Posted on June 30th, 2014 No comments
Injured Accident Victims can now be contacted immediately after an accident under a new ruling by a Kentucky Federal Court. The Courier Journal has a nice synopsis of the ruling by Federal District Court Judge Charles Simpson, here. Judge Simpson ruled that the law, which prevents “anyone” from soliciting an accident victim within 30 days of an accident, was unconstitutional because it violated commercial free speech rights and also the equal protection clause, because the law exempted insurance companies.
The intention of the law was to prevent injured accident victims from being preyed upon by unscrupulous people who would try to immediately sign up the injured victim to pursue a personal injury claim or medical treatment under Kentucky’s No Fault Law. Often, these people would use “runners” who would show up at the accident scene with information from a health care clinic specializing in car accident injuries. These health care clinics would then steer these patients to lawyers who would handle their bodily injury claim.
On it’s face the law would seem to be an unobtrusive means to provide accident victims some time to review their options and determine if they even need to pursue medical treatment or hire a lawyer. However, because the law did not prevent insurance companies from contacting the injured victim immediately after the accident, it provided an unfair advantage to the insurance company. This thirty day head start gave the insurance company every incentive to resolve an injured party’s claim as fast and as cheaply as possible, before they sought medical care or hired a lawyer. This ruling seeks to limit that advantage.
Of course, one unintended consequence of the ruling is that unscrupulous people are now free to contact injured accident victims immediately, even at the scene of the accident. These unscrupulous people now have the same incentive that the insurance company previously had to pressure the injured victim to make decisions without proper information or understanding.
Perhaps even more interesting is Judge Simpson’s ruling that his decision does not apply to professionals such as lawyers or doctors, who are still prevented from contacting injured accident victims for thirty days. Given his reasoning for finding the law unconstitutional, there is no basis for treating lawyers or doctors any different from anyone else. What Judge Simpson has done is create another equal protection clause nightmare where the law is applied unequally to everyone, benefiting some while harming others. This position is untenable. The law either applies to everyone or it does not.
There is no doubt that the Judge’s recent ruling has the potential for abuse by both sides. However, it is important that injured accident victims understand that they are not required to make any decisions without proper understanding and information. You are not required to seek medical treatment from a certain provider or retain a lawyer from a certain firm. If you feel like you’ve been pressured to do either, understand that you retain the power to change providers or lawyers if you choose. The best way to avoid being a victim of unscrupulous people or companies is to educate yourself about your rights and options. If you need advice you should contact an injury accident lawyer of your own choosing who can advise you on your options under Kentucky accident law.
Posted on June 25th, 2014 No comments
It’s that time of year. The lazy days of summer. Schools are closed and kids are on summer break. Everyone is outside enjoying the warm weather. Activities such as barbecues, camping, swimming, beach vacations, outdoor concerts, and baseball occupy our time. Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day holidays all follow in rapid succession. Everyone is excited for summer. Work indoors is now a distraction.
Unfortunately, if you have a pending car, semi-truck, or motorcycle accident injury case, this is the time of year that your case might experience some delays. An accident case involves many people, including you, your injury lawyer, an insurance adjuster, and all manner of doctors, chiropractors, employers, and the like. If your accident injury case is in a lawsuit than your case involves at least one other attorney, maybe more, a judge, and other individuals, such as court reporters, and expert and lay witnesses.
These individuals are enjoying summer too. This is one of the times when your injury lawyer may be waiting on a response from these individuals. But, they have summer plans of their own.
This can be extremely frustrating for an injured person who is waiting on their case to conclude. However, while your case may be personal to you and your injury lawyer, these other individuals may only see it as part of their job. While you may have only one accident injury case, these other individuals may have many more. Summer activities, holidays, and vacations impact the amount of time these individuals have to work on your case, creating back logs and delays.
Fortunately, the lazy days of summer quickly turn into the dog days of summer, that time between late July and August when the temperatures are at their highest and most people seek the comfort of air conditioning indoors. Your accident injury case is much more likely to receive attention during this time.
It is not unusual to experience delays with your accident injury case during the lazy days of summer. Fortunately, these delays are short and activity should return to normal shortly. If your case is experiencing delays during this time, be patient and understand that most delays during this time are outside the control of your injury lawyer. Before long, you’ll likely get a call from your injury lawyer with news about your case. Until then, enjoy the lazy days of summer with your family and friends.
Posted on June 21st, 2012 No comments
Recently, another tragedy involving an infant left in a hot car struck Louisville. Eight month old Lincoln Lindsay succumbed to the heat and died after being left in a car for hours when his father went to work. Police are ruling it an accident. Apparently, Lincoln’s dad forgot the child was strapped in his car seat when he went to work. Read about how leaving your child in a hot car can result in tragedy like Lincoln’s.
It’s easy to question how a parent can leave a child in a hot car all day long. Unfortunately, it’s an all too common occurrence. Experts say its common for parents to leave a child behind in cars. Numbers from Forget Me Not USA, an Oklahoma-based organization that raises awareness about the problem, said 532 children have died after being left in hot cars since 1998.
Kentucky had 18 hot car deaths from 1998 to 2011, according to the group’s website. It’s easy for a parent, who doesn’t normally have the child, to forget the child is in the car, or simply go about their daily routine without an awareness that the child has been left. Unfortunately, for children, especially infants who don’t talk or who may fall asleep in the car, the result is too often the tragic death of the child.
Fortunately, there is now an app for that. The First Years brand from TOMY International will send an alert if the child is not properly strapped in the car seat, the car seat is not properly installed, or if the child has been left in the car. Read about how the app is designed to prevent leaving your child in a hot car that can result in tragedy.
Remember during hot days to check the back seat of your car, especially, if you have young children or infant. If you don’t typically drive the child to daycare or some other caregiver, remember to be diligent especially on hot days. You don’t want to live with the tragedy that just befell Lincoln’s parents. Leaving your child in a hot car can result in tragedy, so be extra cautious when transporting your child during hot months.
Posted on June 6th, 2012 No comments
In a follow up to our earlier posted video on tougher licensing restrictions comes a CNBC article on laws needed to reduce the risks of death or serious injury to teen drivers. According to the article:
The statistics are sobering.
A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says states could substantially cut the number of deadly car crashes involving teen drivers if they put more restrictions on licensing teens.
Some examples from the IIHS:
-Delaying the age of licensing drivers by a year to 16 or 17 would cut fatal accidents 13 percent
-Not allowing teens to drive at night could lead to 20 percent drop in deadly crashes with teen drivers.
-Banning teenagers from driving with other teens in the car would reduce fatal car collisions by 21 percent.
The common theme in all these suggestions is limiting potential distractions for teens or potentially deadly scenarios until they have more experience behind the wheel.
“The longer parents wait for their teens to get their permit, the longer licensure is delayed, the lower the crash rates,” says Ann McCartt with the Insurance Institute.
The problem is that not all states are pushing tighter licensing restrictions. For example, in South Dakota the minimum age to get a driver’s license is 14 years, 3 months. There are probably some 14 year olds who can handle driving a car, but a lot more who lack the maturity needed behind the wheel.
When I look back at some of the stupid stuff I pulled while driving as a 16 year old, I shudder the memories. My guess is that most people (including lawmakers) feel the same way. It’s time they step up and realize they have the chance to dramatically cut teen driving accidents by passing tougher laws.
Posted on May 29th, 2012 No comments
MSNBC Business has a great article on the most dangerous states for car wreck fatalities. According to MSNBC:
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, more Americans aged 5–34 die from motor vehicle crashes than from any other single cause. Despite this disturbing fact, a study released this week shows that states where fatalities caused by car accidents are very high are also states that are doing the least to prevent those accidents.
A CDC report identified the estimated lifetime costs incurred by the states as the result of auto fatalities in a single year, including medical expenses and lost economic productivity. These two costs exceeded $170 billion in the U.S. in 2005, the most recent year data are available.
With such high costs and, more importantly, loss of life, the question is whether there is anything states can do to prevent car accidents. The Trust for America’s Health found that nothing works better to prevent traffic deaths than seat belt use. According to a report released by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, six of the 10 states with the lowest seat belt usage rates also had the highest average auto fatality rates between 2007 and 2009.
The Trust for America’s Health report also identified four key policies labeled by the CDC as useful in improving traffic safety. The four include having a primary seat belt law (which allows police to stop and ticket unbuckled drivers without any other cause), a mandatory ignition interlock for all convicted drunken drivers, a mandatory motorcycle helmet law and requiring booster seats for children 8 years old and younger.
The top three offenders? Mississippi, Montana, and Alabama. You can read the rest of the article here.
Posted on April 18th, 2012 No comments
A professor from Cornell Law School has reviewed the empirical research related to tort reform and not surprisingly he found that the scare tactics of tort reform proponents are false. He also found that there was no runaway jury system awarding out of control verdicts. thepoptort.com has a great review of his findings. Guess what? Tort reform proponents are lying to you. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The US Chamber of Commerce isn’t a government agency and its sole purpose is to make money for its members, who aren’t people injured by negligence. Click on the link to read the full article here
Posted on January 11th, 2012 No comments
A new report from the National Transportation and Safety Board recommends that all states ban the use of cell phones while driving. This includes hands-free use of cell phones, through blue tooth devices.
“According to NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration], more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a statement. “It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving. No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life.”
While the agency does not have the power to enforce such a ban, it’s recommendations carry a huge amount of weight. Whether states are willing to enforce such a ban in today’s “anti-regulation climate” remains to be seen.
Other experts question whether the governments own studies support the claims the agency makes. Only recently, we reported on a study that called into question those statistics, believing they had been “overstated.” You can read about that report, here.
Furthermore, while an overwhelming amount of people tend to support such bans as “texting and driving”, the recommendation includes all cell phone use, including the use of hands free devices. Questions remain whether such a broad prohibition is as popular or even effective.
Would the ban of cell phone use while driving have the desired effect of preventing such distractions? It’s doubtful. Even though an overwhelming percent of Americans are in favor of “texting and driving” bans, almost half of adults and more than half of teenagers admit to reading or sending a text while driving. Making the behavior a violation of the law is no more likely to have an effect.
There is no doubt that “texting and driving” is a dangerous distraction that can lead to accidents. However, that doesn’t mean that the use of a cell phone, especially with a hands-free device, in all situations is an equally dangerous distraction. There simply is not a lot of information on just how distracting cell phone use is when compared to other distractions that are considered acceptable risks in operating a motor vehicle.
In fact, at least one study has concluded that its not the use of cell phones that cause accidents, but distracted drivers in general. CNet reported on a study back in 2010 that found distractions, not cell phones per se, were the cause of most car crashes. Experts noted that while cell phone use had exploded over the past several years, there has been no increase in the number of accidents. You can read the entire article, here.
Posted on December 13th, 2011 No comments
A new analysis of previous studies regarding crash risk due to cell phone use may have overestimated the risk a new report shows.
“In the new report, Richard A. Young of Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit finds that two influential studies on the subject might have overestimated the risk. The problem has to do with the studies’ methods. Both studies — a 1997 study from Canada, and one done in Australia in 2005 — were “case-crossover” studies. The researchers recruited people who had been in a crash, and then used their billing records to compare their cellphone use around the time of the crash with their cell use during the same time period the week before (called a “control window”).
But the issue with that is that people may not have been driving during that entire control window. Such “part-time” driving would necessarily cut the odds of having a crash (and possibly reduce people’s cell use) during the control window — and make it seem like cellphone use is a bigger crash risk than it is.
If that information were applied to the two earlier studies, Young estimates, the crash risk tied to cellphone use would have been statistically insignificant. That’s far lower than the studies’ original conclusions: that cellphone use while driving raises the risk of crashing four-fold.
But that doesn’t mean you should feel free to chat and text away at the wheel, according to Fernando Wilson, an assistant professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. A number of other studies, using designs other than case-crossover, have suggested that cellphone use — and particularly texting — is hazardous on the road, Wilson told Reuters Health.
“In wider policy, I don’t think this study is going to change the conversation about distracted driving,” Wilson said. “Most of the conventional thinking is that we need to do something to reduce it.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 450,000 Americans were injured in crashes linked to distracted driving in 2009. Another 5,500 were killed.”
You can read the entire article here.
Posted on December 5th, 2011 No comments
Subaru of America is recalling three of its car models and Honda Motor Corp. is recalling some models of motorcycles due to faulty brakes.
In some motorcycle model years from 2001-2012, a defect in the secondary master brake cylinder causes a drag that can lead to a crash or fire. Honda has reported 26 complaints. No indication on whether any injury crashes resulted. Read the MSN article here.
Posted on November 17th, 2011 No comments
New report shows that Hybrid cars on average are 25% safer than comparable gas powered cars. Weight appears to be the biggest factor, since Hybrids typically weigh more. Read the entire article, here.