different entities. This greatly complicates the path to recovery of a fair settlement or judgment for a person injured in a semi-truck wreck.

In a recent case, a rather unique issue arose. The owner of a certain tractor-trailer requested liability insurance on both the tractor and the trailer, but the insurance agent accidentally left the tractor off of the list of the trucking company’s vehicles when she sent the application to the insurance company.

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parking areaIn a pedestrian accident involving a motor vehicle, most people would assume that the pedestrian’s medical expenses and other damages would be paid by the driver’s insurance carrier. If for some reason that did not happen, most would assume the injured person’s own uninsured motorist insurance would honor its contractual obligation and pay the medical claim.

Unfortunately, those assumptions proved to be wrong in a case arising from an incident that occurred in 2012. Instead, the injured man had to file a lawsuit and take his case all the way to the state supreme court in order to obtain relief under uninsured motor vehicle provisions in his insurance.

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motorcycle tailpipe

How much do you know about your insurance coverage? For instance, if you have two cars insured under separate uninsured/underinsured motorist policies, do you assume that you are covered under both policies for an accident in either vehicle? Or do you know that there may be an insurance exclusion that applies?

This issue was the subject of a recent Kentucky Supreme Court case in which the justices strongly disagreed about whether an “average American” could understand certain exclusions in two insurance policies issued to a man who was later hurt by an underinsured driver.

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large bus

Pursuant to the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, certain governmental entities can be held liable for damages resulting from their negligence. In this bus injury case, the plaintiff won the first round, but a higher court overturned the ruling.

In order to succeed in such a negligence case, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, that the defendant engaged in conduct that amounted to a breach of that duty, that the plaintiff sustained an injury or loss, and that there was causation (both causation in fact and proximate or legal causation). If any of these elements fails, so does the plaintiff’s cause of action.

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