Category Archives: Car Accidents

Kansas Car Crash Attorney Explains Recent Supreme Court Ruling Regarding Contingency Fees

You may have heard or seen the advertisements: “Legal representation with no upfront cost!  We don’t get paid unless you get paid!” These lawyer and law firm advertisements attempt to attract potential clients by promising to work under what is known as a contingency-fee agreement. In a contingency-fee agreement, the lawyer agrees to defer assessment of any attorneys’ fees he or she might otherwise be entitled to receive unless and until the lawyer is successful in obtaining a monetary judgment in favor of the client. In addition to this, such contingency-fee agreements usually calculate the attorneys’ fees not as an hourly rate but as a percentage of the recovery obtained by the attorney. So, for example, if a client recovers $100,000 and the contingency fee agreement he or she has with his or her attorney specifies that the attorney receives 30 percent, the attorney would receive $30,000 in attorneys’ fees.

When a Contingency-Fee Agreement Does Not Cover All Contingencies

What happens when a lawyer signs a contingency-fee agreement with a personal injury attorney and performs work for the client but then is fired by the client before he or she recovers any compensation? One might be tempted to think that, because the fired attorney did not recover any compensation for the client, the attorney is then not entitled to any fees at all. The Kansas Supreme Court disagrees, however, and expressed its view in Consolver v. Hotez et al., a decision released earlier this month.

In Consolver, the injury plaintiff and appellant Consolver signed a contingency-fee agreement with a law firm. The agreement did not specify whether the attorney working on her case would receive any fees at all in the event the attorney was fired before a resolution of the case. Consolver eventually fired her attorney and retained new counsel who settled her personal injury case for $360,000. The trial court believed Consolver’s initial counsel was entitled to nearly $100,000 in fees and expenses, but the Court of Appeals disagreed with this conclusion.

Quantum Merit and Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

The Kansas Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeals, holding that principles of quantum merit require that the initial attorney be compensated a reasonable amount for services he rendered to Consolver. (Quantum merit is a legal principle that essentially holds that in certain circumstances a person ought to be reasonably compensated for the value of his or her services.) Because the initial lawyer had performed services that were ultimately of value to Consolver, the attorney ought to be fairly compensated.

What This Means for Your Car Crash Lawsuit

Individuals who are injured in a car crash (or other accident) in Kansas should be cautious when entering into a contingency-fee arrangement with an attorney. Specifically, the decision in Consolver should cause clients to review their contingency-fee agreements carefully before signing. If the agreement does not address certain circumstances (such as you firing your attorney for cause or the attorney withdrawing from your case without a valid and substantial reason for so doing), you may find that your recovery will be substantially reduced due to paying for at least two attorneys’ reasonable fees.

Michael R. Lawless, Kansas Car Crash Attorney, is committed to working diligently on behalf of clients and keeping his or her clients engaged in the recovery process so as to minimize dissatisfaction and confusion over the status of your case. Michael R. Lawless is a proactive and dedicated advocate, representing your legal interests in court and out of course with professionalism and vigor. Contact Michael R. Lawless to discuss your Kansas injury case today by calling (800) 734-3771.

Kansas Car Crash Lawyer Discusses “The State of Safety” Study

The National Safety Council recently released a report, The State of Safety, and its conclusions are not flattering for Kansas or its eastern neighbor, Missouri. The study looked at each of the 50 states’ laws, policies, and regulations and gave each state a “grade” based on how well these legislative and executive actions prevent accidental deaths and injuries from occurring. Missouri received the lowest scores of all 50 states – an “F
grade in the road, workplace, and home and community safety categories – but Kansas was not far behind. While the Sunflower State received a “B” in the road safety category, it received an “F” in both workplace safety (Kansas actually scored dead last in this category) and in home and community safety. Overall, eleven states including Missouri and Kansas earned an overall grade of “F”.  No state earned a grade of “A.”

What this Study Says – and What It Does Not Say

Upon initially reviewing the findings of The State of Safety report, one might be tempted to conclude that both Missouri and Kansas are dangerous places in which to live. This is not necessarily true: the study makes its conclusions based upon the laws and regulations in existence in each state and determines the likelihood of an accidental injury or death if all individuals involved followed the laws of each state. So, for example, part of the reason Missouri earned an “F” grade for road safety is because the state has no law permitting law enforcement officers to pull drivers over for failing to wear a seat belt in the absence of another traffic violation.

Nonetheless, the study and the sources it used to reach its conclusions can suggest ways in which residents and visitors to the various states are more likely to find themselves injured. Moreover, just because a person may not violate the laws of a particular state does not mean that the person’s behavior cannot be considered negligent or careless. For instance, just because a highway in Kansas has a speed limit of 75 miles per hour does not mean that it is always wise and prudent to travel at such a speed in all conditions. During inclement weather or during a wildfire in which smoke covers the highway, traveling at 75 miles per hour may, in fact, be careless or even reckless.

Are Kansas Roads and Workplaces Safe?

Kansas – like other states – sees thousands of roadway and workplace accidents each year. Whether or not you or your loved ones become victims in such accidents depends not on the existence of sufficient laws and/or regulations but rather on whether in any given moment the individuals involved exercise good judgment and act in a careful, prudent manner. While compliance with the rules of the road or with workplace safety regulations can be evidence that a person acted reasonably in a situation, such evidence is not conclusive by any means. Even when the individual who caused your Kansas crash or accident was “law-abiding,” other evidence and circumstances might show that his or her behavior was nonetheless careless or reckless.

Call Your Kansas Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one find yourself injured on a Kansas highway, speak with Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless about your legal rights and whether you can recover compensation from the at-fault party. Do not believe that “lawful” behavior on the part of the at-fault party means you are not entitled to compensation. Before you accept a settlement or believe you need to pay for your expenses and losses yourself, call Michael R. Lawless, Attorney at Law at (800) 734-3771.

Kansas Car Accident Attorney Discusses the Importance of an Employee’s Handbook in Car Crash Cases

Regular readers of this blog should be familiar with the basic assertions that must be proven in a Kansas car accident lawsuit:

  • The at-fault driver owed the injury victim a duty of care;
  • The at-fault driver breached this duty by operating his or her vehicle in a careless or reckless manner;
  • The at-fault driver’s negligent or reckless driving was the primary proximate cause of the crash; and/
  • The injury victim suffered injuries, losses, and/or expenses that can be compensated with an award of monetary compensation.

Typically, it is the second element that is the point of contention in car accident lawsuits. There are many ways in which an injury victim may attempt to show that the manner in which the defendant operated his or her vehicle was careless: the injury victim may, for example, show that the defendant committed one or more traffic violations immediately before the crash. Alternatively, the injury victim may attempt to show that the manner in which the at-fault driver operated his or her vehicle was in a manner that a reasonable person would hot have done.

Employee Handbooks May Provide Additional Evidence

If the at-fault driver was engaged in the performance of his or her job duties at the time of the crash, that driver’s employee handbook and policies may provide an additional source of evidence to help establish negligent behavior. For example, suppose you or your loved one is involved in a truck collision involving a delivery truck. Suppose further that the delivery driver’s employee handbook requires that he not be on the road longer than five hours at a time without having taken an hour break. Suppose yet still that the crash occurs after the driver has been on the road for six hours without a break. While there may not be anything unlawful about the driver’s actions, the fact that he broke company policy may be relevant in determining whether he or she was negligent. In this case, the relevant inquiry will be whether an individual in the defendant’s position, with the defendant’s knowledge of company policy, would have chosen to break company policy and drive for six hours.

Obtaining Copies of Handbooks and Other Important Evidence

The fact that such information may be available in your car wreck case underscores the need to obtain legal assistance with your case as soon as possible. In some cases, important evidence needed to establish the essential premises of your case can disappear or become significantly more difficult to find and obtain if too much time elapses. A company may update its employee handbook following a crash and destroy older versions of the handbook that would have been in force at the time of your crash. If the employee is terminated, documentation showing that the employee received the handbook and had agreed that he had reviewed it can likewise be destroyed if steps are not taken quickly to preserve such documentation.

Contact Us Today for Assistance With Your Case

With years of experience handling Kansas car wreck injury cases, Michael R. Lawless is able and poised to take quick action on your behalf after your car crash. Attorney Michael R. Lawless will carefully review the facts of your case and take action to preserve important evidence that you will need to succeed in your injury case.

If you or a loved one have been hurt in a Kansas car accident, give yourself the best possible chance at recovering the compensation you need by calling Kansas Car Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless, Attorney at Law at (800) 734-3771.

Kansas Car Crash Lawyer Advises of the Dangers of Lending Your Vehicle

Kansas is known for its hospitality and the willingness of individuals to lend a helping hand (even in some of the state’s larger cities). Whether it’s a cup of sugar or a few dollars to help you make ends meet, Kansans are always prepared to assist someone in need. In some cases, this might include lending one’s vehicle to help that person run an errand, apply for a job, or handle that person’s personal obligations. Does this pose any potential legal trouble for you?  Like most legal questions, the answer is a definite, “It depends.”

Individuals Responsible for Their Own Actions

A fundamental principle of our judicial system is that adults are generally responsible for the civil and criminal consequences of their own actions. This principle applies in the context of borrowing another’s car, for example: even though the car may belong to another person, a driver of a vehicle is responsible for ensuring the vehicle is properly ensured and registered before taking the vehicle out onto the street. If the driver gets pulled over, he or she cannot avoid a ticket for improper registration or not having insurance on the vehicle by claiming the vehicle belongs to someone else.

This holds true in the realm of civil law/personal injury law as well.  A person who is driving the vehicle of another and who causes injury to another driver or passenger because of careless or reckless driving may not avoid responsibility for those injuries he or she caused by claiming the car belonged to another person.

Notwithstanding this general principle, however, Kansas law also recognizes that in any personal injury accident several individuals may be to blame for the plaintiff’s injuries. In the context of lending someone your vehicle, you as the vehicle’s owner may be brought into the case as an additional defendant if:

  • Your car had defects or was not in good operating order and you knew or should have known this information and you did not disclose this information to the driver. To illustrate, if you know the brakes on your older car are not working well, you may have a legal duty to disclose this fact to another before you let that person drive your car. If that person gets into a wreck and it is determined that the brakes failed, you may be responsible. If you disclose the problem to the other person and he or she chooses to drive anyway, then he or she may have assumed the risk and be solely responsible for any crashes that result.
  • You know or should know the person shouldn’t be driving. If you lend your keys to someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or who has a significant history of being involved in car wrecks, you may be partly responsible for any injuries this person causes if he or she is involved in a car wreck. In most cases, the focus will be on what you knew or should have known prior to lending your car: you are not expected to know everyone’s blood alcohol content just by looking at them, for example, but you cannot lend your keys to someone that you watched consume a six-pack of beer and not expect to escape all liability.

How Your Kansas Car Crash Attorney Helps You

 When you retain Michael R. Lawless, a seasoned Kansas Car Crash Lawyer, to assist you with your Kansas car wreck case, he will thoroughly evaluate your case and identify all parties who contributed to your crash. By holding all individuals responsible for your wreck accountable, you are in a better position to recover full and fair compensation for your losses and injuries. Call Michael R. Lawless, Attorney at Law today for help by dialing (800) 734-3771.

Kansas Car Wreck Lawyer Analyzes Situation Where Law Enforcement Officers Cause Wrecks

In Kansas (as is true throughout the remainder of the nation), law enforcement officers must undergo rigorous training before they are permitted to take to the streets by themselves. The process usually begins with the completion of an academy that may last several months. From there, the new recruit must usually complete a period of “field training” where the new officer is directly supervised by a more experienced officer while the new officer attempts to apply the knowledge he or she gained at the academy to the “real world.” All told, it may be six months or more before a new recruit has graduated from the training phase of his or her employment and is released to the field without direct supervision.

However, even the most skilled and well-trained law enforcement officer is still only human and mistakes can be made. When a law enforcement officer’s err in judgment causes you or your loved one injury, recovering compensation may be significantly more difficult than when a civilian driver is the cause of your injuries.

Protections for Law Enforcement Officers

Unlike civilian drivers, police officers, highway patrol troopers, and sheriff’s deputies have certain protections that apply when they are responding to emergency calls or pursuing criminals. K.S.A. 8-1506 exempts law enforcement officers from following most rules of the road (including speeding laws) so long as they do not endanger others and proceed with due regard for the safety of others on the road. In other words, if a law enforcement officer is speeding or violating a traffic law but is doing so in a careful and prudent manner, taking into account the safety of others, that law enforcement officer will be immune from criminal prosecution (and, in most cases, immune from civil liability as well) if he or she causes an injury crash. This immunity represents the first hurdle that must be cleared in a crash caused by a law enforcement officer.

Suing Government Agencies and Political Subdivisions

The next hurdle that injury victims hurt by a law enforcement officer must clear is Kansas’s Tort Claims Act. This Act specifies how personal injury claims must be brought against government entities and their employees (such as law enforcement officers). The Act is very specific in terms of what the injury plaintiff must do and the timeframe in which these tasks must be completed. A personal injury plaintiff who fails to follow the procedures for bringing a claim as set out in the Act will typically be foreclosed from obtaining any compensation whatsoever from the government agency and/or its employee.

What Should I Do If I am Injured by a Law Enforcement Officer’s Driving?

 Because of the unique challenges that face injury victims who are injured in a wreck caused by a law enforcement officer, it is advisable that you seek experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel. The first step in your recovery process requires you to file a written claim with the government agency that employed the officer involved in your wreck within the statutorily-designated time.

Michael R. Lawless is an experienced Kansas car wreck injury attorney with years of experience assisting victims of all types of car wrecks. Where the at-fault driver in your wreck is a law enforcement officer or other government employee, Michael R. Lawless can assist you in quickly taking the steps you need to take in order to assert your legal rights. Call Kansas Car Wreck Lawyer Michael R. Lawless as soon as possible at (800) 734-3771 and allow him to help you on your road to recovery.

Kansas Car Crash Attorney Explains Head-On Collisions and Passing Laws

Several weeks ago news outlets across the State of Kansas reported on a deadly head-on collision that occurred in western Kansas.  According to early reports from law enforcement agencies, a semi-truck struck a passenger van head-on while the truck was attempting to pass a slower-moving semi traveling in the same direction. The crash killed four of the five occupants of the van right away; a fifth occupant died the next day at the hospital.

Passing Laws: Just Because You Can Does Not Mean You Should

 Two-laned highways are especially prevalent in the western part of the State, where the volume of traffic is not so great as to warrant the construction of multi-laned highways and/or highways with medians dividing the lanes of travel. Instead, these two-laned roads have opposing lanes of travel pass by one another at highway speeds (usually 55 mph or greater) with nothing more than painted lines separating the two lanes of travel. Furthermore, Kansas law permits vehicles to overtake and pass slower-moving vehicles traveling in the same direction by entering the opposing lane of travel. The basic rules governing this maneuver require the passing driver to:

  • Continue traveling at the posted speed limit, even while overtaking the slower-moving vehicle (law enforcement will likely tell you that if you need to exceed the speed limit to pass the other vehicle, you should not attempt the maneuver);
  • Ensure the opposing lane of travel is clear of any traffic so that the passing maneuver can be safely completed;
  • Return to the original lane of travel only after safely passing the slower-moving vehicle and/or if traffic in the opposing lane of travel appears and there is insufficient space to safely pass the slower-moving vehicle.

These rules are designed to make an otherwise dangerous situation safe for the passing vehicle, the vehicle being passed, and any traffic in the opposing lane of travel. When the passing vehicle violates any of these rules, it jeopardizes the safety of others nearby.

Tips for Avoiding Collisions on Two-Laned Roads Involving Passing Vehicles

Even if you are not attempting a passing maneuver yourself, you should remain alert and attentive to other vehicles that are. Prepare to take one or more of the following actions if necessary:

  • Slow down if a passing vehicle needs additional space in order to maneuver back into the correct lane of travel;
  • Get to the shoulder if it appears the passing vehicle cannot safely complete the passing maneuver. If the passing vehicle is approaching you head-on, moving to the shoulder can avoid a head-on collision. If the vehicle is traveling in the same direction as you, moving to the shoulder can give the passing vehicle enough room to safely return to its proper lane of travel.
  • Travel prudently; in other words, travel at a speed that is safe and reasonable given prevailing road and weather conditions and leave plenty of space between you and other cars ahead of you.

Turn to Michael R. Lawless for Help

 Kansas attorney Michael R. Lawless is available to assist you and/or your loved ones if you have been injured in a head-on collision or other traffic crash on a two-laned highway. Micheal R. Lawless will thoroughly examine your case, determining the type of compensation you may be entitled to recover and from whom such compensation may be obtained. Our firm has the resources to quickly preserve important evidence and testimony that can be useful in helping you succeed in your case. Act quickly in the aftermath of a highway traffic collision and contact Kansas Car Crash Attorney Michael R. Lawless at (800) 734-3771 to discuss the details of your car crash.

Kansas Car Accident Attorney Explains Whether a Driver’s Medical Condition Can Lead to Negligent Driving

Epilepsy and heart attacks are just a few of the serious medical conditions that can cause a driver to suddenly lose control of his or her car and crash – sometimes into another vehicle, causing additional injuries and damage. These events can leave victims with serious injuries, just as any other vehicle crash caused by negligence or recklessness. However, an injury victim may have additional difficulties in recovering full and fair compensation – doing so may require the assistance of a resourceful and thorough car crash lawyer.

Negligence May – or May Not – Include Driving with a Medical Condition

Liability for the injuries and losses of another after a car accident requires proof that the at-fault driver acted (at the very least) with carelessness or negligence. This means, for example, that the at-fault driver needs to have made a decision that a reasonable individual would not have made under the same or similar circumstances before he or she can be held responsible for the injuries that may result from a car crash. It is not always the case, however, that driving with a medical condition (or while taking prescription medication) is a careless act. Factors that will need to be examined by a knowledgeable car crash attorney include:

  • Whether the at-fault driver has been diagnosed with a condition that makes it dangerous for him or her to drive: A driver who has no reason to know that he or she suffers from an epileptic condition or is susceptible to fainting (for example) would have no reason to think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car. Conversely, a driver who has suffered a number of seizures or who has fainted before would have more reason to be cautious about getting behind the wheel of a car.
  • What the driver’s doctor has suggested the person not drive: It is usually reasonable for an individual to rely on the advice and suggestions of his or her doctor. If the driver at fault in a particular accident has been told by his or her doctor that he or she should not drive (or should only drive under certain conditions), this would suggest the driver’s decision to get behind the wheel was unreasonable (and, hence, negligent).
  • How many times the driver has experienced medical distress while driving: Even in the absence of a diagnosis or instructions from his or her doctor, a driver who has fainted, experienced a seizure, suffered a heart attack, or experienced any other type of medical distress while driving – whether an accident resulted or not – should seriously consider whether it is safe for him or her to continue driving.

The presence of one or more of these factors may suggest that the driver’s decision to take to the road and drive was unreasonable and negligent, even if the driver did not expect or intend to suffer a medical emergency while driving.

When you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash where the at-fault driver suffered a medical emergency, contact Kansas Car Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless to determine what your next steps should be. Although it may be natural to feel compassion or sympathy for the at-fault driver given his or her medical conditions, the driver should be held to account for the harm he or she caused if he or she had reason to know driving could be dangerous. Call Michael R. Lawless at (800) 734-3771, and let us investigate the facts and circumstances of your case and take decisive action to protect your rights after a car crash.

 

Speed a Factor in Serious Car Wrecks

Kansas City Royals fans were devastated to learn than pitcher Yordano Ventura was recently killed in a car wreck in the Dominican Republic. Investigators looking into the cause of the crash believe excessive speed may have played a role. Unfortunately, if this were true, this would only be one in a long line of fatal traffic crashes where speed was a factor. Statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the federal government show:

  • Speeding is the third most common factor contributing to traffic crashes (distracted driving and impaired driving are the first and second most common factors, respectively);
  • Speeding plays a role in approximately one-third of all traffic crashes in the nation;
  • Speeding is a factor in about 40 percent of all fatal traffic crashes involving males between the ages of 15 and 20;
  • About 13,000 people die annually in fatal speeding crashes; and
  • Crashes in the USA caused by speeding cost about $40 billion each year – for every minute you save on travel time by speeding, you cost society about $76,000.

Speeding is dangerous in large part because (1) it reduces the amount of time a driver has to react to hazards or avoid collisions; (2) it affects the handling of a car – a car traveling at excessive speeds responds differently to input from the steering wheel than it does at lower speeds; and (3) it increases the distance and time necessary to bring the vehicle to a stop.

Compensation After Speeding Accidents

If you or a loved one are involved in a fatal speeding accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the speeding driver (you may be entitled to compensation even if you or your loved one was partly to blame for the crash). Unlike a drunk driving accident, however, it may not always be apparent if the other involved motorist was, in fact, speeding. Thankfully, there may be evidence available to help you and your car crash attorney determine if excessive speed played a role in the crash:

  • The car’s “black box”: This is a computerized device that records important information about the vehicle in the critical few seconds before a crash. This data includes the speed of the vehicle (broken down in time increments) as well as whether the driver of the car applied the brakes of the car.
  • Skid marks: When a car traveling at a high rate of speed suddenly applies the brakes, skid marks may be left on the asphalt. Accident reconstruction experts and some law enforcement officers are specially trained to determine an approximate speed of a vehicle based upon the skid marks left.
  • Witness observations: Although a lay witness (that is, one without any specialized knowledge or skills) cannot testify as to a specific speed of a vehicle, courts in Kansas have allowed lay witnesses to testify whether a vehicle appeared to be traveling in excess of the posted speed limit.

Locating and preserving this important evidence becomes critical, then, to the success of your car crash lawsuit. Your attorney will know what steps to take to ensure the black box data is preserved and the identity and testimony of witnesses secured, as well as whether an accident reconstruction expert is necessary.

Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas-based car crash injury attorney helping motorists who have been injured in traffic collisions caused by another driver’s excessive speed. Michael R. Lawless is experienced in and has the resources necessary to determine if speed was a factor in your crash and is committed to holding those who carelessly or recklessly speed accountable for their actions. Contact Kansas Car Accident Lawyer Michael R. Lawless by calling (800) 734-3771 if you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a speeding-related crash.

 

 

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.