Monthly Archives: July 2016

Kansas Truck Accident Lawyer Explains the Relevance of Traffic Violations in a Truck Crash Lawsuit

In Ohio, a recent five-car vehicle crash was determined to have been caused by a dump truck driver who was unable to brake in time after traffic in front of him on a major interstate had stopped. Further investigation into the cause of the crash – and into the dump truck driver who allegedly caused it – revealed that the dump truck driver had received multiple traffic citations. This underscores the need for truck accident victims to request and review the driving record of the at-fault driver in a truck collision. In some truck accident cases, this single document can prove to be quite powerful.

Holding the Employer Responsible for Your Injuries

Where the truck driver is employed by a business and the truck driver’s driving record shows that the driver has previous driving-related convictions, the driver’s employer may be able to be held responsible for your injury accident. This is because most employers are responsible for exercising care and control over their employees while their employees are “on the job.” In the case of a driver with a spotty driving record, the employer’s obligation may require the employer to insist on a period of “clean driving” before hiring the driver, that the driver attend remedial driving courses – or that the employer not hire the driver at all. Employers who fail to take reasonable steps like this to fulfill this obligation may be held liable for the negligent or careless conduct of their drivers.

Just because a driver has multiple traffic violations on his or her driving record does not mean that the driver’s employer is liable for your injuries, however. Your attorney will need to establish by sufficiently-convincing proof that: (1) the driver’s careless behavior occurred while the driver was “on the job”; and (2) the steps that the employer took to supervise or control the driver’s behavior were inadequate, given what the employer knew or should have known about the driver’s history. For example, suppose you are struck by a dump truck driver while the driver is on his way to deliver a load to a jobsite. An employer who knew this driver had multiple driving violations but who insisted that the driver complete a remedial driving course and drive with a supervisor before he was permitted to drive solo may have fulfilled its obligation to exercise due care (which can, in turn, limit the compensation to which you are entitled from the employer).

How To Use a Driving Record at Trial

 Driving records of at-fault drivers are useful in settlement negotiations, but using them effectively at trial requires a knowledge of the Kansas rules of evidence. Simply asking the allegedly at-fault driver about his previous driving-related convictions is not usually an effective way to alert the judge or jury to this driver’s history (after all, without the ability to enter the driving record into evidence, the driver can simply lie about the information on his or her driving record with impunity). This is where the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced Kansas truck accident lawyer can prove invaluable – ensuring important documentary evidence is admitted and considered by the court.

Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas truck accident lawyer committed to holding those who cause injury to others accountable for their actions. Kansas Truck Accident Lawyer Michael R. Lawless takes the time to ensure no stone is left unturned when investigating truck injury accidents for his client. If the at-fault truck driver has a spotty driving record, Mr. Lawless will aggressively pursue both the driver and the driver’s employer for compensation, if appropriate. Contact his office today for assistance with your truck accident case by calling (800) 734-3771.

Kansas Car Crash Attorney Describes How to Use Admissions in Your Injury Lawsuit

It is no secret that after a Kansas car crash, “anything you cay (or write) can and will be used against you” if you seek compensation from another driver. This is why you should not tell the other driver, a witness, or a police officer that you are “sorry” for the accident or somehow insinuate that the accident was primarily your fault. Similarly, you should not post any description of the accident to your social media accounts or give any insurance company a written statement unless you have discussed doing so with your attorney. When you notice that the other driver who you believed caused your car crash violates this advice, does this mean your car accident lawsuit is guaranteed to succeed? Not necessarily.

The Best Statements are Those in Writing and Clearly Made by the At-Fault Driver

 When a “confession” or “admission of responsibility” is made following a car accident, its persuasive power will depend on how the admission is recorded and whether it is clear that the at-fault driver made that admission. The most powerful and persuasive admissions are those that are made by the at-fault driver in writing and that are clearly attributable to the at-fault driver. Some of the least persuasive admissions are those made orally to you alone, as the at-fault driver can deny that he or she ever made the statement. For example, an allegedly at-fault driver who posts a statement on his Facebook account shortly after returning home from an accident in which the driver admits he was not looking when he entered the intersection just before the crash will have a difficult time explaining in court why this statement should not be held against him. Conversely, if that same driver only said to you that he was “sorry” for the accident and no one else heard him but you, it will be challenging to get the driver to admit in court that he made this statement to you.

What if All I Have is an Oral Admission of Fault?

To be certain, an oral admission of fault by the other driver is better than no admission at all. But to maximize the impact of an oral admission of fault made by the other driver in your car crash, consider the following:

  • If you are speaking to the other driver the presence of the third party, ask the third party if he or she heard the other driver’s admission. If so, be certain to obtain this third party’s contact information so he or she can be called as a corroborating witness, if needed. You may also ask if that witness will provide a statement to law enforcement officers about what the other driver said to him or her;
  • Write down what the other driver said as soon as possible after the crash, along with all other details about the crash that you can remember. The sooner you make this written report and the more details you include, the more credible your written recollection may appear to a judge or jury. Be certain to write down the exact words the other driver used.

Provide this information to your Kansas car crash lawyer, Michael R. Lawless. Seasoned Kansas City Car Crash Attorney Michael Lawless’ experience and knowledge means he is well-equipped to make the best use of such statements in your trial. Call Michael R. Lawless today at (800) 734-3771.