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.

Kansas Bus Accident Lawyer Comments on Horrific California Bus Accident (Pt. 2)

In an earlier article we looked at the recent California bus crash that left dozens of individuals dead and many more injured after a bus rear-ended a tractor-trailer at a time when the bus was believed to be going 65 miles per hour and the truck five miles per hour. What can make bus accidents truly frightening for injured passengers is not knowing what to do in the aftermath of such a crash.

Steps to Take After a Bus Crash

Although passengers who are traveling on a bus when the bus is involved in an accident may discover that they are in the midst of a confusing and terrifying situation, they are not by any means without the power or ability to help themselves. Keep these tips in mind when traveling by bus in case you find yourself involved in a bus crash:

  • Keep calm and consider your situation: Unlike in a passenger in car crash, escaping a bus accident is not as simple as opening the door and stepping away. In the moments after a bus crash, adrenaline will be running and it can be tempting to jump out of your seat and run to the front of the bus. Before you do so, however, get a handle on your situation: Are you injured? Can you move? What pain or odd sensations do you feel, if any? Is the bus on fire? Is there an odd smell or the smell of chemicals? Answering these few questions (it should only take you a moment or two) can tell you (1) if you should move; and (2) the direction you should move. If you cannot feel your legs or arms, or if your neck or back hurt, you may have suffered a spinal cord injury. In this case, you should not attempt to move unless doing so is absolutely necessary to save your life. If the bus is on fire, move low and go to the nearest emergency exit as quickly as possible.
  • Get clear of the bus: Once you exit the bus, try and get yourself as far away from the bus crash as possible. There is always a possibility that fuel might be leaking and could ignite. If emergency medical personnel are on the scene, meet with these people right away and have them examine you for injuries. Unless you suffered no injuries at all or only very minor injuries, it can be helpful to have them transport you to the hospital so that any injuries you did receive are treated promptly and appropriately.
  • Record your recollections: As soon as you are able to do so, record everything you remember about the bus crash, including the people sitting around you and the conversations, noises, and sights you remember just before the crash. Even if you believe you cannot remember much about the accident, the few details you may be able to remember can be enough to lead to more substantial information or evidence about the case. If nothing else, attempt to recall the name of the bus company, the driver, and the intended route (departure city and destination city) of the bus. The more information you can remember, the easier it will be for your bus accident lawyer to track down important records about your incident.

Because of the complexities present in most every bus crash incident, you should obtain experienced and knowledgeable counsel to help you understand your rights and seek compensation. Kansas Bus Accident Lawyer Michael R. Lawless is a compassionate yet dedicated advocate for Kansas bus crash victims. Contact his office today for help with your case by calling (800) 734-3771.

 

Kansas Bus Accident Lawyer Comments on Horrific California Bus Accident (Pt. 1)

Late this month a California bus accident along Interstate 10 that left approximately a dozen individuals dead and several more wounded made national news. The bus was transporting individuals from a desert casino location. Within hours of the crash, news outlets were describing the crash as one of the deadliest bus crashes in the state’s history. According to preliminary news reports from Fox News and other outlets, the bus was traveling nearly 65 miles per hour (perhaps more) when it struck the rear-end of a tractor-trailer that had slowed to 5 miles per hour. From photographs, the bus and trailer appear to have crushed or collapsed into one another. The investigation into the cause of the crash continues.

Dangers of Bus Accidents

A passenger on a bus might reasonably believe that he or she is safer in the event of a crash than the occupant of a passenger car. There is reason for this belief – busses are heavier and larger than most other vehicles – a collision between a bus and a passenger car is almost always going to do more damage to the passenger car than the bus. Yet, passengers of a bus are at a disadvantage when the bus collides with another commercial vehicle. Passengers do not have restraints, which means the significant “jolt” from a collision can send passengers into the aisles and around the cabin. Passengers may strike their heads or appendages on seats, windows, and other passengers. Not only this, but many busses are like airliners in that bags are permitted to be stored above the seats. In the event of a crash, these bags can come tumbling down on top of passengers and cause head injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Finally, passengers may become trapped on a bus that is on fire or leaking toxic substances because of the number of people on the bus and the disproportionately small number of exits.

Causes of Bus Accidents

Any bus accident can be tragic given that the mistake or careless action of one person (the bus driver) can negatively impact the lives of dozens of other people. Officials with the California Highway Patrol indicated that (at the present time, at least) it did not appear as if the bus driver attempted to brake before hitting the tractor-trailer, suggesting that the bus crash in California may have been caused by inattentive or drowsy driving. Although the crash did not happen in Kansas, a similar crash could easily occur given that Kansas has long stretches of flat roads and is a major thoroughfare for busses traveling from east to west and from west to east. Just as may be true in this California incident, a long open road at night can easily dull the senses of the bus driver and result in a catastrophe. When this occurs (again, as is true in the California accident) there may be dozens of deaths and/or serious injuries that result.

Passengers injured in bus crashes may be entitled to recover compensation if a careless bus driver caused an injury accident or if the reckless or careless acts of another person led to the bus crash that caused your injuries. This may include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses and losses attributable to the crash. If you or a loved one are injured in a tour bus crash, chartered bus crash, or public transportation bus accident, contact Kansas Bus Accident Lawyer Michael R. Lawless (800) 734-3771 if you or a loved one have been injured or killed by a distracted driver.

Kansas Distracted Driving Crash Lawyer Discusses Texting While Driving Accidents

Jacob Mansch is a Kansas educator with a story to tell. Already wheelchair-bound because of spina bifida (a birth defect in which the spinal cord of an infant fails to develop properly), Mr. Mansch was seriously injured in a car accident that left him hospitalized for five months. The driver that caused the crash was allegedly distracted by his telephone at the time of the accident. Now, Mr. Mansch is using his accident and injuries to help bring awareness to others about the dangers of texting while driving.

Texting While Driving Statistics

The dangers of driving while distracted are well-documented, yet many people consider driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs to be a much larger issue. While driving under the influence is certainly dangerous, statistics show that texting while driving – especially amongst teenaged drivers – is fast becoming an epidemic. Consider the following statistics:

  • During 2013, ten percent of all drivers between the ages of 15 years and 19 years who were involved in fatal crashes were distracted by a cell phone at the time of the crash (the highest percentage of any age group studied);
  • It is estimated that 3,154 people were killed and 424,000 others were injured in 2013 in crashes caused by distracted drivers;
  • A teen is more likely to receive a call or text from his or her own parents while the teen is driving than from any other person;
  • A driver’s risk of being involved in a crash increases by a factor of four when that driver is using a cell phone, regardless of whether the cell phone is a “hands-free” device;
  • Cell phone usage while driving is estimated to reduce the amount of brain activity dedicated to driving by up to 37 percent.

While distracted driving increases any driver’s risk of being involved in a serious or fatal car accident regardless of the driver’s age, these same statistics show that teenage drivers are more likely than any other age group to be seriously injured or killed in distracted driving accidents.

Keep your Teen Drivers Safe

On Kansas roads (especially those long, lonesome roads in the western part of the state), it can be tempting for teen drivers to pass the time and miles by checking their e-mails and texts, social media, or voicemails. Distracted driving accidents can occur on these roads, too. To help keep their teens safe, parents should teach (and model!) the following behaviors to their teen drivers:

  • Teach your children to put away their cellphones while driving. They should turn the phone off while the car is in motion so that they will not be tempted to reach for it should a text or voicemail alert go off while the teen is driving;
  • Tell your teen driver to set an automatic message to his or her phone alerting those who might try to call or text that he or she is driving and will reply to messages when he or she arrives at his or her destination;
  • As parents, do not call your children or text them if you know they are on the road (and, again, teach your children not to answer the phone until they arrive at their destination);
  • Finally, tell your children that if they believe they must check their phones or return messages while on the road, they should first pull off at a safe location, park their cars, and then return the message(s) before resuming their trip.

Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas Distracted Driving Crash Lawyer helping families and individuals harmed by distracted drivers recover compensation for their injuries and losses. Contact his law office by calling (800) 734-3771 if you or a loved one have been injured or killed by a distracted driver.

Kansas Car Accident Attorney Describes New “Driverless” License

A former racecar driver who was paralyzed in an accident 16 years ago is making news on the roads once again. Earlier this week, Sam Schmidt became the first individual to receive a license allowing him to drive a specially-modified Chevrolet Corvette. Mr. Schmidt is paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a horrific accident, and although he has been able to sail a sailboat using only his chin he has not been able to drive a car since his accident. Due to advances in technology, however, Mr. Schmidt is now able to do just that. Mr. Schmidt’s story is providing hope to thousands of individuals whose disabilities and impairments had previously prevented them from driving a vehicle.

License to Drive Though Paralyzed

Because of his paralysis, Mr. Schmidt is not able to operate the accelerator, brake pedal, or steering wheel of a traditional automobile. With advances in technology, however, a specialized Corvette was created that would enable Mr. Schmidt to control the vehicle using only head movements. Nevada has allowed Mr. Schmidt to obtain a “driver’s” license that would enable him to operate the car on Nevada roadways, provided the following limitations are met:

  • Schmidt must drive with a licensed driver in the passenger seat who is capable of taking control of the car in an emergency (Mr. Schmidt’s Corvette has a steering wheel and pedals on the passenger’s side of the vehicle);
  • Schmidt is not permitted to drive on ice or snow;
  • Schmidt must drive on Nevada roadways (the license is not yet recognized as valid by other states);
  • Schmidt must follow a pilot car while driving (that is, there must be a second vehicle operated by a licensed driver who “leads” or “guides” Mr. Schmidt and his car);

Nevada has indicated that, in time, it will consider lifting some of these restrictions if it determines it is safe to do so.

Driving in Violation of Restrictions and Car Accident Lawsuits

Many individuals aside from Mr. Schmidt have one or more restrictions on their licenses. For example, many people must wear corrective lenses while driving because their ability to see things close up and/or see objects far away. Drivers who are young and/or inexperienced may be restricted to driving only when they are accompanied by a licensed driver, when they are driving to and from certain authorized locations, and/or during certain times of the day. Commercial drivers must meet certain requirements as well.

If a driver with a restricted license or a license with limitations imposed upon it is involved in a crash, does evidence that these restrictions or limitations were violated have any bearing? Potentially so, as many of these limitations are connected to a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. If these limitations were made known to the driver with the restricted license and the driver willfully chose to drive in violation of these restrictions, this may be considered an unreasonable course of conduct that breaches the duty of care. How much impact a violation of these restrictions will have depends on the cause of the accident and whether any other person is responsible for the crash.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, contact Kansas car accident lawyer Michael R. Lawless right away. Kansas Car Accident Attorney Mr. Lawless’s investigation into your case will reveal whether the at-fault driver violated any restrictions placed on his or her license. In any event, Mr. Lawless will fight vigorously to assist you in obtaining full and fair compensation. Contact Michael R. Lawless today by calling (800) 734-3771.

 

Kansas Über Accident Attorney Explains How Lawsuits for Compensation May Change Very Quickly

Within the past few months, ridesharing company Über has announced and moved forward with plans to replace its human drivers with automated, driverless cars. While this may excite those in favor of technological advances, such a move causes problems for Über’s current roster of human drivers and raises important questions about how an injury victim will be compensated if Über’s fleet were to become driverless.

 

The Harm to the Human Drivers of Über

 

Currently, a significant number of individuals make extra money for themselves and/or their families by driving for Über. These individuals are not necessarily employees of Über: rather, they sign up to become an independent contractor / driver through Über’s website. If approved, the person will decide when he or she wishes to accept fares and when they would like to be “off the clock.” When they are accepting fares, their information is displayed on Über’s app to passengers who are needing a ride. If selected to provide a ride, the driver receives information about the passenger’s location and intended destination. At the conclusion of the ride, the passenger’s credit card is automatically billed by Über for the amount of the fare, and the driver’s share is deposited into his or her designated account. But by eliminating human drivers in favor of robotic cars, Über will be hurting these human drivers financially as some of them depend on the money they receive from fares in order to supplement other income and to help make ends meet.

Questions of Liability Will Remain

 It has always been confusing for injury victims and attorneys alike to determine exactly who is responsible when an “on the clock” Über driver injures another person. While a transition to driverless cars may change the nature of the questions that must be determined regarding liability, obtaining compensation for injury victims injured by one of these autonomous cars is still likely to be difficult. A new cast of characters may be responsible in any given Über accident, including:

  1. Über employees and the company itself, if the company knew or should have known that the autonomous car in question was defective or in need of repair;
  2. The manufacturer of the car, if a mechanical defect caused the accident. Consider the danger of an autonomous car with a steering system defect or braking system defect.
  3. The designer or programmer of the car’s “robotic brain” – the sensors and computers that tell the car where to go, when to turn, and when to stop – if the car’s computer system is behind the car crash.

This will make investigating an Über accident on behalf of an injured client even more intensive and expensive. Attorneys will likely need to consult with one or more experts on a regular basis to determine what caused a particular crash and whose negligence or carelessness enabled the accident to happen. While attorneys like Kansas City attorney Michael R. Lawless are always committed to helping injury victims obtain fair and full compensation, clients should expect that their attorney may need additional time and resources before being able to provide the client with a “game plan” for obtaining compensation.

Contact a Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been injured by an Über driver or has suffered injuries or losses in any other type of car accident case, contact

Within the past few months, ridesharing company Über has announced and moved forward with plans to replace its human drivers with automated, driverless cars. While this may excite those in favor of technological advances, such a move causes problems for Über’s current roster of human drivers and raises important questions about how an injury victim will be compensated if Über’s fleet were to become driverless.

The Harm to the Human Drivers of Über

 Currently, a significant number of individuals make extra money for themselves and/or their families by driving for Über. These individuals are not necessarily employees of Über: rather, they sign up to become an independent contractor / driver through Über’s website. If approved, the person will decide when he or she wishes to accept fares and when they would like to be “off the clock.” When they are accepting fares, their information is displayed on Über’s app to passengers who are needing a ride. If selected to provide a ride, the driver receives information about the passenger’s location and intended destination. At the conclusion of the ride, the passenger’s credit card is automatically billed by Über for the amount of the fare, and the driver’s share is deposited into his or her designated account. But by eliminating human drivers in favor of robotic cars, Über will be hurting these human drivers financially as some of them depend on the money they receive from fares in order to supplement other income and to help make ends meet.

Questions of Liability Will Remain

It has always been confusing for injury victims and attorneys alike to determine exactly who is responsible when an “on the clock” Über driver injures another person. While a transition to driverless cars may change the nature of the questions that must be determined regarding liability, obtaining compensation for injury victims injured by one of these autonomous cars is still likely to be difficult. A new cast of characters may be responsible in any given Über accident, including:

  1. Über employees and the company itself, if the company knew or should have known that the autonomous car in question was defective or in need of repair;
  2. The manufacturer of the car, if a mechanical defect caused the accident. Consider the danger of an autonomous car with a steering system defect or braking system defect.
  3. The designer or programmer of the car’s “robotic brain” – the sensors and computers that tell the car where to go, when to turn, and when to stop – if the car’s computer system is behind the car crash.

This will make investigating an Über accident on behalf of an injured client even more intensive and expensive. Attorneys will likely need to consult with one or more experts on a regular basis to determine what caused a particular crash and whose negligence or carelessness enabled the accident to happen. While attorneys like Kansas City attorney Michael R. Lawless are always committed to helping injury victims obtain fair and full compensation, clients should expect that their attorney may need additional time and resources before being able to provide the client with a “game plan” for obtaining compensation.

Contact a Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been injured by an Über driver or has suffered injuries or losses in any other type of car accident case, contact attorney Michael R. Lawless right away at (800) 734-3771. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses you experienced as a result of your crash.

Kansas Über Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless right away at (800) 734-3771. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses you experienced as a result of your crash.

Kansas Personal Injury Accident Attorney Describes the Assumption of Risk Doctrine in Connection with Pokémon Go!

Unless you do not have any contact with children and have been living off of the grid for the past few months, you are likely familiar with the new Pokémon Go! app that has children and the young at heart excited about exercising. For those unfamiliar with the program, Pokémon Go! is an app downloadable to a smart phone that immerses user in a sort of digital fantasy world:

  1. The object is to find and locate digital monsters called Pokémon;
  2. These monsters are (according to the game’s premise) hiding in plain sight in our own world;
  3. Through the Pokémon Go! app, you are able to find and see these monsters (the app essentially takes the real world you see through your phone’s camera feature and overlays it with the information from the Pokémon fantasy world);
  4. Once you find them, you must capture them using digital, fantasy tools contained in the app.

The game has been a huge success so far, but has also been linked to some serious personal injury accidents in which pedestrians and motorists harmed themselves and/or others by paying more attention to the app than their surroundings. The Pokémon Go! app warns users about the dangers of trying to play the game while walking or driving and advises that players use the game at their own risk. Is this sufficient to alleviate the developers of Pokémon Go! from liability for the injuries of players and others injured on account of the game?

Assumption of Risk Doctrine Generally

A personal injury doctrine called the “assumption of risk” doctrine may provide some protections to the developers. This doctrine holds that a participant of an activity who is aware of the activity’s dangers and chooses to participate in the activity in spite of these dangers “assumes the risk” that he or she will be injured or killed. This doctrine is invoked frequently when amateur sportsmen and sportswomen undertake a new activity like rock climbing, whitewater rafting, or jet-skiing. In most states, an injury victim who “assumes the risk” from a defendant and who is thereafter injured in the activity is not able to sue the defendant-business or defendant-individual.

Kansas and the Assumption of Risk Doctrine

Some may claim that users and players “assume the risks” associated with the game by agreeing by the terms and conditions of the game (players must accept these terms and conditions when initiating the game, otherwise they will not be able to play the game). Suppose a lawsuit is initiated in Kansas against the developers of the Pokémon Go! game after an adult walks into traffic while playing the game. The adult alleges that the game developers were negligent in not putting additional warnings or safety features into the game, while the developers allege that the adult “assumed the risk” of injury by accepting the terms and conditions of the game.

If such a case were to be decided according to Kansas law, the defendants’ assertion of the assumption of risk doctrine would be ineffective. This is because the Kansas Supreme Court struck down the doctrine in 2014. Instead, the Kansas Supreme Court held that any “assumption of risk” plays into the court’s general comparative fault scheme. Any knowledge or assumption of risk by the injury victim will be considered along with all other factors in determining who is primarily at fault in causing the crash.

Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney.  Contact his office at (800) 734-3771.

 

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.