Question: I wish I had your handbook (referring to the Glove Box Accident Guide) in my vehicle all the times that I have been hit throughout my life. I am a multiple vehicle accident victim, hit over 13 times by negligence and drunk drivers in simple accidents. Your handbook and everything that you have just said is more information than I have ever gotten, and I had one question for you ‘cause in the last, hopefully I will never be hit again, but one doctor said, would you like to know the percentage of how many times you might be hit again. I said, no thank you. I was hit last in a doctor’s office parking lot.
Yes, here in Jefferson County at a medical center, and it’s you know, when you tell someone that, it just sounds as if it’s a bump. Well, I was hit very hard, and I was a passenger in my own car. I was sick, and I had a friend drive me to be responsible, and I had full coverage on my car. A woman in a huge van, and I was in a Taurus. She didn’t see us when we were leaving and she panicked and hit the gas and I had internal injuries that weren’t even found for over three years. I could not get a police officer to come to the scene because it is considered private property.
Answer: The only thing we can do in this is look at it in hindsight. This won’t change what happened but will help you if it happens again. First take a picture of the license plate or take down the license number of the car that hit you if they are not cooperating. The photo of the license number can be taken to the Department of Motor Vehicles. They can look up who it is registered to. Also, take a picture of the individual to prove they were there. It’s one of those things. Parking lot accidents are difficult because there’s usually not a whole lot of damage to the cars. Sounds like there may have been a lot more in this particular case for you. Most people don’t realize how seriously they can be hurt when they are in an accident with little property damage. This does not mean that you are not injured. I would always suggest, immediately following an accident, that you seek medical attention and get checked out to make sure that there are no injuries that you’re not aware of.]]>
Personal injury attorney, Mike Schafer of The Schafer Law Office, answers a question about what to do if the court is supposed to contact you but still hasn’t in regards to an accident you were in.
Question: I was hit from behind at a stoplight. The young lady that hit me came to the car. The ambulance ended up coming, and she sat with me in the car until they pulled me out of the car and took me to the hospital. She was in the hospital, and they arrested her for not having a driver’s license or insurance.
I went to court with her, and she never showed. The people who take care of that at the court said they would make sure my insurance company got $500.00. I was supposed to return back to court according to the lady in the court office, but no one ever contacted me.
Answer: More than likely, the reason you haven’t been contacted is that the individual who hit you had a warrant out for her arrest due to not showing up in court. It’s called a bench warrant. When she is picked up on this bench warrant, the court will notify you by a subpoena or a summons that will come in the mail, and they will give you a new court date. Once that is ordered, restitution will be part of that to pay back your insurance company. For the time being, the only thing you can do is sit around and wait for the courts to track her down.]]>
The following is a question I was asked on WAVE Listens by someone who was in a car accident in a mall parking lot. They wanted to know whether or not the police would come. In my answer I explain to them what to do if you are in a car accident at the mall parking lot, or any parking lot for that manner, and the steps that need to be taken to make sure the accident is handled correctly and all needed evidence and information is collected.
Question: Say there’s an accident in the parking lot mall. Is a police officer not going to come?
Answer: A police officer will not come to a mall parking lot to investigate a car accident because the accident occurred on private property. Usually there is the security for the mall or the establishment that may come and document the accident and the injuries. The police do not have to come. It is important that you collect the following information: get the license number of the individual. The reason I say this is in case the person gives you a false address or false information, that license number will allow you to track them down through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
After you collect all of the information, you leave, go home and call Frankfort and ask for a Civilian Accident Report. When it is sent to you fill it out and return it. This will be part of the official report along with the at fault person’s report. A copy of that report should be requested about 2 weeks later. You should also call your insurance company and report the accident. I would also call the at-fault party’s insurance company and report the accident to them. A lot of times has not called there insurance company so you need to take the action to get that done.
The bottom line is you have to be proactive and take matters into your own hands. In these cases you are the investigating officer and must preserve all the evidence.
The following is a question I was asked on WAVE Listens. The caller asked what to do if you are involved in a hit and run car accident in Kentucky. I explain to her what actions need to be taken to handle the hit and run car accident correctly so as to increase the chances you will be able collect the settlement you deserve.
Question: My car was hit in an apartment parking lot, and the individual left the scene. All I have is liability insurance on my car. The insurance company was going to file it under uninsured motorist, but you have to report it to the state. The state would not accept it because it could not be proved that it was an uninsured motorist, which is hard when you don’t know who hit you.
Answer: Some Kentucky car insurance policies allow an injured person who is hit by a driver that leaves the scene of an accident. Others do not allow compensation under the uninsured motorist coverage. It depends on the definition of an uninsured motorist in the policy. Sometimes a hit and run car is specifically excluded if it cannot later be identified. Other times a hit and run driver is allowed in the terms of the policy to be considered an uninsured motorist. You must look to the terms of your own car insurance policy to see how a hit and run driver is defined. Either is allowed. It depends on your personal car insurance policy.]]>
Research has been being conducted for some time learning the effects distracted driving has on drivers. Recently Honda and The Ohio State University have joined together to open a $1.3 million Driving Simulation Laboratory. Anyone that knows me knows that my Dad went to The Ohio State University and I love Buckeye football. Go Bucks! I am glad that they are partnering with Honda on a study that should help decrease the number of distracted driving accidents.
The new laboratory is geared directly at distracted driving issues. Not only will it see the effects distracted driving has on people partaking in it, it will also monitor heart rate, blood pressure, eye movement, and stress levels so they can grasp the psychological and physiological condition of the diver in numerous conditions. The lab is going to enable researchers to study how certain age groups differentiate in their driving habits. Frank Paluch, senior vice president of Honda R&D America in Raymond, Ohio stated, “It presents both the university and Honda with a chance to conduct leading-edge research into the psychological components of the driving experience and its impact on issues such as driver distraction and overall vehicle safety.”
In 2010, 3092 people were killed in accidents involving a distracted driver, and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver. Drivers who use hand held devices while they are driving are four times more likely to get in an accident. Sending or receiving a text message takes the driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. This is equivalent to driving the length of a football field at 55 mph blind.
Drivers will be able to see firsthand these affects and the devastating results of texting while driving. The more teens that are able to experience this type of simulation the fewer car accidents we will have. AT&T, as well as other safety advocacy organizations, has offered a road tour to U.S. high schools of the texting-while-driving simulator offered by The Peers Foundation. The Driving Simulator is a computerized car that permits users to virtually text and drive (I guess the only instance in which such a behavior can be conducted safely). Ohio State and Honda has taken this to the next level. Maybe a road tour will be in there future. If there is I hope Louisville will be a stop.]]>
Today, manual transmissions or stick shifts are no longer popular in most cars sold in America and other countries. No doubt, the percentage of new vehicles with stick-shift gearboxes remains a small slice of the new vehicle market because most of today’s models don’t even offer manuals. Most teenagers have never driven a car with stick shift and clutch. This worries the classic car industry. They may run out of future customers. Thus, Hagerty Insurance, which specializes in policies to protect classic cars, came up with a one-day class for young drivers in Philadelphia last month to revive its interest with stick shifts and clutches.
Fifteen through twenty five year-olds learned to operate manual transmissions on the vintage automobiles, such as a 1930 Ford Model A, a classic 1966 Ford Mustang, a sporty 1974 Karmann Ghia and a pint-sized 1960 Austin Healey Sprite, that they could take for a quick spin. Their Hagerty Driving Experience comprise a 30 minutes of car basics instructions, then 15 minutes behind the wheel of classic cars, navigating a closed course. According to McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty Insurance, “As summer comes to a close, it’s been great to educate kids about classic car before they head back to school.”
Is learning to driving manual transmissions operated car really important? Many people consider manuals more fun to drive than automatics I always felt they gave you better control of the car. Learning how to drive a stick shift has its many benefits such as longer life for your brakes due to engine braking, more control in slippery/snow conditions, and better fuel efficiency over an automatic, can start a car with a dead battery without a jumpstart, cheaper to fix and maintain and cost less to buy. The driving experience in a stick shift is something significant for the coordination of clutching and shifting makes you pay attention to your driving.
I think this is a catastrophe to happen. A teenager driving a stick shift and texting while driving. They would have to use their knees for the steering wheel. Let the stick shift have the same death as rear wheel drive. This will keep our roads safe from another distraction that could cause a serious car accident or fatal crash.
Joshua Schank, president and CEO of the non-partisan Eno Center for Transportation says other states are most likely to hike speed limits on toll roads because federal funding for free roads is drying up and this toll way system gives the opportunity to offer premium services on the roads.
Texas has already has some of the highest speed limits in the country. But will this new 85 mph speed limit cost more lives to serious car crashes? Safety advocates are worried that the new speed limit will be an invitation for motorists to drive even faster. Justin McNaull of AAA states that, “As you increase travel speeds of vehicles, you increase the energy involved in crashes, which means you have more injuries and more deaths when crashes happen.”
But according to John Bowman of the National Motorists Association, which advocates for higher speed limits, it is possible to safely raise speed limits on highways as long as engineering studies have shown that the road can handle such an increase. Veronica Beyer, the spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation ensures us that the new Texas toll road was designed and tested for high-speed travel, and that safety is the top priority.
As a Kentucky personal injury attorney I can understand this, but I am not sure they have thought about the human factors involved:
These are just a few. I enjoy the thrill of speed, but are our highways the best place for this? I hope I am wrong but I see car crashes as a result of the higher speed limit. Do you think we can be safe drivers at this higher speed?
Last weeks’ report wasn’t good either. From September 17, Monday through September 23, 2012, Sunday, statistics show that nine people died in separate crashes on Kentucky roadways. Single fatality crashes occurred in Grant, Grayson, Jefferson, McCreary and Meade Counties that resulted in five fatalities. Three of the victims were not wearing seat belts. A motorcycle crash in Jefferson County caused one fatality. Two fatalities from ATV crashes happened in Fayette County and Perry County. They were both not wearing helmets. The fatality in Perry County involved the use of alcohol. And one bicycle rider was killed in Daviess County.
By reviewing the numbers of fatalities above, you will see that more than half of the victims were not wearing either their seatbelts or helmets. What? This is a simple and obvious way to make yourself safer on the road. What can we conclude? I don’t think this is an enforcement problem to be blamed on the police. People lack discipline, plain and simple. Such a simple effort can save your life. Why do people fight doing what is obviously good and can save them from a serious injury accident.
When I was in the Dominican Republic over the summer I observed the same phenomenon. Motorcyclists were required to have a helmet on the bike. Instead of wearing it, most would hold it in their hand while riding. You heard me! I couldn’t believe it, but not wearing a helmet at all can have the same tragic results. Statistics don’t lie. Wear a helmet and use your seatbelt and save your life if you are involved in a Kentucky motor vehicle accident.]]>
“LOL” is a common acronym for laugh out loud on the internet. But Paula Asher uses this ‘lol’ on her Facebook page after being involved in a serious DUI crash wherein she was allegedly at fault and was charged with contempt of court. Woodford District Judge Mary Jane Phelps ordered her to delete her Facebook account after her comment but ignored the judge order and ended up two days in jail.
“My dumb – got a dui and I hit a car…lol”, was the statement that Asher wrote on her Facebook profile soon after the incident took place last July 20. Police say Asher drove drunk and t-boned another car that four teens were riding in and then left the scene of the accident. Her careless status update prompted the parents of the four teenagers to tell the court. And that is when, Judge Phelps ordered Asher to close her Facebook account, but she didn’t. Asher claims, “I really wasn’t trying to make fun of (the crash)” and didn’t think that ‘lol’ would put her in jail.
It is unclear in which law Phelps ordered Asher to stop using Facebook. But Asher will be back in court with Phelps again on September 27 to face the charges outlined on her Facebook post and other charges, including possession of a controlled substance.
Asher says she’s learned her lesson. “I apologize to everybody,” she said. “I apologize to the judge. I didn’t mean to hurt anybody.”
Why do I bring this up? It is not smart to make posts on Facebook, twitter or any social media forum when you are involved in litigation. I am looking for it. The insurance adjuster is looking for it. The defense attorney is looking for it. And if you post something really dumb the judge on your case will have o look at it. The best advice I can give you is don’t post anything and delete your account. I know that you won’t do that, so what is the next best thing? Don’t post anything your mother would be ashamed of. The posts will rarely ever help you.
Even something that you think is harmless could devalue your car crash case. Is your post worth the cash, or in this case the freedom, you could lose?
I know you have heard of the McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case which has been twisted by the insurance industry into the mantra in the debate over tort reform. The movie talks about how Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants is misused to describe a frivolous lawsuit and referenced in conjunction with tort reform efforts. Whether it is McDonald’s, the insurance industry, or the United States Chamber of Commerce (which is not a government agency, the members are large corporations). They have distorted the facts of Liebeck’s case to the point that what the public believes is nowhere close to the actual facts.
The true facts about this case was finally given justice when the HBO documentary film titled “Hot Coffee” was released. Most people believe Ms. Liebeck’s (the victim) burn severity was minimal. This is not the case. Look at the burns when you watch the movie and your stomach will turn. Another misconception is that this was a get rich scheme. She originally only asked McDonald’s to pay her medical expenses and lost wages. When they didn’t she was forced to file a law suit to get payment for the $160,000.00 in medical bills. I bet you didn’t know the injuries were that significant. The most disturbing fact is that McDonald’s required coffee to be served at 180º – 190º even though they knew there was a strong possibility of severe burns.
This time, Starbucks is the main character in this drama. Christina Sturgees suffered second-degree burns after being scalded by a cup of Starbuck’s hot tea. In August 2009 she bought a Venti green tea at a drive-thru at a Seattle Starbucks. After taking her first sip, the lid came off and hot tea poured over her immediately blistering her skin. She filed the lawsuit in King County Superior Court and Sturgees attorneys claimed that a barista didn’t seal the lid atop her cup of hot tea. This cleared the way for her injuries. It is alleged that Starbucks was aware of the defects in its cups and that other customers have been burned. Sturgees later obtained skin grafts and underwent other surgeries due to her injuries, according to the lawsuit filed.
Attorneys Kristin Houser and Rebecca Roe of the Seattle firm Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender are writing the court claiming that Sturgees should be compensated for her medical expenses and lost earnings, as well as her pain and suffering. They added that Starbucks was negligent and the tea cup was dangerously poorly designed. According to her attorneys, “Starbucks was aware of incidents involving serious burns from its tea and coffee throughout the country and failed to take appropriate steps to remedy the danger.”
Starbucks has not yet responded in the court and according to their spokeswoman Maggie Jantzen, the company is reviewing the lawsuit and stated that Starbucks takes the safety of its customers and workers seriously, and asserted the company is “confident the tea is brewed to industry standards.” They have until mid-September to make an initial response to the lawsuit. Let’s wait and see to what will happen to this case. How will this lawsuit end? Whatever the result I pray that the true facts will be made known to the public and not distorted as they were in the Hot Coffee case.