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Articles Tagged with wrecks

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By Kyle Roby, Partner
English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP

Tractor-trailer accidents are the most dangerous and destructive collisions on our country’s roads – and the problem is only getting worse. When trucks collide with a car, more often than not, people die.

That’s because big rigs usually travel at a high rate of speed on interstates, and if they crash into another vehicle, it’s going to be much smaller. Braking time for large, heavy vehicles is substantially more than that of cars, so even if a truck driver can see the potential for an accident, they can’t necessarily avoid it.

Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are high-tech solutions that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could require trucking companies to install, but so far, they have not.

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

commercial vehicle accidents Kentucky

Roads throughout Kentucky, but particularly in our area, are snow-covered, ice-packed and impassable at places today. Many work places, including our own, closed today so our employees can stay home and be safe.

While we have that option, not everyone exercises that much caution when dealing with hazardous weather. It’s somewhat understandable. Some businesses, such as hospitals, don’t ever close for any reason.

There are also some people who think the rules don’t apply to them, and they don’t exercise due caution, and that is much more concerning.

Today, we are hearing news reports of a multi-vehicle accident on Interstate 65 in Hart County. Police scanner traffic indicates the accident involves a Greyhound bus, two commercial vehicles and two passenger vehicles. I follow Joe Imel on Twitter (who doesn’t?) and he gave out details as he heard them, as well as posted a Kentucky State Police report on the accident.

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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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Generally, 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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Because 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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If you don’t have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you should talk to your insurance agent about purchasing this very important coverage as soon as you can. Such coverage can mean the difference between a fair recovery and financial ruin in the event of a serious accident with a driver who has no insurance or who has only the minimum policy limits.

However, should you ever need to actually use your uninsured or underinsured coverage, do not expect your insurance company to be on “your side” of the case.

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Insurance companies have certain duties not only to their insureds but also to those who file legitimate claims against those who they insure.

A company’s failure to uphold these duties can result in a finding of liability under Kentucky’s bad-faith laws, but the claimant has the burden of proving his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. This is not always an easy task, since there those involved may not agree about who is at fault or the amount of damages to which the claimant is entitled.

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Kyle Roby

Attorney Kyle Roby

Attorney and partner Kyle Roby recently settled a truck accident case for $850,000 on behalf of a Kentucky client. We have posted about this case on our main firm web site, and are sharing with our audience here as well.

Here is a summary of the case. For more details, read the main post on our web site. You can read the post here.

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When it comes to claims arising from an 18-wheeler accident, an injured person is often wise to “cast a large net” and name as many defendants as possible. This is because insurance coverage issues and policy limits can restrict the ultimate recovery from a particular defendant, but, if several defendants are named, it is more likely that the plaintiff will be fully compensated for his or her medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Of course, the defendants named in a tractor-trailer wreck case may have a viable defense, and they have a right to seek the dismissal of the case against them on procedural grounds. In such cases, it is up to the courts to decide who stays and who goes.

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If you follow this blog regularly, you have probably read several posts regarding situations in which a car accident lawsuit or other type of complaint was dismissed due to the plaintiff’s failure to file a claim within the statute of limitations. It is a common problem, and one of the reasons we emphasize contacting an attorney as soon as possible when you have been injured.

Filing a timely claim in a court of competent jurisdiction is only the first step in the process of filing a lawsuit. The complaint also has to be served upon the defendant according to the applicable rules of civil procedure.

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