According to the Federal Highway Administration, the United States is the largest passenger vehicle market of any country in the world
There are now more than 250 million passenger vehicles registered in the US and this number has increased steadily since 1960. Taking into account the number of buses, commercial trucks, and motorcycles that are also on the roadways means that accidents are inevitable.
Considering the relative size and speed of vehicles manufactured today, it is not surprising that motor vehicle accidents are a major cause of property damage and personal injury in this country. In the state of Kentucky, the Johnson Law Firm offers the knowledge and skill that is critical in preparing a successful accident claim.
With almost two decades of litigation experience, Pikeville vehicle accident lawyer, Billy Johnson, has been helping Kentucky vehicle crash victims secure substantial jury awards and out-of-court settlements. A trusted advisor with a solid reputation, he has experience in:
Featured Article: Vehicle Defects: They’re Real, They’ve Happened, and They Can Happen to You
There’s a little Superman inside all of us. We’re born with an inherent sense of invincibility, a blind belief in our own bulletproof fortune. And accordingly, maybe we don’t always act as we should.
How many of us have driven on “Empty” a little too long? (“Surely I can make it.”) Or added an extra slice of pizza, never mind the calorie count? (As TV’s “The Nanny” once said, “If you stack them on top of each other, the body doesn’t know!”) Keep Reading
Causes of Kentucky Vehicle Accidents
One of the first things to consider is the cause of the accident. Common causes include negligence, recklessness, or impairment on the part of a driver; dangerous or substandard road conditions; and defects in the vehicle itself. In determining whether there is a basis for a lawsuit, one of the primary considerations is the idea of negligence. Drivers are responsible for taking reasonable care in operating a vehicle. Failure to exercise reasonable care is considered an act of negligence.
Recklessness, Impairment & Negligence
One basis for negligence is driving while impaired. Impairment may be physical or mental (affected judgment). It may result from the use of drugs or alcohol (DUI, or driving under the influence, is a criminal offense), fatigue, or health conditions (such as diminished eyesight or ability to react quickly). Another basis for negligence is failure to obey the laws of the road. Such “reckless driving” usually involves one or more of the following: driving at a speed above the posted limit, driving at a speed unreasonable for the conditions, failing to obey traffic signals, and driving while distracted.
Poorly Maintained Roads, Malfunctioning Traffic Signals & Defects
In some cases, negligence stems not from another motorist but from a factor outside any driver’s control. Poorly maintained roads, improperly marked construction zones, and malfunctioning traffic signals may constitute negligence on the part of state or local governments. Defective parts or auto repair work may be defined as negligence on the part of an auto maker or mechanic.
As with all accidents involving personal injury, the severity of injuries and their long-term effects can vary greatly. In the case of motor vehicle crashes, injuries may include whiplash, broken bones, burns, internal injuries, and even death. Anyone who has been in a traffic accident should be thoroughly examined by a medical professional as soon after the accident as possible. What seem to be minor injuries can mask undetected internal injuries and can develop into major health concerns.
Available Compensation in Vehicle Crashes
Based on the severity of the accident and the circumstances surrounding its cause, damages may include compensation for:
- Property damage (such as automobile repairs)
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Loss of current and future income
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death.
Serving the Legal Needs of Kentucky Accident Survivors
The insurance company of the party who is at fault is responsible for paying all of the victim’s damages that resulted from the accident. An important thing to consider when you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident is that insurance companies are businesses with vested interests in paying as little in claims as possible. This is why it is always in a victim’s best interests to discuss the situation with a lawyer before accepting an offer from an insurance company. An attorney that works for you will put your needs before the insurance company’s monetary interests.
Don’t Face the Insurance Companies Alone
The Johnson Law Firm is familiar with the many ways in which insurance companies may try to get you to settle quickly and for less compensation than you deserve. Don’t face them alone. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a vehicle accident, protect your rights by calling a Kentucky vehicle accident lawyer the Johnson Law Firm at 606-437-4488 or by filling out our consultation form for a free assessment of your case. Billy has been named a Super Lawyer by U.S. News & World Report, as well as an American Trial Lawyers Association Top 100 trial lawyer, and he is a proud member of the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums. Put his experience to work for you.
Teen Driving Safety in Kentucky
From over-sized trucks to unsafe roadways, from drunk drivers to texting truckers – it seems to be an endless number of dangers on our roads. These hazards combine with the natural characteristics of being a teenager to result in a disproportionate number of crashes for our young adults.
Parents in Appalachia have reason to worry. Adults may not realize that driving risks are higher for teens in Kentucky. Take rural, curvy highways and put more trucks (including coal trucks) and a higher volume of reckless drivers and decrease public transportation options and you have a recipe for disaster.
Common Vehicle Crash Questions
How Common Are SCI’s in Vehicle Crashes?Though statistics on the number of spinal cord injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident are difficult to quantify, researchers at The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) at the University of Alabama Birmingham labored greatly to find this out not long ago. In 2014, after reviewing many non-NSCISC databases to come up with the most plausible and logical estimate to date, they arrived at a formula.
The Center estimates that each year in the U.S., 12,500 people survive a vehicle accident but suffer some kind of spinal cord injury (SCI). Males account for approximately four out of every five vehicle-related SCI injuries. The NSCISC also finds that vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of SCI, trailing falls, and followed by acts of violence (primarily gunshot wounds) and sports/recreation activities
The reason why car accidents lead to such serious spine injuries is rather simple. Human backs and necks are not designed to sustain the force of an impact like those associated with vehicle accidents. The violent and oppositional forces that pull on a body from opposite directions cannot compare to most other injuries. And no safety feature on any vehicle can completely protect us from these forces or eliminate the risk of a serious back or neck injury.
So when any serious vehicle wreck happens, the back muscles and ligaments are put under tremendous stress by gravitational (G) forces. What little “shock absorbing value” that we all have in our necks and spines is literally overwhelmed by these G-forces and cannot absorb blows often associated with serious vehicle accidents.
More recent research involved a one-day snapshot of data about vehicle accident-related SCIs, with information coming from multiple hospitals. Published by the Asian Journal of Neurosurgery in April 2017, it determined that the lumbar vertebral zone (the lower back) was the most commonly injured area of the spine in 64 percent of all SCIs sustained by accident victims in the study. They also found that the majority of SCI injury victims were the vehicle drivers (86.8 percent), even when there were multiple victims traveling in the same vehicle. To put these numbers into perspective, there were 91 total admissions for spinal injuries after a car accident during this single day, representing 29.9 percent of the total 304 spine injury cases which were recorded.
Most people who suffer a vehicle accident-related SCI will likely need extensive medical care and also rehabilitation, especially if they suffer permanent lack of function of their legs (paraplegia) or legs and arms (quadriplegia). Most sufferers of serious SCIs have limited (if any) ability to work after their injury.
The NSCISC research also found that about one of three people with vehicle-related SCIs are re-hospitalized at least once in any given year after their injury. Since the Center maintains that four out of five SCI injury victims are male, it’s not unusual that researchers discovered that those who are re-hospitalized suffer from male-related afflictions, most notably to one of their genitourinary organs (colon, bladder, prostate, or testicles). Other afflictions to the skin, respiratory, digestive, circulatory or musculoskeletal systems follow. The average re-hospitalization stay for SCI survivors is about 22 days.
The percentage of suicides by SCI victims is noticeably higher than in the general population. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), of the 2,304 newly admitted cases of SCI between 1991 and 2010, by the end of 2014 there were 533 deaths, of which 4.2 percent were by suicide, with 91 percent of those suicides occurring within the first 10 years of their SCI.
What to Do After a Vehicle Crash? Steps to Take After Crash
After a car or truck wreck, if you’re able to do follow the steps below, immediately and during the first few days afterward, it will make your insurance claim go smoother and increase the odds of it being a success.
1. Remain at the Scene – It’s against the law to leave the scene of an accident you were in if the police have been summoned; you must at least exchange insurance and other identifying information with the other driver. If there are any injuries, leaving the scene could result in your arrest and charges of “fleeing the scene [of an accident].”
2. Check on All Drivers and Passengers – Make sure everyone in all cars involved in the accident are alright. If anyone is seriously wounded, unconscious, unresponsive, or complains of any pain, they should not be moved unless vehicles are on fire!
3. Call 911 – Summon police and, if anyone is injured, EMTs. If police are able to respond, they will fill out an accident report. This is very important, as it protects you in several ways:
- It helps preserve the evidence that the responding officer will include in his accident report and subsequent investigation by your lawyer.
- It assures that you will have the other driver’s car insurance information: the driver’s name, insurance company, and policy number.
- It protects the value of your injury claim and reduces the odds that the driver’s insurance company will make substandard settlement offers.
- It usually takes police a few days to compile a formal accident report. The responding officer will tell you how you can get a copy of yours. Once you have it, take it to your lawyer immediately.
- If police are unable to come to the scene, use the information you gather to fill out your own version of events leading up to the accident
4. Talk to witnesses – If there are any witnesses, try to interview them to find out what they saw. If that is not practical, try to get their names and contact information. If they need to leave (witnesses are not legally bound to stay), you can give that information to police when they arrive. Also ask anyone who lives near the accident scene whether they know of other accidents in the same place. Make a note of any businesses that have video cameras which might have recorded the accident.
5. Take pictures of damage to both cars – these photographs are the best evidence of your property damage. Also, if there is anything in your vehicle that was damaged, take pictures of those, too. If you wait to take pictures of your vehicle later, the other driver’s insurance company will undoubtedly contest the value of that damage.
6. Never apologize – or admit that part or all of the accident was your fault. Anything you say that could even hint at an apology will come back to haunt you once the other driver’s insurance company learns you’ve expressed even the vaguest of apologies. Just don’t go there.
7. Get medical treatment – If you need immediate attention, the ambulance will take you to a hospital emergency room. There, the medical staff will make sure your injuries are not serious and will admit you if they are. If you are treated and released, you will likely be prescribed some pain medication and told to see your doctor as soon as possible. Insurance companies view the time between the accident and your first medical treatment as a true test of how seriously you were injured. The longer that period of time, the less they’re likely to believe the worth of your financial claim.Whether you see the medical staff at the ER or your own personal physician, make certain you do not minimize any injury or symptoms. “Toughing it out” does not serve you well when it comes to your claim. Tell the doctor everything that hurts or does not feel right. Also, clearly explain any part of your body that hit any part of the interior of your car. All this information is vital medical evidence for your lawyer to use either during settlement negotiations or, if necessary, at trial.
8. Notify your insurance company – They should know about the accident as quickly as possible and no later than the next day after the accident. Kentucky is a “choice no-fault” insurance state. In order for your damages to be paid, your insurance company is the one you should be working with. Your insurer will notify the negligent driver’s insurance company as in no-fault states; they should pay you and then seek reimbursement by the other driver’s carrier.
In a serious Kentucky car accident, the other driver’s insurer may contact you and ask for an official statement. This can be intimidating. If you haven’t considered talking with a personal injury attorney by then, you should. They can explain the types of questions to expect.
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