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Lexington Personal Injury Law Blog

Parental responsibility for teen driving negligence: a look at Kentucky law, P.2

Last time, we began looking at what Kentucky law has to say about parents’ liability when their children become involved in a motor vehicle accident. As we pointed out, Kentucky law allows parents to be held jointly and severally liable for damages caused by a teen driver’s negligence when they sign the paper’s for their driver’s license application or when they provide them with a motor vehicle to drive.

In addition to that, Kentucky courts recognize something called the family purpose doctrine, which allows parents to be held responsible for their children’s accidents when the parents provide a vehicle to drive. The basic requirement for liability to attach to a parent is that the vehicle was being used within the scope of the “family purpose,” which generally refers to the use and benefit of the family, which cover the ordinary uses of a family vehicle. 

Looking at bad faith insurance law in Kentucky, P.1

When an individual becomes involved in an automobile accident, it is critical that he or she exchanges insurance information with the other drivers involved in the crash and follows up afterward to seek out the coverage to which he or she is entitled. Given the obvious importance of insurance as a financial resource, most people don’t need much encouragement on this point.

What folks may need more guidance and encouragement about is pursuing an insurance company which refuses to deal fairly with an insured, and which tries to cover up its failure to treat an insured or claimant fairly. This refusal is known as insurance bad faith, and it occurs when an insurance company breaches its duty of to deal fairly and in good faith with a claimant. There are a variety of ways an insurance company can breach this duty, and it is important for accident victims to be able to recognize the potential signs of bad faith so that they can seek help in dealing with it. 

Rejecting PIP tort limitations: know the risks, as well as your rights

When an individual becomes involved in an automobile accident, it is critical that he or she exchanges insurance information with the other drivers involved in the crash and follows up afterward to seek out the coverage to which he or she is entitled. Given the obvious importance of insurance as a financial resource, most people don’t need much encouragement on this point.

What folks may need more guidance and encouragement about is pursuing an insurance company which refuses to deal fairly with an insured, and which tries to cover up its failure to treat an insured or claimant fairly. This refusal is known as insurance bad faith, and it occurs when an insurance company breaches its duty of to deal fairly and in good faith with a claimant. There are a variety of ways an insurance company can breach this duty, and it is important for accident victims to be able to recognize the potential signs of bad faith so that they can seek help in dealing with it. 

Automobile technology could make it easier to collect information about car accidents

When an individual is involved in a car accident, he or she has the right to seek compensation for injuries and losses and to hold the responsible party or parties accountable. In building a strong case for liability, it is critical for an accident victim to firmly establish a basis in fact for the defendant’s liability, and this means getting as much and as accurate information as possible about the crash.

There are several potential ways of gaining information about a car accident, including providing testimony about the incident and obtaining the testimony of witnesses. In some cases, surveillance cameras will capture footage from an accident. Nowadays, smartphones or other dash cameras may also capture footage. In addition, data may also be gathered from event data recorders, which are internal automobile devices that provide information about a vehicle at the time of a crash. 

Comparative negligence and your right to compensation

A lot of what we know about the law comes from what we see on television shows and in movies. Take for example motor vehicle accidents. Movies and television tell us that someone will be considered at-fault for the crash. If a victim appears to have been at fault, then they cannot recover damages for their injuries. This can be incredibly problematic in serious crashes, such as those between bicyclists and vehicles.

Unfortunately, this stereotype sends the wrong message to bicyclists in Kentucky. In fact, it may even affect an accident victim's decision to talk to an attorney, file a claim with the insurance company or take legal action against the vehicle's driver. In order to understand your rights after a crash in Kentucky, you need to understand comparative negligence.

Punitive damages: when are they available in motor vehicle accident cases? P.2

Last time, we began looking at the topic of punitive damages and their availability in motor vehicle accident cases, specifically cases involving truck drivers who violate safety regulations. As we noted, punitive damages are not a given in every case, but are only available when it can be shown that the defendant acted with oppression, fraud or malice.

Not only that, but strong evidence must be put forward to prove eligibility for punitive damages. The standard of proof, “clear and convincing evidence,” is higher than the ordinary civil standard of preponderance of the evidence, and essentially means that a plaintiff must prove it is highly likely that the defendant acted oppressively, fraudulently or maliciously. In the context of the violation of trucking safety regulations, this would be difficult to prove, but strong evidence could certainly make the task easier.  

Punitive damages: when are they available in motor vehicle accident cases?

In motor vehicle accident cases, part of building a strong case is evaluating the types of damages for which the accident victim may be eligible and seeking to maximize those damages. Ordinarily, an accident victim will be eligible for compensatory damages in the form of lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering and other types of damages related to the plaintiff’s injuries and other losses.

In our last post, we mentioned that violation of federal safety regulations, by a truck driver or a trucking employer, could potentially open up the possibility of an additional type of damages. We are referring to punitive damages, the general purpose of which is not to compensate the accident victim but to punish the plaintiff in a civil context. Punitive damages are not available in just any case, but only under certain circumstances. 

Looking at the Hours of Service rules and the potential rule in motor vehicle accident cases, P.2

In our last post, we began looking at the federal Hours of Service rules, which govern the amount of time commercial vehicle drivers may spend behind the wheel. The Hours of Service rules have gone through some changes in recent years, particularly with respect to the so-called 34-hour restart rule, which specifies the amount of rest required for a trucker to restart his or her work week.

While the current rule does not require drivers to take their rest at specific times, it used to require truckers to include two periods of rest between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. within their 34-hour break. That rule was suspended in 2013 after the trucking industry successfully pressed for the change. The contention was that the rule significantly decreased productivity and had little or no positive effect of highway safety. The rule was suspended so that the matter could be investigated. The matter has yet to be addressed by Congress. 

Tips for driving in stormy weather

As Kentucky starts diving into the second half of the year, drivers will need to buckle down and get ready for the potential winter storms ahead. Safe driving is crucial to avoiding accidents when traveling through bad weather. Drivers should have the biggest arsenal of tips and tricks at their fingertips to make the road safer for everyone.

The Red Cross has certain safety steps that drivers can follow if they absolutely need to drive in a storm. Naturally, it is first suggested that all superfluous driving be avoided and that people stay indoors if they don’t have to leave. However, if they do, they should prepare ahead of time. Pack the car with emergency supplies. This includes:

  •          Food and blankets
  •          Flashlights and extra batteries
  •          Emergency flares
  •          Power supplies
  •          Radio