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Articles Tagged with accidents

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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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truck-on-highway-KY-300x225Generally, when someone is hurt due to another party’s negligence, the injured person has a right to seek fair compensation in a court of law. When the alleged breach of duty was by a governmental entity or government employee, however, different rules apply.

At common law, the government could not be held liable for injuries caused by negligence. This was because of the “sovereign immunity” doctrine, which held that “the king can do no wrong.”

While it is now possible to file suit against the government and be awarded money damages under some circumstances, such cases tend to be much more difficult than if the defendant had been a business or individual without government ties.

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truck accidentBecause of the disproportionate size and weight between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles, people in the smaller vehicles tend to suffer more serious injuries in a tractor-trailer accident.

However, as a recent case illustrates, truckers also can be injured – especially when both of the involved vehicles are 18-wheelers.

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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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It is not unusual for an insurers to balk at paying medical expenses for injuries suffered in a car accident or to take the stance that an accident was too minor to have resulted in a serious injury. Medical experts often disagree with this position, however, since each person has a different threshold for injury, and even a “minor” crash can cause permanently disabling injuries.

In one recent case, chiropractic bills were the subject of a lawsuit in which an injured person sought to have those covered by an insurance company.

 

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sidewalk in town

Lawsuits arising from negligent operation of a motor vehicle typically involve two drivers, each driving his or her own vehicle. Passengers in one or both vehicles may also be parties to the suit if they were injured in the collision. Sometimes, the case involves a pedestrian accident.

Regardless of whether the person seeking to recover compensation following an automobile accident is a motorist, a passenger, or a pedestrian, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant was negligent. This means that he or she failed to act in a prudent manner, causing harm to the plaintiff.

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handshake deal

Do you know how much uninsured motorist coverage you have, or whether you have such coverage at all? One man thought that he had such coverage, but, as it turns out, uninsured motorist coverage was not part of his insurance plan with Allstate.

In a case that went all the way to the state’s highest court, the parties vehemently disagreed about the issue of coverage. Ultimately, the man lost his case in an appellate court opinion issued some 10 years after the automobile accident that led to the dispute.

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distracted driving, phones, carWe live in an increasingly fast-paced society in which people take on multiple activities at once to get more things done. The level of risk that accompanies this habit varies according to the tasks at hand. For instance, if a person decides to drink coffee while reading a book, the worst thing that will probably happen is that the book will get ruined by spilled coffee. But in distracted driving cases, the level of risk goes up substantially.

When a driver attempts to do another task, such as sending a text message, changing music, or applying makeup, the risk of a serious injury or death is high.

Our firm has seen multiple accidents in which people were seriously injured or even died due to distracted drivers. In an Atlanta case that’s gotten national attention, a teenage driver was using SnapChat while driving and became involved in an accident in which a man was left with traumatic brain injuries. Part of the evidence in the case is a SnapChat screen shot that indicates the teen was driving more than 100 miles per hour. You can read about this case in an article on the TechCrunch news web site.

If you’re not familiar with it, SnapChat is a social media application for smart phones that allows users to record video or photos and add more information, drawings and writing over the photos. One of the ways to use SnapChat is to add a filter over the photo that shows more information about where the photo was taken. One option is a filter that shows speed. While that’s fine to use if you’re a passenger, and kinda fun to use if you’re traveling 400 miles per hour on an airplane, it’s a terrible idea to use this feature while driving. We feel like this should go without saying – but obviously, some need to hear it.

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By Kyle Roby, attorney
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

guardrailsMetal guardrails run alongside many highways, particularly those that hug a steep embankment. They’re designed to protect those in a car if it careens off the highway. In some cases, though, guardrails are making accidents much more deadly than they should be.

A recent accident here in Bowling Green could have possibly had a different outcome if a guardrail was not involved. A car veered off of Morgantown Road and hit the support wires of a utility pole and the guardrail. The guardrail penetrated the car and hit the driver. She was killed. Two others were hospitalized with serious injuries, and two more were treated locally for less severe injuries.

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