In the early spring of 2021, Jeff Kincaid** was enjoying a nice Saturday afternoon in Kentucky on his motorcycle when he was unexpectedly and violently struck by the driver of an SUV. The SUV was stopped at a sign while waiting to turn left on a four-lane road. Jeff was traveling westbound on the four-lane road when the driver of the SUV negligently pulled out in front of him and crashed into his motorcycle. The severity of the impact caused Jeff to be thrown off the motorcycle. As a result, Jeff suffered a skull fracture, facial fracture, right ankle fracture, and right shoulder fracture with a rotator cuff tear. He was immediately transported to the ER via ambulance and admitted for surgery on his shoulder and treatment of his other injuries.
By Kyle Roby, Partner
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
What is disputed liability and what impact does it have in the state of Kentucky?
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.
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.
In a recent Kentucky Supreme Court case, a medical malpractice suit was filed by a couple against a doctor and his practice. The doctor had performed a thyroidectomy on the wife. She started experiencing breathing difficulties the night of the surgery. She was placed on a ventilator for four days and stayed in the hospital a total of 12 days. Post-surgery, she had trouble breathing and talking. She consulted with an otolaryngologist. He diagnosed her with right vocal cord paralysis. The couple filed a medical negligence lawsuit in connection with the thyroidectomy.
During discovery, the doctor asked whether other physicians had stated that he deviated from good medical practice. The plaintiffs’ response stated that a surgeon had verified there was a departure from the appropriate standard of care to cut or otherwise alter the vocal cord. The response cited various treating physicians. The doctor filed a motion to set the case for trial. The judge set a schedule requiring the couple to disclose expert witnesses on a particular date. The order by the judge did not contain a specific deadline for disclosure of expert witnesses. It did require quick and efficient witness disclosure.
Three years after the suit was filed the doctor moved for summary judgment. He argued they had failed to identify a surgeon who would testify he deviated from the standard of care. The plaintiffs filed a motion to reschedule the trial and to get an extension of time to list experts. They argued that summary judgment was not appropriate because evidence in the depositions raised genuine issues of material fact. The woman’s medical records showed he was being treated for hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid before the surgery. She consulted with an internist because she was short of breath and had palpitations. An ultrasound showed she had an enlarged right lobe of thyroid with a small lesion. She was referred to the defendant doctor to see whether removal of the gland was appropriate. She consulted with him once before the surgery and signed a consent form in connection with it. The form explained she had a “thyroid storm.” The internal medicine doctor said a thyroid storm is an emergency condition. The appropriate treatment is hospitalization and consultation with an endocrinologist. Surgery is not appropriate. Continue reading
The Western District of Kentucky has ordered portions of a pharmaceutical injury case to trial. In Vanden Bosch v. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., two women filed a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer Bayer over health consequences they allegedly sustained after the women used the Mirena contraceptive product. According to the complaint, a Florida woman suffered a chronic health condition following the use of the device after it was implanted into her body in Kentucky. Additionally, a Kentucky woman purportedly became pregnant despite her use of the contraceptive product. Her child allegedly suffered an abnormal chromosome disorder as a result of her exposure to Mirena.
In response to the lawsuit, Bayer filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion asking the federal court to dismiss the case. When such a motion is filed, the defendant in a civil lawsuit is essentially stating that, even if everything a plaintiff alleged in his or her lawsuit were true, the plaintiff did not assert sufficient information to show that he or she is entitled to a legal remedy. After determining that Kentucky law applied to the case, the federal court addressed Bayer’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Since Kentucky has a one-year statute of limitations for products liability claims, and the Florida woman filed her lawsuit more than one year after her purported injury, the Western District of Kentucky dismissed the woman’s negligence and other products liability causes of action against the drug company. The federal court also dismissed many of the Kentucky woman’s claims against Bayer because pregnancy “is not a legally cognizable injury” in the state.
Next, the Western District of Kentucky dismissed the plaintiffs’ breach of implied warranty claims because there was no “privity of contract” between the parties. Bayer argued that the plaintiffs’ breach of express warranty and Kentucky Consumer Protection Act claims should be dismissed as well, since the women did not purchase Mirena directly from the drug company, but the court disagreed. The federal court stated that the plaintiffs’ express breach of warranty claims required further evidence and should be fleshed out at trial. Also, Kentucky case law provides an exception to the Consumer Protection Act’s privity requirement when a manufacturer makes “valid express warranties for the benefit of consumers.” According to the federal court, the exception applied to the plaintiffs’ case.
Insurance policies can be difficult for a layperson to interpret. There are a number of additional principles that govern insurance contracts, which insurers know, but their insured do not always understand. An experienced personal injury attorney can help make sure that you are not tripped up in a personal injury settlement with an insurer due to confusing policy terms or principles of which you may not be aware.
In a recent case, the Kentucky Supreme Court reviewed an appellate court’s opinion agreeing with the insurance company and against an injured person. In the case, the lower court’s grant of summary judgment dismissed a man’s claim for underinsured motorist coverage on the grounds that the underinsured motorist coverage was the result of a mutual mistake in making the insurance contract. Mutual mistake is a defense that an insurer may raise to show there is no coverage for an accident.
The man argued that the “mutual mistake” defense wasn’t available because the insurer failed to present clear and convincing evidence proving it mistakenly issued underinsured motorist coverage. He also argued that the insurer hadn’t plead mutual mistake with particularity and therefore it waived the defense. He also claimed the trial court should have permitted him to amend his complaint to include statutory bad faith. Continue reading