Archive for the ‘Accidents’ Category

Exercise Caution and Common Sense When Approaching an Accident.

Monday, November 16th, 2009
Exercise Caution at Accident Scenes

Exercise Caution at Accident Scenes

Rush hour traffic is always a nightmare.  Whether it’s during the morning when the roads are full of school buses or in the afternoon when the roads are full of commuters, rush hour can be the most stressful and also the most dangerous time for accidents.  However, it is during this time that drivers must exercise the most caution and common sense.

This morning I witnessed an accident on a heavily traveled two lane road.  One car had been driven into a deep ditch on one side, while the other car was stopped in the middle of the road.  The car in the middle of the road did not have on its hazard lights and it was difficult to see that an accident had occurred.  The good news is that both driver’s appeared uninjured.

Unfortunately, cars on the side of the road where the accident occurred continued driving between the two cars in the accident.  This created an even more dangerous situation.  Cars trying to go through the accident scene endangered not only those persons involved in the accident, but endangered other drivers on the roadway.  They also increased the chance that another, more serious accident, was going to happen.  Fortunately, a police officer was only a few cars away approaching the scene.

There is no doubt that the fact it was rush hour and drivers were in a hurry contributed to the lack of caution.  If you approach an accident scene please be sure to exercise extreme caution, but most importantly common sense.  If you approach an accident and have time to plan, use a different route.  If you can go around the accident without endangering yourself or others, do so.  However, you should never travel through an accident scene.  If you must stop your vehicle to avoid going through the accident scene, do so.  Causing a second accident or injuring those in the first is not worth the extra time it takes waiting for emergency assistance or for the drivers to clear the road.  If you approach an accident treat it with extreme caution and exercise common sense to avoid making a bad situation worse.  Don’t forget, if you are in an noninjury accident, move your vehicle from the road to avoid creating a dangerous situation.

Pain After A Car Accident Is Not Unusual And Should Be Treated.

Monday, August 3rd, 2009
Pain After A Car Accident Is Not Uncommon

Pain After A Car Accident Is Not Uncommon

It is very common to experience pain several hours after a car accident.  Don’t think just because you don’t feel pain immediately, that you aren’t injured.  Injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons may not manifest themselves immediately.  Often inflammation is the first sign of an injury to these tissues, and inflammation may take time to develop.  Once it does, you will experience pain and discomfort that may interfere with your ability to function.

These types of injuries are well known to medical professionals who treat car accident injuries.  You might hear terms like “soft tissue” or “whiplash” injury.  Make no mistake, however, these are objective injuries that cause pain and require treatment to overcome.

If you’ve been in a car accident and experience pain some time later, seek treatment as soon as possible.  Most likely your injuries will only worsen with time.  Just because your medical treatment takes place some time after the accident, does not affect your entitlement to PIP benefits.  Insurance companies are well aware that these types of injuries may manifest themselves after an accident and won’t usually hassle you about seeking treatment later.  If you are not being treated fairly by an insurance company responsible for paying PIP or for reimbursing your property damage or bodily injury claim, you may need to seek the services of an experienced Kentucky accident attorney or lawyer to get you the benefits you deserve.

Are You Entitled To Money If You’re In An Accident?

Monday, July 27th, 2009
Are You Entitled to Money for Your Accident?

Are You Entitled to Money for Your Accident?

Most advertising related to car, truck, or motorcycle accidents focuses on a person’s “right to compensation” or “payment” or “money damages.” This often results in a perception by many that they will get paid money simply for being in an accident. However, this is not true.

If you are in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident you might be entitled to compensation. However, your right to compensation may be limited. A person should realize that he does not get paid simply for being in an accident. He must be hurt. The amount of money, if any, he will receive is based on his injuries, not the fact that he was in an accident.

Kentucky law generally requires a person involved in an accident to incur over $1,000 in medical bills before a claim can be filed. This is called the threshold, because it must be crossed before a claim exists. Whether you will get paid and how much depends on the injuries you incurred and the financial, emotional, and physical impact of those injuries. Larger more catastrophic injuries tend to result in higher claims paid. Minor injuries with less impact tend to result in lower claims paid. Of course, if you are 100% responsible for the accident, you aren’t entitled to any recovery.

Remember, if you’re involved in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident your main focus should be on treating any injuries you sustained. Once you’ve completed treatment, you’ll be in a better position to determine what, if any, compensation you deserve. If you’re not sure whether or not you qualify for compensation or how much compensation you deserve, you may need the services of a qualified Kentucky accident attorney.

Does Your Kentucky Car, Truck, or Motorcycle Accident Attorney Know Insurance Law?

Monday, June 15th, 2009
Does Your Kentucky Accident Attorney Know Insurance Law?

Does Your Kentucky Accident Attorney Know Insurance Law?

You see many advertisements for car, truck, or motorcycle accident attorneys in Kentucky promising to, “get you the compensation you deserve.”  However, nothing is mentioned about the insurance companies or policies from where this money comes.  Lawyers and most sophisticated clients know that the money will come from the insurance company for the party at fault for the accident if he or she has one and from the injured party’s insurance company if he or she doesn’t.  But simply because an accident attorney knows where to get the money doesn’t mean they know how.

Many accident attorneys will settle your claim with the insurance company without knowing what your case is worth.  They may demand entirely too much or even worse, seek to settle your case for too little.  Some might not even be able to describe to their client’s why they think you should settle for a particular amount offered by the insurance company.  If the insurance company refuses to pay due to some policy exclusion or coverage defense, then that attorney may be unsure how to fight for you to make sure that the insurance company is being fair.

Make sure that your car, truck, or motorcycle accident attorney knows insurance law and understands insurance policies, their specific coverages, and exclusions to coverage.  Retain an experienced car, truck or motorcycle accident attorney with a proven record of handling injury claims and one with knowledge of insurance companies and their practices and procedures.  Don’t get less or worse nothing, because your Kentucky accident attorney doesn’t know insurance law.

What You Should Do If You Are Involved In An Accident

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Nobody plans on being in an accident.  However, the fact remains in 2006, there were 2,575,000 people injured in car accidents in the United States.  The chances of you being involved in an accident are far greater then you might think.  Don’t plan on being in an accident.  Plan on being prepared in the event you are.

Here’s what you should do.  Take a deep breath.  Make sure your car’s transmission is placed in park and that the engine is turned off.  Place your hazard lights on.  Check to make sure you are not seriously injured.  If you aren’t, check any passengers who might be.  Before exiting your vehicle make sure it is safe.  If it isn’t safe, don’t exit.  If you have a cell phone, call and report the accident to the police.  If traffic remains heavy or you’re in a dangerous position, wait until the police arrive to exit your car.

If it’s safe, exit your car and check on the driver and passenger of the other car.  If nobody is injured and the cars are obstructing traffic, move them out of the roadway and into a safe position.  If  someone is injured do not move the person or the car.  If necessary mark the roadway with flares or cones.

If the accident involves injuries or if the property damage is in excess of $500.00, a report will need to be taken.  You should call the Kentucky State Police or other law enforcement agency to investigate.  If the accident is minor and the property damage is less then $500.00, you will not need to call the police.  However, you should fill out a civilian traffic report.  You can get one here.

Whether or not the police take a report, it is wise to get the name, address, and telephone number of the driver, all passengers, and any independent witnesses.  Driver’s license and license plate numbers are also helpful.  Also, take down any insurance information the other driver might have.  Make note of any road, weather, or other conditions that might have contributed to the accident.  You might want to look at the Kentucky State Police Civilian Traffic Report for additional information that might be needed.

If emergency personnel do come to the scene, have them check on you  even if you don’t think you are injured.  It is better to be safe.  If you leave the scene and later develop pain or muscle soreness, call your doctor or visit the emergency room.  It is not uncommon for injuries such as whiplash to develop much later.

Do You Have To Insure Your Moped Or Scooter?

Monday, April 27th, 2009

When gas prices hit an all time high last summer, many people purchased a moped or scooter for transportation. Scooters have since become ubiquitous. With the recent explosion in popularity has also come a larger variety of styles and models.  Scooters are now bigger and faster than ever before.  If you own a moped or scooter or are thinking of buying one, you should know whether or not your moped or scooter needs to be insured.  If you fail to insure your moped and you are injured you might not be entitled to certain compensation and you might be subjected to criminal penalties as well.

Motorcycles are specifically exempted from Kentucky’s no fault reparations scheme.  Is you moped also exempted?  Well, it depends.  Kentucky law provides for the payment of certain PIP benefits if you are injured while operating a motor vehicle.  However, Kentucky law excludes mopeds from this definition. Kentucky courts have interpreted this to mean that since mopeds are not motor vehicles, the occupants injured while riding the moped are pedestrians.  Pedestrians are entitled to PIP benefits from the car that hit them. This is true whether they are at fault or not.

However, the definition of moped does not include every type of scooter or moped.  The statute specifically defines moped as a certain type of motorized bicycle that has no larger than a 50cc engine and capable of traveling no faster than 30mph.  This definition includes only the smallest of the mopeds seen on the road today.  75cc or higher motorized scooters that travel above 30mph do not fit this definition.  They are therefore considered motorcycles not mopeds.  If you are in an accident while using one of these “motorcycles” you would not be entitled to $10,000 in  PIP, unless you purchased it as optional benefits.  You would also be uninsured and responsible personally and legally for any damages you caused.

If you own or operate a scooter or moped that has an engine larger than 50cc, shifts gears, or travels faster than 30 mph you are operating a motorcyle, not a moped.  You are required to have that vehicle insured.  Other laws pertaining to motorcycles may also apply.  You should consider purchasing optional PIP benefits. Otherwise you or your family member might not be protected in the event of an accident.

Motorcycle Accident Victims Not Guaranteed PIP Benefits

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Much has been discussed about PIP benefits in Kentucky for accident victims.  However, motorcyclists should know that Kentucky law specifically excludes motorcyclists from recovering PIP benefits unless they purchase these as optional benefits.  So, while car drivers in Kentucky are protected by a minimum $10,000.00 in coverage motorcyclists are not, unless they specifically pay for that coverage.  As you can imagine the coverage for motorcyclists is more expensive given the increased chance of injury.

However, just because a motorcyclist does not have PIP benefits does not mean that he cannot make a claim if he is injured in an accident due to someone’s fault.  A claim can, and if serious enough, should be made.  An experienced accident lawyer can then work to help reduce the amount paid to cover medical expenses, including the first $10,000.00 not covered by PIP.

Accidents Involving 16-19 Year Olds Higher Than For Any Other Age Group

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Accidents involving teen drivers cost more than $34 billion in ‘06.  That’s billion, with a “B”.  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, crashes are higher for the 16-19 year old age group than for any other.  This massive figure includes $9.8 billion related to fatal crashes. Unfortunately, car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens, accounting for 36 percent, according to the Center for Disease Control. Fortunately, there is much that can be done to reduce and even prevent these tragic results.  According to AAA, graduated driver’s licensing programs (GDL) have a significant reduction in teen crashes and deaths. Every state has some form of GDL, including Kentucky. There is also much that parents can do.  For example, limit driving to purposeful trips with a anticipated start and finish. Parents can also limit teen driving at night, in bad weather, and during rush hour.

Driving is a right of passage for any teen.  Talk frequently with your teen about the responsibilities associated with driving.  Insure that your teen has the proper amount of time and instruction operating a vehicle with a parent or other licensed adult present.  Don’t assume just because your teen has passed his state mandated driver’s exam that he or she is ready, willing or able to assume a position behind the wheel.  The good news is the risk involved appears to decline as your child ages.  The risk for accidents is twice as high for 16 year olds as it is for 18 or 19 year olds.  While no amount of care can prevent all accidents, with time and proper preparation you can reduce the chance that your teen will be involved in an accident, and especially those involving a fatality.