Archive for the ‘Accidents’ Category

Always, Always Wear Your Seatbelt

Monday, March 29th, 2010
Seatbelt

Seatbelts Save Lives!

WHAS 11 recently reported on a fatal traffic accident in the Louisville area, suffered after a driver struck a tree.  The woman driver was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.  Police were investigating whether or not speed and alcohol played a part.  You can read the article and watch the report, here.

Although the woman was driving an older model Volvo without airbags, there is nothing to suggest that the accident would have been fatal had she been wearing her seatbelt.  According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), lap-shoulder belt systems reduce the risk of fatality and serious injury by 50 percent when used by drivers and front-seat passengers.

What happens when you are involved in a car or truck accident and you are not wearing a seatbelt?  Not only are you at a higher risk of serious injury and death, but you may be found entirely or partially at fault for your injuries.  In Kentucky, this finding of fault on your behalf may eliminate or reduce the compensation you get from the driver, who caused the accident injuring you in the first place.  For instance, if your failure to wear a seatbelt is determined to have increased your injuries by 50%, then your recovery will be reduced by 50% as well.

Despite their perceived inconvenience, the time it takes to put on a seatbelt far outweighs the cost in injury and death occurring without them.  While wearing a seatbelt doesn’t guarantee that you won’t suffer serious injury or death in an accident, it clearly reduces the chance that occurs.  For your sake and the sake of your loved ones, always, always wear your seatbelt.

If you were involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you weren’t wearing a seatbelt you may need the services of a qualified Kentucky accident attorney.  He can evaluate the significance of such a failure on your claim and advise you of the options you might have.  Do not take the insurance company’s word that because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt you aren’t entitled to any recovery.

11 Killed in Tragic Accident Near Munfordville, Kentucky

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Tragic highway accident kills 11 in Kentucky. Courier Journal reports on tractor-trailer which crossed the center line hitting a van head-on. You can read the entire facts here. Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those in such a tragic accident.

UPDATE:

The Courier Journal article has been updated with more facts regarding the accident and victims, including the names of those involved. You can access the new article by clicking the link above.

Toyota Casts Doubt on Runaway Prius Claim

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

2008 Toyota Prius

Toyota Motor Company dismissed the story of a Prius owner who previously reported that his car sped out of control on the California freeway.  I previously posted about the driver’s claim that his Prius sped out of control when he tried to pass another vehicle on the freeway.  He drove for about 30 miles before a CHP officer was able to assist him in stopping the vehicle.

Toyota claims that a review of the car, including the onboard computer, failed to identify a malfunction.  They also claim that the information gathered would appear to contradict the owner’s claims of how the accident happened. Toyota has maintained throughout that electronics are not to blame for sudden acceleration claims by Toyota owners.

You can read the entire article here.

Driver Claims 2008 Toyota Prius Went Wild on Freeway

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

2008 Toyota Prius

The Today Show’s Matt Laurer reports on a driver’s claim that his 2008 Prius went wild on the California freeway prompting a frantic 911 call.  The Toyota Prius was not one of those recently recalled by Toyota, although some Prius models have been.  Watch the responding police officer and the frantic driver talk about his efforts to hit the brakes to slow the car, without success.

Click this link to watch the video of the Today Show report.

According to the Federal Government 34 “Deaths” Alleged in Toyotas Since 2000

Monday, February 15th, 2010
Toyota's Acceleration Problems Lead to Deaths

Toyota's Acceleration Problems Lead to Deaths

The Lexington Herald’s Kentucky.com reported on consumer data gathered by the federal government revealing 34 deaths linked to sudden acceleration in Toyotas since 2000.  Complaints related to acceleration in vehicles have surged in since Toyota’s recalls were announced.  According to the article:

The new complaints reflect the heightened awareness of the massive recalls among the public and underscore a flurry of lawsuits on behalf of drivers alleging deaths and injuries in Toyota crashes. Three congressional hearings are planned on the Toyota recalls.

In the past three weeks, consumers have told the government about nine crashes involving 13 alleged deaths between 2005 and 2010 due to accelerator problems, according to a NHTSA database. The latest reports are in addition to previous complaints from consumers that alleged 21 deaths from 2000 to the end of last year.

According to Toyota spokeswoman Martha Voss the company takes, “all customer reports seriously and will, of course, look into new claims.” According to Voss, Toyota was taking steps to improve quality control and investigate customer complaints more aggressively.

You can read the entire article here.

The data by the federal government suggests that Toyota knew or should have known of acceleration problems as far back as 2000, yet waited until recently to issue a massive recall of vehicles.  This has led the federal government to question Toyota’s commitment to safety and has shed light on its secretive corporate culture that encourages quiet design changes each model year over embarrassing public recalls.  While this corporate climate may have allowed Toyota to gain market share over the past decade, it has turned into a public relations nightmare with no sign of letting up any time soon.  More embarrassing information is likely to come to light before this issue fades.  Whether it will have a long term impact on Toyota’s reputation is yet to be seen.

Kentucky Accident Information is Now Available on Your iPhone.

Friday, February 12th, 2010
Access Accident Information Directly from Your iPhone.

Access Accident Information Directly from Your iPhone.

You can now directly access Kentucky Accident Information directly from your iPhone or iPod Touch.  Simply type “kyaccidentinfo.com” into your mobile phone web browser.  A new easy to use mobile version of Kentucky Accident Information will appear.  Access information regarding your car, truck, or motorcycle accident, post comments or questions, or contact The Brutscher Law Office about your accident from your mobile phone.

Don’t Loan A Car–Not Even To Tiger.

Monday, December 7th, 2009
Should You Loan Your Car?

Should You Loan Your Car?

MSN Money has a great article on the consequences of loaning a car to someone who is involved in an accident. Although the article takes a tongue and cheek look at the accident involving Tiger Woods, it provides helpful insight into what you can expect if you loan your car, and it is involved in an accident.

Perhaps most insightful is what happens if you loan your car to an uninsured driver.  If the uninsured driver who borrows your car causes the accident, your insurance will be 100% responsible for covering damages, including any injuries that occur.  If your uninsured friend is not responsible for the accident, but is injured, the other person’s insurance company will usually pay.  But what happens if the other driver is uninsured or carries too little insurance?

If you have uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage on your car, your insurance company will pay for your friend’s bodily injury.  In these cases, your friend is treated as an insured under the policy, just as you would be.  He would be entitled to the same benefits as you.

What happens if you don’t carry insurance?  If you loan your car to someone who doesn’t have insurance, you have created a worst case scenario.  Not only are you violating Kentucky law, you’re setting yourself up to be personally responsible and criminally liable for the damages caused by your uninsured friend, including repayment of some benefits, like PIP, that do not depend on fault.

If you must loan your car to someone, at least understand the consequences if your car is later involved in an accident.  Make sure that you carry sufficient insurance to protect you and your friend.  Under no circumstance should you drive or allow someone else to drive your car without insurance.

Two Pedestrians, Including One Teen, Killed While Crossing Streets

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009
Pedestrians At Risk

Pedestrians At Risk

Two pedestrians, including one teen, were struck and killed by separate cars in Lexington, Kentucky.  It appears that both accidents may have happened at night or at times of low visibility.  No information existed on whether the accidents occurred at intersections or crosswalks or in low lighted areas.  One of the drivers faces pending criminal charges for hit and run.  No criminal charges were reported in the other accident.

I recently reported on the Louisville area’s poor ranking for pedestrian accidents.  These recent accidents show that pedestrian fatalities continue to be a concern.  However, the most striking result of the Courier Journal’s article is not the discussion on ways to improve the situation, but instead the discussion on who was to blame for the accidents.  I heard many comment that since they had observed pedestrians crossing traffic illegally at one time or the other, the pedestrians were to blame.  This argument is similar to comments I hear when the subject of bicycle fatalities arises.

Blaming the victims of these terrible accidents does nothing to reduce the likelihood of their occurrence.  Each accident is different and when it comes to blame, experience tells me there is plenty to go around.  While the lack of a citation may evidence a lack of criminal responsibility, it does not mean the accident was the pedestrian’s fault.  In fact, the driver may still face civil liability for the accident.

We have all experienced a situation where a pedestrian did not exercise the best judgment concerning where to cross, the type of clothing to wear, or the proper respect to show an oncoming car.  However, that fact alone does not excuse drivers from exercising caution or doing their best to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians.  This is true whether or not the pedestrian is exercising judgment for their own safety.  Ultimately, nothing will reduce these accidents, if pedestrians and drivers fail to respect each other’s right to use the roadway.

Weather and Rush Hour Traffic Cause Two More Accidents

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
Weather a Big Contributor of Accidents

Weather a Big Contributor of Accidents

I came across two more accidents this morning involving rush hour traffic and tractor trailers. This time, however, weather also appears to be a factor. The first accident happened when a car turned left in front of another on Taylor Blvd. The second was reported by the Courier Journal and involved a tractor trailer and SUV on I-65 at hospital curve earlier this morning.

Both occurred during rush hour traffic, when traffic is at its heaviest. One involved a tractor trailer on the Interstate. Weather most likely contributed to both. Anyone driving long enough has at one time or the other noticed the difficulty in driving when weather conditions are bad. Rain, sleet, snow, and other moisture impair visibility, reduce tire traction, and decrease reaction time. It’s not too surprising that given today’s conditions that several accidents happened.

Be sure when driving during rush hour traffic that you drive defensively and take into consideration the amount and flow of traffic. Most drivers know that driving fast or being impatient does nothing to decrease the time they spend in rush hour traffic. When weather conditions are bad, particularly during rush hour, even more caution should be used. Be sure that the path is clear and that visibility is not impaired before assuming it’s safe to turn or enter traffic. Give yourself more time to make maneuvers because roads and other surfaces are slick. Reduce your speed and exercise even more caution. The few extra seconds you spend beats the time, money, and injuries incurred in an accident.

Remember, if you’ve been injured due to someone’s failure to exercise care in bad weather conditions, you have a right to compensation for your injuries. If so, you should seek the services of a qualified Kentucky Accident Attorney.

Fatigue Blamed in I-71 Accident Involving Tractor-Trailer

Monday, November 16th, 2009
Fatigue Common Cause of Accident

Fatigue Common Cause of Tractor Trailer Accidents

Police have determined that the driver of a semi-tractor trailer involved in a one truck accident on I-71 in Carrolton fell asleep immediately prior to the accident.  The accident shutdown the northbound lanes for eight hours.  The driver suffered only minor injuries.  The Courier Journal has the specifics, here.

Of course, the driver and other cars using the roadway were fortunate only the tractor trailer was involed.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) estimates that truck driver fatigue may be a factor in over 1/3 of large truck accidents.  If you are driving on the Interstates or large highways where tractor trailers are common there is a good chance you may be involved in an accident resulting from driver fatigue.  If you are involved in such an accident and need an attorney, make sure you retain one experienced in handling these types of cases and the companies who defend them.