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Articles Tagged with car wrecks

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By Kyle Roby, Partner

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Kyle Roby

English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

All too often I get calls from people who have been rear-ended by a distracted driver. Most of the time, when no one was injured with only damage to the vehicle, there is not a need for a personal injury attorney like me to get involved, but I am always happy to provide information on how one should proceed after being rear-ended and provide a warning for potential pitfalls that may arise.

What often complicates matters is when the person that rear-ended the vehicle does not have insurance, leaving the person who got hit to fix their car out of their own pocket. In these situations, whether you are trying to seek payment for damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your own to get your car fixed, this can be an extremely frustrating experience. Here are five tips that I often share to help ease your frustration: Continue reading

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What is disputed liability and what impact does it have in the state of Kentucky?

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By: ELPO Law Attorney J.A. Sowell (jasowell@ELPOLaw.com; 270-781-6500)

Disputed liability is a term used by insurance companies when negotiating bodily injury claims made against their insured after there is an injury resulting from a car wreck. Insurance companies want to limit the amounts of money that they must pay out to injured parties. One way to accomplish this goal is by disputing that their insured is at fault in what occurred.

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Jessica Shoulders PhotoBy ELPO Law Attorney Jessica Shoulders

According to the Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year, 24 percent of weather-related crashes occur on snow, slushy, or icy roadways, and 17 percent of all vehicle crashes occur during winter conditions.  With winter approaching, it is important to know what you can do to reduce your chances of being involved in a winter weather related crash and what to do if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being involved in one.

Snow and ice reduce pavement friction and vehicle maneuverability, causing slower speeds, reduced roadway capacity, and increased crash risk. Heavy snow and sleet can also reduce visibility. Lanes and roads are obstructed by snow accumulation, which reduces capacity and increases travel time delay.  If you encounter any of these road conditions, the following tips from AAA and the NHTSA can help you avoid a crash:

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By Kyle Roby, Partner

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Kyle Roby

If you follow ELPO Law on social media (facebook.com/ELPOLaw; @ELPOLaw) or subscribe to our ELPO eNewsletter (click here to subscribe), you are familiar with articles with tips on how to protect your family with car insurance or what happens if you are involved in an accident involving an Uber driver. For most people who are involved in a car wreck, however, it is either their first accident or they have no idea on what happens next. Here are five things that you need to know after being involved in a car wreck:

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By Kyle Roby, Partner

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Kyle Roby

Most of us use the ride sharing service Uber when we need a ride because our car is in the shop or we are planning an evening out on the town. When you call for an Uber, the last thing on your mind is what happens if you are injured in an accident while riding in an Uber. However, as statistics show, accidents involving Uber drivers occur more frequently that one would imagine. Sometimes the Uber driver is at fault while other times it is the fault of another driver. But what happens to you – the passenger – if you are injured? Who will pay you medical bills, lost wages, or other damages?

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donot_enterA recent accident on Interstate 65 has claimed the life of a Brownsville man, and once again highlighted the dangers of drunk driving.

Michael Campbell, 41, was driving a Chevrolet Corvette north on Interstate 65 when his vehicle was hit head-on by another driving in the wrong direction. He was killed in the accident, which occurred on Sunday, January 11, 2015.  His passenger in the vehicle, Terry Anderson, 32, is still in the hospital recovering. According to news accounts, the driver going the wrong way on Interstate 65 told police that she had had too much to drink. She was also injured and was hospitalized, and is expected to be charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication and vehicular assault. News accounts indicate the accident with Campbell was the second accident that night the alleged drunk driver was involved in.

No one has been convicted of any crime in this case, but because of the statements the driver allegedly made, the accident has thrown a new spotlight onto the importance of always having a designated driver, a taxi or some other form of safe and sober transportation when you’ve consumed alcohol. Make arrangements ahead of the time in which you expect to be drinking alcohol so that you will not be tempted to drive after drinking. Even one drink can impair a driver, and you could face very serious consequences. Statistics from MADD show that 10,322 people were killed and another 345,000 injured in accidents involving drunk drivers in 2012.

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2012-11-04 12.59.31A 2011 accident involving a tree-trimming crew resulted in the death of one worker and injuries to another. The Kentucky Court of Appeals recently ruled on a lawsuit concerning the accident after it was appealed from Warren County Circuit Court in Bowling Green, Kentucky. You can read the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling in the case here: http://opinions.kycourts.net/coa/2013-CA-000078.pdf

The accident involved three men: James Coleman, Davison Crocker, and Dale Cherry, all of whom were employed by A&G Tree Service, Inc., which is located in Leitchfield, Kentucky. In August 2011, they were sent to a job site in Tennessee, and traveled together to the job site in a company vehicle. On the way back, an accident occurred that took the life of Cherry and injured Crocker. The employment handbook for A&G indicates that their employees are considered to be at work once they arrive at the site where their work is to occur. The workers may use company vehicles for their convenience and carpooling is permitted.

After the accident, Crocker received workers’ compensation benefits, and Cherry’s estate received workers’ compensation death benefits. Crocker sued Coleman and his personal insurance carrier, Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, arguing that Coleman’s negligent driving had caused the accident. Progressive argued that workers’ compensation should be the sole source of benefits for Coleman and Cherry’s estate, but Crocker argued that the men were not on the clock, so tort relief was also possible.

The Warren County Circuit Court did not agree. Kentucky law says that the either an employee may recover workers’ compensation benefits, if in fact their injury occurred while the employee was on the job, or the worker may recover tort damages if the employee was not on the clock at the time of the injury or damages, but the person may not recover both.

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In Wright v. Carroll, a woman who was seriously injured in a tractor-trailer crash filed a lawsuit in Elliott County Circuit Court against the driver of the big rig that struck her automobile. In her complaint, the woman accused the semi-truck driver of negligently maintaining the vehicle. She also alleged that the wreck occurred because the truck driver operated the vehicle in a negligent manner when he lost control of the 18-wheeler and entered her driving lane after navigating a blind curve in the road. In the initial trial, the jury sided with the tractor trailer operator, but that verdict was overturned by the Kentucky  Court of Appeals due to improper jury instructions.

According to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, the jurors should not have been instructed on the sudden emergency doctrine, since the tractor-trailer collision did not constitute an emergency that the driver could not have anticipated. As a result, the personal injury case was remanded for a new trial. Following a second trial, jurors again entered a verdict in favor of the truck driver. The trial court denied the woman’s motion for a directed verdict, and she appealed the jury’s decision. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that the trial court should have granted the woman’s motion and ordered the lower court to hold an additional trial only on the issue of damages. The tractor-trailer driver then sought review by the Kentucky Supreme Court.

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What happens if you’re in a funeral procession an involved in an accident? In a recent Ashland, Kentucky, case, a plaintiff unsuccessfully argued that the funeral home was at fault for the accident. The case is Christian v. Steen Funeral Home.

The accident involved a man who was a passenger in a private car that was participating in a funeral procession. The car he was in collided with another vehicle at an intersection. According to the injured man, the crash occurred because the funeral home that organized the procession failed to clearly mark the vehicles involved in the procession with flags or other markers.

Following the collision, the injured man filed a negligence lawsuit in Lawrence County Circuit Court against both drivers and the funeral home. He also accused the funeral home of negligence per se.

In response, the funeral home filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The funeral home argued that the man failed to state a cause of action, and that the funeral home did not owe him a duty of care under Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 189.378. Under Kentucky law, vehicles involved in a funeral procession do not have to be marked with any sort of special flag or other marking.

The man countered by claiming the funeral home owed him a duty of reasonable care, and the company breached that duty when it failed to require the driver of the vehicle in which he was riding to turn on his headlights or otherwise indicate the vehicle’s participation in the procession.

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The Kentucky case Estate of Ferrell v. J & W Recycling, Inc. involved a semi truck and car accident in which both drivers died. The two drivers were killed when an automobile and a tractor-trailer collided in Greenup County, Kentucky, in 2011. The driver of the semi-truck was apparently operating the commercial vehicle during the course of his employment for a recycling company. When the accident occurred, the recycling business carried commercial general liability insurance. Still, the company’s insurer refused to honor the policy and indemnify the business after the fatal accident.

Following the tragic wreck, the wife of the automobile driver filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the recycling business. According to her complaint, the accident resulted in part from improper truck loading by a forklift operator. After nearly two years of litigation, the man’s wife and the recycling company agreed upon a settlement in which the business admitted fault for the deadly collision. As part of the agreement, the decedent’s wife accepted the recycling company’s rights under its liability insurance policy. When she filed a petition with the court to “adjudge the existence of coverage” under the policy the insurer sought to move the case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky based upon diversity jurisdiction.

28 U.S.C. § 1332 allows a party to a lawsuit to remove a case from state court where the parties are residents of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. The Federal Declaratory Judgment Act, however, allows a federal court to refuse jurisdiction where appropriate. After examining several factors, the federal court declined to hear the case.

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