Posts Tagged ‘damages’

Class Action Lawsuits Could Cost Toyota Billions

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

More Trouble for Toyota

MSN reports on an AP article documenting the recent spate of lawsuits against the automaker by consumers who claim their vehicles have decreased in value since the massive recall ordered last fall.  At least 89 class action  lawsuits have been filed around the country.  Experts believe such lawsuits could ultimately cost Toyota 3+ Billion, yes billion, dollars.  This does not include those lawsuits claiming personal injury or death from defects.

The consumers allege that Toyota knew about safety problems but hid those problems from consumers who purchased their cars.  They site to recent decisions by such companies as Kelly Blue Book to reduce the resale value on recalled vehicles by 3.5 percent.  While this is not much, with an estimated 6 million recall victims, a certified class getting just $500 per member could reach into the billions.

Toyota of course denies that a vehicle will depreciate much if repaired quickly at no cost, which they offer.  However, the issue still remains over whether or not Toyota has identified the problem of sudden acceleration.  Toyota continues to deny that electronic computer controls are to blame, but car owners continue to complain of sudden acceleration after the vehicles have been repaired.  You can read the entire article, here.

Winters & Yonker, PSC Sued by Former Client

Monday, February 22nd, 2010
Kentucky Lawyers Defendants in Lawsuit

Kentucky Lawyers Defendants in Lawsuit

The former law firm Winters, Yonker & Rouselle, now known as Winters & Yonker, PSC and its principal attorneys, have been sued by a former client in Jefferson Circuit Court.  The law firm, along with 1st Physicians Rehabilitation, Inc. and its owner, are alleged to have had a relationship whereby the medical provider would refer clients to the law firm, who would then instruct the client to have all future medical treatment provided by facilities owned and operated by the medical provider who referred the client.

The Complaint alleges that neither the law firm nor the medical provider disclosed the true nature and extent of the relationship.  Furthermore, the client alleges that she was told by the law firm not to use her health insurance to pay for treatment.  The end result were medical liens held by the medical provider in higher amounts then the client otherwise would have paid had she used her health insurance.  When her settlement was reached, the client received less money then either the law firm or the medical provider, after payment of fees and expenses and medical liens.

The ultimate gripe by the client is that her lawyers and the medical providers were not acting in her best interest, but in their own interest to her detriment.  Of course, allegations in the Complaint give only the Plaintiff’’s side of the story.  You can read the entire Complaint, here.

While there is nothing unusual about medical providers and attorneys referring clients in need of their services to one or the other, the purpose of these referrals should be for the benefit of the client.   If these allegations are true, they go well beyond the acceptable bounds of referral practice.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident and need the services of an accident attorney or a medical provider who specializes in accident injuries, do not be afraid to ask your lawyer or doctor if they know someone who can help.  However, if you have questions about the treatment you are getting from your medical provider or the advice you are getting from your lawyer, you should ask your doctor or lawyer to address those concerns immediately.  Don’t wait until your case is settled to find out the impact those concerns might have on your case.

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.

Will Your Boat Insurance Protect You If You Have A Boating Accident?

Thursday, May 28th, 2009
Does Your Boat Have Insurance?

Does Your Boat Have Insurance?

During the summer months the chances that someone will be injured in a boating accident are very likely.  Unlike cars, boat operators are not required in Kentucky to have an operating license or driver education.  This increases the chances that an operator of a boat will be involved in an accident, whether or not it’s his fault.

Thousands of boats take to the lakes and rivers of Kentucky each year without insurance.  Did you know that if you’re injured in a boat accident you might not be entitled to recover your lost wages, medical expenses, disability, or pain and suffering?  Unlike car insurance that is mandatory, boat insurance is purely optional.  Chances are you could be riding on an uninsured boat or injured by one.  Operating a boat without insurance isn’t worth the risk.

Like cars, boat insurance is available.  If you are considering buying boat insurance, make sure that it includes liability coverage to protect you in the event that you injure your passengers or people riding on another boat.  It should also include medical payments coverage to pay medical expenses incurred by those injured on your boat that is not involved in an accident.  You may also wish to purchase uninsured watercraft coverage if you or your passengers are injured by another boat that does not carry insurance.

Unfortunately, this coverage is optional and must be purchased in addition to the coverages mentioned earlier.  However, many insurance policies offer discounts similar to car insurance for experienced boaters or those who have taken operation classes.

If you own a boat or plan on riding one this summer, make sure it has insurance in case of a boating accident.  If it does, make sure it has the optional uninsured watercraft coverage in the event the accident is caused by an uninsured boat owner or operator.  Given the speed and the lack of safety restraints or features, injures suffered in boating accidents can be catastrophic and even result in death.  Don’t take chances.  Make sure your boat is insured.

For more information on what you should do in case of a boat accident, visit the boater education website BOATED.

How To Recover Your Lost Wages From A Kentucky Accident.

Monday, May 11th, 2009
Recovering Your Lost Wages

Recovering Your Lost Wages

If you were injured in an accident and miss work, you are entitled to recover your lost wages.  Your first source of recovery is lost wages paid through PIP.  Unfortunately, the legislature has capped PIP payments for lost wages at $200 a week.  Hardly, sufficient to compensate someone for the likely wages they have lost.  You should know you are entitled to the difference.

You will recover this amount from the party at fault when you make your claim.  For instance, if you miss three weeks of work and earn $400 a week in lost wages, PIP will pay you a total $600 in lost wages.  Your actual wage loss is $1,200.  The difference of $600 is recoverable when you make a claim for “bodily injury.”  This figure should be included in any negotiations with the insurance company. The insurance company that settles your bodily injury claim will also be responsible for paying back the sums paid under PIP.

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.

Injured in a Car Accident? Do You need an Accident Attorney?

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Many people have asked whether they should hire an attorney if they have been injured in a car, motorcycle, or truck accident.  This concern is usually followed by, “how much will it cost?”  Today’s article will discuss some issues to consider in deciding if you need an accident attorney to handle your injury claim.

There are many facts to consider before you hire an attorney.  The first issue you must decide is whether you need an attorney at all.  Don’t think just because you’ve been a victim in a car accident or that many attorneys advertise for these cases, that you must have an attorney before filing an injury claim.  If you suffered only minor injuries, little or no lost wages, and only minor medical bills, you most likely do not need an attorney at all.  You can file a claim for the pain, suffering, and inconvenience you experienced as a result of the accident.  In this case your medical expenses and lost wages will most likely be paid from the PIP coverage you have available.  You can negotiate your settlement with an insurance adjuster without hiring an attorney.  Often these settlements are low enough that they do not warrant the hiring of an attorney.

However, if you sustained a serious or disabling injury, have lost significant work or can’t work at all, or have outstanding medical bills and require future treatment, then you should consider hiring an attorney to represent you.  At this point, several new concerns come into play.  You may need a skilled attorney to explain your options and see that your interests are protected, during any claim negotiations. The insurance adjuster will not look out for your interests or make sure your settlement is fair.

Many injured victims worry about the cost of hiring an accident attorney.  Most car accident attorneys will work on a “contingency fee” agreement.  This means that their fee will be “contingent” on the injured victim recovering for their injuries.  No recovery means no fee is paid.  Usually, a car accident attorney will take a percentage of any recovery you get in exchange for no payment up front and for bearing the risk if you don’t get a recovery.  The percentage will vary from attorney to attorney and may also be based on the length and complexity of the case.

Perhaps more important than determining if you need an attorney is determining which one to hire once a decision has been made.  We will discuss the qualities you might want to consider in an attorney in our next article.  Please check back for; “What to Look for in a Car, Motorcycle, or Truck Accident Attorney.”

What Is Meant By Kentucky No Fault?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Kentucky is a “no fault” state. Many people injured in accidents have been mistakenly told that if “no fault” is determined, then they don’t have an injury claim. This is not the case. In Kentucky fault is based on percentages. Each party is entitled to recover their damages for the other person’s fault up to 100%. For instance, if I am 35% at fault for causing an accident, I am still entitled to recover 65% of my total damages.

So what is meant by “no fault”? In Kentucky, injured person’s give up the right to sue the other person for their first $10,000.00 in economic damages, in exchange for receiving $10,000.00 in insurance benefits (PIP benefits). The term “no fault” means “no fault” is considered in the award of these benefits.  Even if a person is 100% responsible for a car accident, they are still entitled to certain benefits if they were injured in a car accident.

The belief is that if an injured person’s medical expenses and lost wages (up to $10,000) are paid, they won’t be forced to file a lawsuit to recover those damages from the other person. This is supposed to lead to less fights over “fault” and actually result in the prompt payment of these damages.

Unfortunately, Kentucky’s “no fault” procedure is a statutory scheme that can be quite complicated. Avoid basing decisions regarding your potential claim on the statements of police officers, medical personnel, insurance adjusters, relatives or friends. You may need the services of a licensed attorney if there is an issue regarding fault for your accident or if your PIP benefits or bodily injury claim has been reduced or denied due to “fault”.

Economy Leaves Millions Of Drivers Uninsured

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

MSN reports on an insurance industry study that warns that 1 in 6 won’t be covered by the end of the year.  According to one analyst; “When you see a multi-car collision on the freeway … if there’s more than three or four cars there, at least one of them is likely to be uninsured.”  Apparently, motorists are choosing to drop their coverage to offset tough times due to the economic recession.

According to law enforcement officials and insurance industry representatives, “dropping your auto insurance is one of the worst steps you can take.”  “Uninsured motorists face legal fees, fines (and)penalties, including a suspended license,” said Elaine Zeinner, a spokeswoman for AAA.”

Liability insurance is mandatory in Kentucky, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has it. As the article suggests many chose to break the law and forgo buying insurance to cover them in the event they cause an accident. Not only does this subject the person to criminal charges, but it is financially ill advised.  Injuries received in car accidents can result in thousands of dollars of damages. Many people simply could not afford to pay those damages out of their own pocket.

What can you do to protect yourself in the event you are injured by an uninsured driver? Purchase uninsured motorists (UM) coverage through your own insurance company. This coverage protects you in the event you are injured by someone who is driving without insurance.

In Kentucky UM coverage must be offered by your insurance company.  However, you can reject this coverage in writing. Often Kentucky citizens will reject the coverage to save a few dollars a month in premiums off their insurance bill. This is not wise. As the article suggests, by next year 1 in 6 drivers will likely be uninsured. Don’t rely on someone else. Protect yourself. Check your policy and make sure you have UM coverage. If not contact your agent and request it.