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Articles Tagged with accidents

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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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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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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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 We 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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Regardless of the merits of a party’s complaint, it will never be heard unless the courts find that it was timely filed. Failure to comply with the statute of limitations isn’t just a small “technicality.” It is a deal breaker when it comes to negligence litigation. A recent underinsured motorist claim case in Kentucky highlighted the importance of hitting deadlines.

It can also be a mistake to file suit on the eve of the running of the statute of limitations. As the plaintiff in the case set out below discovered, waiting until shortly before the expiration of the limitations period can be very costly.

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

big rig accidentsThis winter’s weather challenged everyone who was out driving in it, but especially those driving tractor-trailers. Some big rig accidents occurred during last week’s heavy snow, no doubt, as trucks weigh several tons and are hard to stop even during ideal driving conditions.

The best thing to do during bad weather is stay home, of course, but not everyone has that option. If you’re called into work on a day when it is snowing, your bosses are expecting you to report for duty. Those who work in hospitals, emergency responders and city government officials have no choice. It’s their duty to take care of the rest of us – and we’re certainly all grateful for that.

While truck drivers are limited in how far and how long they can drive in a day by rules created and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the government agency has rules and regulations as it relates to adverse driving conditions. Adverse conditions means snow, sleet, fog, other adverse weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, none of which were apparent on the basis of information known to the person dispatching the run at the time it was begun.

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same sex marriage loss of consortiumWhen a husband or wife dies or is severely injured as a result of someone’s negligence, the surviving spouse can typically seek damages for past medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, impairment of earning capacity and what’s called “loss of consortium.” Essentially, loss of consortium is the loss of the loved one’s love, care, services, assistance, and companionship. Loss of consortium seeks to compensate the surviving spouse for the harm endured to the marital relationship. Damages for loss of consortium can be awarded not only in wrongful death cases but also in cases in which a spouse has been severely injured and is unable to provide the love, care, services, assistance, and companionship that the couple enjoyed when both persons were healthy.

Damages for loss of consortium are only available to married couples. KRS 411.145 states that “either a wife or husband may recover damages against a third person for loss of consortium, resulting from a negligent or wrongful act of such third person.”

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

In tractor-trailer wreck lawsuits, one obvious defendant is the truck driver whose negligent driving led to the crash. The trucking company that employed him or her is usually also named as a defendant, under the doctrine of respondeat superior (which holds employers liable for the tortious acts of their employees, if the act was within the scope of the employment relationship).

In some instances, the circumstances of the accident may give rise to possible claims against others with a less obvious connection to the case.

For instance, in the recent case of Commonwealth v. Collins, the state was named as a defendant in a suit arising from a tractor-trailer wreck that also involved a school bus.

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You aren’t just imagining it. There are more commercial trucks on the road than ever before. According to statistics from the trucking industry, around two-thirds of the nation’s freight is moved by semi-truck, and it takes about 3.5 million professional truck drivers to make it happen.

Considering the tens of millions of hours these truckers spend on the road, it isn’t surprising that truck accidents, too, are on the rise. Here in Kentucky and in neighboring Tennessee, news of a fatal truck accident, especially on an interstate highway, is a common occurrence. Yet, each commercial truck wreck is unique, with its own set of facts and likely causes.

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