Monthly Archives: November 2016

Kansas Car Accident Lawyer Discusses Whether it is Ever Too Late to Call an Attorney

Attorney advertisements often (nearly always, in fact) urge injured victims to contact this firm or that attorney “right away” and caution them not to delay in seeking legal help. Some of these advertisements make it seem as if your legal rights will disappear if you do not take immediate action by calling the attorney or firm. However, in the aftermath of a car accident you undoubtedly have other questions on your mind:

  • How long will I have to be in the hospital?
  • When am I able to return to work?
  • How will I be able to meet my bills and expenses?

These weighty concerns may make the task of retaining an attorney seem unimportant. Is there any truth to attorney advertisements that say you must “act now” in hiring an attorney?

Kansas’ Statute of Limitations

Recall that every state (including Kansas) has a statute of limitations which gives injury victims and certain length of time after an accident in which to file a claim for compensation. In Kansas, the statute of limitations that is applicable in personal injury cases such as car crashes is two years. In other words, Kansas law gives car crash injury victims two years from the date of their accident in which to file their lawsuit seeking compensation. This two-year period can pass by rather quickly: During this time, the injury victim (and/or his or her attorney) must investigate the cause of the crash and determine who is likely responsible for causing the crash, locate these individuals as well as helpful witnesses and evidence, consult with any expert witnesses, if necessary, and quantify and document his or her damages and losses. All this typically occurs before the victim even files his or her initial pleading.

In general, a victim who fails to file his or her lawsuit pleading within this two-year period is forever barred from filing a lawsuit based upon the injury crash. So, therefore, there is some reason for the urgency of advertisements that encourage victims to “act now.” The sooner you retain an attorney following your accident, the more likely it is that you will not run afoul of the statute of limitations.

What if the Statute of Limitations Has Passed?

Injury victims for whom the statute of limitations has passed may not be completely barred from bringing a lawsuit to recover compensation. However, they must act quickly in order to assert their rights. The two-year period typically begins to run on the date that the accident occurs. However, the two-year period does not begin to run if the victim does not have reason to know that he or she has actually been injured or has diligently tried to locate the at-fault party in order to serve him or her but has been unable to do so. So, for example, a party who is rendered unconscious and enters a coma following a car accident, or one who is told by doctors that he or she is “fine” but who later develops medical complications, will have the statute of limitations period begin when they either become aware they have been injured or from the date when a reasonable person in their situation would have known he or she was injured and may have had a claim for compensation.

It never hurts to review your situation with an experienced car accident lawyer. Kansas Car Accident Lawyer Michael R. Lawless will review the facts of your case and help you understand whether you may be able to bring a lawsuit for your car crash injuries, the statute of limitations notwithstanding. Call Michael R. Lawless today at (800) 734-3771 to discuss your case.

 

 

Kansas Car Crash Attorney Explains How Passengers’ Negligence Can Cause Accidents

A typical car crash case in Kansas involves one or more injury victims bringing suit against one or more allegedly-negligent drivers of cars, trucks, and/or commercial vehicles. Although the facts and circumstances that led to these crashes will vary from case to case, the underlying allegations of such cases is the same: that one or more drivers operated a vehicle in a careless or reckless way and, in so doing, caused the victim(s) to suffer harm. In some cases, the victim(s) may allege that a third-party – such as a municipality or state agency responsible for designing or maintaining a roadway – also played a role in causing the crash. The one person that you do not often hear of playing a role in an accident (but who can, in fact, be the primary cause of a crash)? The passenger of a motor vehicle.

Why So Few Lawsuits Against Passengers?

An injured motorist may choose to file a lawsuit against any person or entity he or she believes played a role in causing a crash. Bringing suit against all parties who may be responsible for causing a crash is an essential step in the victim’s quest to obtain full and fair compensation: If the victim only brings suit against a person who is 30 percent responsible for the crash, the victim may only be able to recover 30 percent of the monetary damages to which he or she would be entitled.

Passengers of motor vehicles can certainly engage in negligent or careless behavior that can lead to a crash. More specifically, a passenger may cause a distraction for the driver of a vehicle by engaging the driver in conversation, pointing out something that causes the driver to take his or her eyes off of the road, or engaging in other similar behavior. There have even been incidents in which the passenger of the vehicle has grabbed the steering wheel of the vehicle while the vehicle is in motion (in jest or during a fight) and caused the driver to lose control. So why does there seem to be so few vehicle passengers who are named as defendants in cases? There are at least two reasons:

  • First, in many cases the injured driver and the passenger are related to one another or are in a relationship with one another. The driver and passenger may be husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, or have some other connection with one another. In such a case, the “costs” to the driver in bringing a suit (both monetary as well as costs to familial or other intimate relationships) may be too great.
  • Second, it can be challenging to gather the proof necessary to prove that a passenger was negligent and what role this negligence played in causing the plaintiff’s injuries. Absent testimony from the passenger him- or herself or the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger was riding (who, for the reasons listed above, may not have any incentive to cooperate with the injured plaintiff’s lawsuit.

Can an Attorney Help Find Evidence of a Passenger’s Responsibility?

 Even though evidence of a passenger’s culpability in causing an accident might be scarce, the chances of finding such information increase when you retain the services of an experienced and resourceful personal injury lawyer like Kansas Car Crash Attorney Michael R. Lawless. He strives to help his clients by identifying and bringing suit against all responsible parties so as to help ensure his clients receive full and fair compensation or their injuries. Contact him today to discuss your car accident recovery by calling (800) 734-3771.