Warm weather brings out golf carts – and golf cart accidents

By Bob Young Attorney and Managing Partner English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP In the past decade, golf carts have become popular for quick, easy and cheap transportation in neighborhoods, especially those near golf courses. Kentucky first allowed golf courses on public roads about 10 years ago. Golf carts are part of a class of vehicles called low speed vehicles. They’re quiet, inexpensive and considered by many to be easy to drive. Best of all, golf carts are usually rechargeable, so no gasoline is required. Unfortunately, though, golf carts have become falsely believed to be safe, and even acceptable for those without a valid driver’s license to operate. Neither of those things are true. By law, golf carts are considered just like any other motor vehicle. You must have a valid driver’s license to operate a golf cart on public roads in Kentucky, and you must adhere to local and state laws that restrict the use of golf carts. Read More


Kentucky Court of Appeals Dismisses Underinsured Motorist Claim as Untimely

The Kentucky appellate courts seem to have heard more uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance cases than usual lately. Perhaps the court has done this intentionally for the sake of judicial economy - the reason being that it is easier to decide cases with similar issues while all of the intricacies of a particular branch of law are still fresh in the court's mind. Another reason may be that there are simply more UM/UIM disputes these days than in past years. Kentucky does have mandatory automobile liability insurance requirement, but the minimum required is just $25,000 per person (or $50,000 per accident) for bodily injury claims. Given the rapidly increasing costs of medical care, this coverage is often not enough to fully compensate an accident victim for his or her medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. UM/UIM coverage bridges the gap between a defendant's liability coverage and a plaintiff's total amount of damages, at least up to the plaintiff's own policy limits. It is important to note that, just as in other types of personal injury cases, timeliness is very important when it comes to asserting one's rights under a UM/UIM policy. Read More


Medical expenses for injuries in Kentucky case ruled reasonable

It is not unusual for an insurers to balk at paying medical expenses for injuries suffered in a car accident or to take the stance that an accident was too minor to have resulted in a serious injury. Medical experts often disagree with this position, however, since each person has a different threshold for injury, and even a "minor" crash can cause permanently disabling injuries. In one recent case, chiropractic bills were the subject of a lawsuit in which an injured person sought to have those covered by an insurance company.   Read More


Kentucky court rules driver had no duty to sound horn to prevent pedestrian accident

Lawsuits arising from negligent operation of a motor vehicle typically involve two drivers, each driving his or her own vehicle. Passengers in one or both vehicles may also be parties to the suit if they were injured in the collision. Sometimes, the case involves a pedestrian accident. Regardless of whether the person seeking to recover compensation following an automobile accident is a motorist, a passenger, or a pedestrian, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant was negligent. This means that he or she failed to act in a prudent manner, causing harm to the plaintiff. Read More


Insured’s Claim for UIM in Kentucky Denied Despite 30-Year Misunderstanding About Coverage

Do you know how much uninsured motorist coverage you have, or whether you have such coverage at all? One man thought that he had such coverage, but, as it turns out, uninsured motorist coverage was not part of his insurance plan with Allstate. In a case that went all the way to the state's highest court, the parties vehemently disagreed about the issue of coverage. Ultimately, the man lost his case in an appellate court opinion issued some 10 years after the automobile accident that led to the dispute. Read More


Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly practice

 We live in an increasingly fast-paced society in which people take on multiple activities at once to get more things done. The level of risk that accompanies this habit varies according to the tasks at hand. For instance, if a person decides to drink coffee while reading a book, the worst thing that will probably happen is that the book will get ruined by spilled coffee. But in distracted driving cases, the level of risk goes up substantially. When a driver attempts to do another task, such as sending a text message, changing music, or applying makeup, the risk of a serious injury or death is high. Our firm has seen multiple accidents in which people were seriously injured or even died due to distracted drivers. In an Atlanta case that's gotten national attention, a teenage driver was using SnapChat while driving and became involved in an accident in which a man was left with traumatic brain injuries. Part of the evidence in the case is a SnapChat screen shot that indicates the teen was driving more than 100 miles per hour. You can read about this case in an article on the TechCrunch news web site. If you're not familiar with it, SnapChat is a social media application for smart phones that allows users to record video or photos and add more information, drawings and writing over the photos. One of the ways to use SnapChat is to add a filter over the photo that shows more information about where the photo was taken. One option is a filter that shows speed. While that's fine to use if you're a passenger, and kinda fun to use if you're traveling 400 miles per hour on an airplane, it's a terrible idea to use this feature while driving. We feel like this should go without saying - but obviously, some need to hear it. Read More


Guardrails are the subject of national scrutiny

By Kyle Roby, attorney English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP Metal guardrails run alongside many highways, particularly those that hug a steep embankment. They’re designed to protect those in a car if it careens off the highway. In some cases, though, guardrails are making accidents much more deadly than they should be. A recent accident here in Bowling Green could have possibly had a different outcome if a guardrail was not involved. A car veered off of Morgantown Road and hit the support wires of a utility pole and the guardrail. The guardrail penetrated the car and hit the driver. She was killed. Two others were hospitalized with serious injuries, and two more were treated locally for less severe injuries. Read More


Kentucky Supreme Court says two-year statute of limitations in underinsured motorist claim is valid

Regardless of the merits of a party's complaint, it will never be heard unless the courts find that it was timely filed. Failure to comply with the statute of limitations isn't just a small "technicality." It is a deal breaker when it comes to negligence litigation. A recent underinsured motorist claim case in Kentucky highlighted the importance of hitting deadlines. It can also be a mistake to file suit on the eve of the running of the statute of limitations. As the plaintiff in the case set out below discovered, waiting until shortly before the expiration of the limitations period can be very costly. Read More


Big rig accidents more prevalent on slick roads

By Kyle Roby, Attorney and Partner English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP This winter’s weather challenged everyone who was out driving in it, but especially those driving tractor-trailers. Some big rig accidents occurred during last week’s heavy snow, no doubt, as trucks weigh several tons and are hard to stop even during ideal driving conditions. The best thing to do during bad weather is stay home, of course, but not everyone has that option. If you’re called into work on a day when it is snowing, your bosses are expecting you to report for duty. Those who work in hospitals, emergency responders and city government officials have no choice. It’s their duty to take care of the rest of us – and we’re certainly all grateful for that. While truck drivers are limited in how far and how long they can drive in a day by rules created and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the government agency has rules and regulations as it relates to adverse driving conditions. Adverse conditions means snow, sleet, fog, other adverse weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, none of which were apparent on the basis of information known to the person dispatching the run at the time it was begun. Read More


Practical Considerations after Obergefell v. Hodges: Is a loss of consortium claim available for married, same-sex couples?

When a husband or wife dies or is severely injured as a result of someone’s negligence, the surviving spouse can typically seek damages for past medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, impairment of earning capacity and what’s called “loss of consortium.” Essentially, loss of consortium is the loss of the loved one’s love, care, services, assistance, and companionship. Loss of consortium seeks to compensate the surviving spouse for the harm endured to the marital relationship. Damages for loss of consortium can be awarded not only in wrongful death cases but also in cases in which a spouse has been severely injured and is unable to provide the love, care, services, assistance, and companionship that the couple enjoyed when both persons were healthy. Damages for loss of consortium are only available to married couples. KRS 411.145 states that “either a wife or husband may recover damages against a third person for loss of consortium, resulting from a negligent or wrongful act of such third person.” Read More