Tag Archives: Kansas Car Accident Lawyer

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 Accident Lawyer Reports: Kansas Woman Killed by Fleeing Driver

A Kansas woman in her late 70s was killed on Tuesday, August 18 by a driver fleeing a Kansas City, Kansas police car.  Police report that an officer attempted to stop a stolen Cadillac at about 4 p.m. on Central Avenue.  The driver fled.  Reports indicate that the officer did not go after the fleeing suspect.  Moments later, police were called to the scene of a crash involving that same stolen Cadillac and a Toyota Camry.

The driver of the Cadillac again fled, this time fleeing the scene of a serious accident.  The driver of the Camry had been ejected from the car.  She was rushed to the hospital but died a short time after.  The 79 year old victim was a former librarian and loved deeply by her family as well as those who knew her.

The family of the victim reports that they have heard conflicting stories surrounding the crash.  Apparently, Kansas City police officers have reported there was never a chase.  Other officials, however, have stated there was a chase but it stops minutes before the accident.

The driver of the stolen vehicle went to the hospital seeking medical assistance several hours after the crash.  There, he was apprehended and taken into custody.  Prosecutors have announced that he has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

While it is not a clear an actual police chase occurred in this instance, nationally police chases have lead to the deaths of many innocent individuals.  A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that in a nine year period, over 3,000 individuals were killed in police crashes.  One third of the victims were not the suspect being pursued.  This means that over 1,000 innocent drivers and passengers were killed during police pursuits.

The cause of these tragic deaths is due to the high speeds often involved in any sort of police chase and the erratic nature of the driving.  Fleeing suspects will generally travel at very high rates of speed in order to avoid their capture.  They often make quick turns or enter highway ramps in an erratic manner in an attempt to lose the pursing officers. Studies also show that most police chases occur at night and suspects will most often take to busy roads in an attempt to conceal themselves among other drivers.

If you have been involved in any sort of police chase or fleeing suspect crash, contact a licensed automobile accident attorney as soon as possible.  The negligent suspect could be held accountable for his or her reckless actions that lead to your injuries.  Additionally, if the police officers involved acted in a negligent manner to contribute to the accident, you may have an additional avenue of recovery.

Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

The Lenexa, Kansas Car Accident Lawyer at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. are saddened to hear of the death of one of Kansas’ own due to the negligent driving of another.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car accident, our experienced attorney and support staff can help.  For over 27 years, we have zealously represented the victims of all manner of car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, workplace, and slip and fall accidents.  Our attorney has the skill and knowledge to obtain the results you desire.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.