Home > Index August 3, 2012
By now, everyone has heard of distracted driving. While distracted driving has been around probably since the first car hit the road, it has become even more of a concern as technology has placed more and more gadgets into our hands that should be on the steering wheel when we are driving. Even something as commonplace as the radio in the car can cause a driver’s eyes to leave the road long enough to cause a car accident. Navigational systems are so handy when you are lost or attempt to take a detour to avoid a traffic delay, but they can take your attention off the road as well. And of course, there is the ever-present cell phone, tempting us to talk, text, email and surf as we are driving down the road.
Numerous groups have done everything in their powers to make people aware of the dangers of using the cellphone while driving. Some places have made it illegal to talk on a handheld device while driving, and many others have laws against texting while driving. But how about those individuals that use their electronic devices while walking?
The Associated Press reports that the number of hospital visits attributed to pedestrian accidents caused by walking while distracted has quadrupled in the last seven years. And they believe the number is probably even greater because not all cases are reported. While some distracted walkers simply bump into another walker or trip over something and catch themselves, others are putting themselves in very dangerous situations. Last year, a Philadelphia man was distracted by his cellphone conversation and fell off a train platform. Luckily he was pulled to safety before a train approached. In a study in Maryland, they found that 116 pedestrians lost their lives or suffered serious injuries while walking with headphones on.
May 17, 2012
On May 8, 2012, a construction worker was hit by a car while he was walking at a repaving project site on East 10th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. His injuries were critical, and he unfortunately passed away the next morning.
The victim was doing everything right. He was on the job and was wearing a bright yellow safety vest. But the same cannot be said of the driver that caused the car accident. The 24-year old female was driving drunk and failed at least two sobriety tests administered at the crash scene. This would have been bad enough on its own, but it gets worse. Witnesses say she stopped briefly to check on the man, then got back in her car and drove away. She also had her young daughter in the car with her while she was driving drunk. When police found her, she gave them a false identity for herself and her child. All of this occurred while she should not have been driving at all because her license had been suspended.
All of these actions add up to a long list of charges including not stopping after a fatal accident, driving while intoxicated, driving with a minor in the car while intoxicated, giving a false identity and driving with a suspended license. Most people are familiar with the majority of these charges. But one may be a little more unknown – driving drunk with someone under the age of 18 in the car.
According to Indiana drunk driving laws, having a minor in the car with you while you are driving drunk raises the severity of the charge. A first-time offender may be charged with a misdemeanor and the minimum amount of jail time is five days or 180 hours of community service. If a minor was in the car, the charge is automatically upgraded to a class-D felony, and the minimum jail time jumps to 10 days or 360 hours of community service.
April 4, 2012
A tragic car accident took the life of a 13-year-old Kentucky girl in March 2010. She was walking along a road near Philpot, Kentucky around dinner time. An SUV hit her from behind and she sustained critical injuries. The story would be bad enough if it ended there, but it gets worse.
The man who hit her fled the scene, making the crash a hit-and-run accident. He proceeded to wash his car and even created a one-car accident with it two days later to cover up the evidence. So not only did he not stay to help the child that he hit, he also tried to pretend that he was not at fault by tampering with the evidence.
The victim unfortunately died four days later at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Would she have survived if the man who hit her stopped to help instead of running away to hide his guilt? No one will ever know. What is known is that the driver was charged with three class D felonies, reckless homicide, leaving the scene of an injury accident, and tampering with evidence. After being found guilty on all charges by a jury, on March 27, 2012, he was sentenced to five years in prison for each count, making a total of 15 years that he should remain behind bars. Throughout the entire process, the driver never took responsibility for his actions or showed any remorse.
For the family of the victim, it is at least fortunate that the guilty driver was found and justice was done. It is often difficult to locate the driver who caused a hit-and-run accident. How they proceed next is up to them, but if they have filed, or decide to file, a wrongful death lawsuit, they would most likely be awarded financial damages. This money would never replace the child they lost, nor is it meant to, but it may provide assistance in paying the medical bills and funeral costs they incurred. It may also help them to support any surviving children they may have and give them peace of mind financially so they can grieve and hopefully heal.
February 5, 2012
On Monday, November 28, 2011, a Kentucky woman was crossing National Turnpike in Louisville early in the morning when she was struck by a pickup truck. She was seriously injured and was taken to University Hospital. Four days later, she died from her injuries caused by the truck accident, making her the 18th pedestrian killed by a vehicle in Louisville.
The 33-year-old driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene and was given a sobriety test. She tested at more than twice the legal limit and admitted to drinking 10 beers. She also had an open beer in the truck at the time of the accident and did not have a driver’s license. She was charged with driving under the influence, having an open container of alcohol in the truck, and driving without a valid license.
One would think that with all of the above charges brought against her, the driver would also be responsible for the death of the pedestrian, but that may not be the case in this particular accident. Preliminary investigations show that the pedestrian stepped into the road in front of the pickup truck, which would mean she caused the accident. “Someone walking in front of you, stepping in front of you, you can’t charge somebody for something that wasn’t their fault and was an accident,” according to LMPD Traffic Unit’s Lt. Doug Sweeney.
As of the end of January, the driver had only been charged with the issues listed previously, which carry a penalty of up to one year in jail. The pedestrian’s family does not think this is anywhere near harsh enough for the woman that killed their relative. They would like to see a wrongful death lawsuit filed. But the Jefferson County Attorney’s office, which is handling the case, said that is the strongest charge they can bring against her. The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office may be able to press felony charges, but will need to review the case to make that determination.
December 22, 2011
Earlier this month it was discovered that four Breathalyzer technicians were no longer certified to give the tests commonly used to determine whether or not a driver is intoxicated. Currently Breathalyzer technicians that work for the Louisville Department of Corrections are responsible for their own certifications, but the department will be taking over that responsibility and will make sure technicians are recertified at least two months before their certifications expire. The four technicians involved will not be allowed to administer any tests until after they are recertified in the beginning of January. The department of corrections says there are six other people with current certifications.
Because their certification expired in September, around 600 Kentucky car accident cases may be affected. Mike O’Connell, attorney for Jefferson County said many of the cases may end up being thrown out because the Breathalyzer test is “the single most important piece of evidence in the trial” when a drunk driver is involved. Prosecutors can still attempt to use other types of evidence to prove the driver was intoxicated, such as witness accounts, video taken at the time of traffic stop, or field sobriety tests, which are given by police officers at the scene. They may also seek charges other than DUI that do not rely so heavily on the Breathalyzer test, such as public intoxication and wanton endangerment. Meanwhile, defense attorneys are reviewing all of their DUI cases in the hopes that their clients’ Breathalyzer tests were administered by one of the technicians with an expired certification. Judges are expecting a large influx of motions regarding these cases in the coming weeks, but realize it was important that the truth be told about the situation.
James Ronald Brown was arrested for allegedly striking a man in the road and killing him on November 22, 2011. His Breathalyzer results showed his blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit. But because his test was given by one of the technicians in question, this evidence may not be allowed to be entered in court. Prosecutors may have to use police video taken of his sobriety test and other evidence instead. The Breathalyzer issue was not discussed at the pretrial hearing, and Mr. Brown was released to house arrest and instructed not to drive or consume any alcohol.
May 8, 2009
Louisville Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed by Parents of Two Girls Killed in Kentucky Hit and Run Accident
In Jefferson Circuit Court, the respective parents of Claudia Wadlington, 5, and the Riley Lawrence, 4, have filed a Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit for the girls’ hit-and-run deaths. The two girls were killed in Louisville on July 25, 2008 as they were walking to swim class. They were holding hands with Claudia’s mom, Angela, as they crossed Floyd Street when a Pontiac Grand Am hit them. The driver of the car, Kenielle Finch, also hit Louisville Metro Police who attempted to apprehend him following the deadly hit and run accident.
Named as defendants in the Kentucky pedestrian accident complaint are Kenielle Finch, who was charged with their murders (in addition to 12 other related charges) and Keynisha Butler, who lent Finch the car that hit the girls. Finch entered a not guilty plea to the criminal charges and will stand trial.
The families’ Louisville wrongful death lawsuit seeks to recover hospital expenses, burial costs, and other accident-related expenses, including Angela’s hospital expenses for her injuries, as well as punitive damages from both men.
Reasons Why Motorists Hit and Run
Not only is it considered negligent conduct to cause an auto accident, but so is leaving an auto accident site after causing a motor vehicle crash—especially if someone was seriously injured. Staying at a crash site to provide assistance and contact emergency medics to let them know that someone has been hurt can determine whether an auto accident victim lives or dies.
Some reasons why people hit and run:
• Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs.
• Driving without a license or proper insurance or documentation.
• Driving a stolen vehicle.
• The driver may have just committed a crime.
• The driver is scared of the legal consequences.
If you were seriously hurt in Kentucky hit and run accident and the driver has not been apprehended, an experienced Louisville car accident law firm can help you pursue your uninsured motorist claim and make sure that you receive a settlement from your insurer that takes as much of your accident-related expenses and recovery costs into consideration. If the driver has been apprehended, then your Kentucky personal injury lawyer can push to recover from the negligent party.
Slain girls’ parents sue accused hit-and-run driver, Courier-Journal, May 5, 2009
Kenielle Finch indicted, charged with murder after alleged hit and run, Newsnet14, September 1, 2008
Related Web Resources:
Hit And Run Drivers Kill Nearly 1500 People Annually With Pedestrians At Greatest Risk, According To AAA Foundation Analysis, AAA, May 17, 2004
April 8, 2009
The Kentucky’s Office of Highway Safety says the number of highway motor vehicle deaths occurring in the state appears to be decreasing. According to early figures, there were 158 Kentucky traffic deaths in 2009 through March 31—21 less fatalities than for the same time period in 2008. Kentucky Transportation Secretary Joe Prather says that 81 of the 158 traffic victims that died this year were not using seat belts.
The state also experienced its lowest number of Kentucky motor vehicle deaths last year with 823 fatalities. This decline reflects the overall decrease in motor vehicle deaths on a national level.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37,313 people died in US traffic accidents in 2008. This is the lowest number of US motor vehicle deaths to occur in a year since 1961. The report notes that states that have weaker seat belt laws tend to have higher death tolls.
Prather says that Kentucky will take aggressive action during next month’s “Click It or Ticket” Campaign. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that seat belts can decrease the number of front-seat occupant traffic deaths by 45% and by 50% for traffic deaths involving occupants of SUV’s, pickup trucks, and minivans.
Common Causes of Car Crashes:
• Driver negligence
• Distracted driving
• Drunk driving
• Driver exhaustion
• Defective auto or auto parts
• Cell phone use while driving
• Text messaging
If you have been injured in a Kentucky car collision, an experienced Louisville car crash lawyer can help you investigate your case and pursue your claim in a manner that allows you to obtain the maximum recovery possible.
Kentucky highway fatalities declining in 2009, Examiner.com, April 7, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Seat Belt Use in 2008, NHTSA (PDF)
February 3, 2009
This year, the National Safety Council wants all US states and Washington DC to impose a total ban that would make it illegal for all drivers to use cell phones when operating their motor vehicles. The NSC says drivers who talk or text message on cell phones increase their chances of getting involved in a motor vehicle crash by four times. The NSC says cell phone use is a form of distracted driving, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports is the cause of 80% of US traffic accidents.
According to the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis:
• 636,000 US motor vehicle crashes a year involve a driver who was using a cell phone.
• These accidents make up 6% of all US auto crashes, resulting in 330,000 injuries and 2,600 fatalities.
• Over 100 million people drive and use cell phones at the same time.
A number of US states have a partial ban on certain kinds of cell phone use. For example, Kentucky completely bars school bus drivers from using cell phones while driving. The state also has legislation under consideration that would ban drivers from using handheld devices.
The NSC, however, wants all states to bar drivers from using even hands-free phones.
A study by University of Utah researchers shows that just because a driver isn’t using his or her hands to hold or operate a cell phone while driving doesn’t make it safer to operate a motor vehicle. Talking on any kind of cell phone while driving reportedly places a motorist’s concentration elsewhere rather than on the road.
Distracted driving is one of the reasons why so many US motor vehicle accidents happen. It can also be grounds for a Kentucky personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit if someone gets hurt or dies as a result. If you or someone you love was seriously hurt in a Kentucky motor vehicle crash, an experienced Louisville auto accident attorney can help you prove negligence so that you can recover the maximum compensation that you are owed.
Related Web Resources:
Cell Phone Driving Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association
January 7, 2009
Kentucky Auto Accident Lawyer: New Bill Proposes Vehicular Assault Charge Against Drivers Responsible for Injuring or Killing Bicyclists or Pedestrians in Traffic Accidents
A proposed bill up for consideration in front of the Kentucky Legislature this year provides additional protections for local pedestrians and bicyclists. Sponsored by Representative Jim Wayne, the bill imposes additional charges on drivers responsible for causing Kentucky bicycle and pedestrian accidents.
According to Representative Wayne, current Kentucky statute favors motorists, which makes it very hard police to press criminal charges when a bicyclist or pedestrian is injured or killed in a traffic crash. Police officers cannot issue a traffic violation when someone hits a bicyclist unless hit and run or drunk driving was a factor.
The bill was spurred by a number of high profile Louisville bicycle deaths, including the July 2007 death of George Cronen Jr. The bicyclist was hit by a van on the Clark Memorial Bridge. Bicycling for Louisville Executive Director Barry Zalph says that in Louisville alone, about 2-3 bicyclists and 20 pedestrians are killed in motor vehicle crashes every year. 30% of Kentucky bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities occur in Louisville.
Common Causes of Kentucky Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents:
• Driver negligence
• Drunk driving
• Product defects
• Pedestrian or bicyclist negligence
The new bill proposes adding the charge of vehicular assault, which would allow Kentucky police officers to file charges against a driver for reckless or negligent driving regardless of whether/not the cop actually witnessed the auto accident. Vehicular assault charges could also be filed against negligent bicyclists.
Kentucky Bicycle and Pedestrian Accident Claims and Lawsuits
In addition to criminal charges filed against a motorist for injuring or killing a Kentucky pedestrian or pedalcyclist, the injury victim or his or her family can also pursue personal injury or wrongful death compensation from the liable party.
Bill proposed to protect cyclists and pedestrians, WAVE 3, January 4, 2008
Bicyclists want tougher law, Courier-Journal.com, December 11, 2008
Related Web Resources:
How Not to Get Hit By Cars, BicycleSafe.com
December 16, 2008
In Frankfort, Kentucky, an 8-year-old boy suffered injuries yesterday morning after he was hit by a car on Frankfort Road. Fire department workers had to rescue the boy, who became trapped under the 1997 Honda, driven by Danny L Givens.
The boy was walking to the bus stop when the Kentucky pedestrian accident happened. He is receiving treatment at a Lexington hospital.
2007 Pedestrian Facts (NHTSA):
• 4,654 pedestrians died in US traffic accidents.
• That’s 1 pedestrian that died every 113 minutes.
• 70,000 pedestrians were injured.
• 14,000 of the injury victims were younger than 15.
• 8,000 of these victims were boys.
• 93 of the pedestrians that died last year were between the ages of 5 and 9.
• 36% of young pedestrian fatalities (under age 16) took place in the afternoon, between 3pm – 7pm.
• 44 people were killed in Kentucky pedestrian accidents in 2007.
• Auto crashes are the number one cause of death for kids between the ages of 3 and 14.
Some of the reasons why younger pedestrians are at risk of getting injured or killed in a Kentucky motor vehicle crash:
• Their ability to determine how fast a car is going and whether it is safe to cross the street is not always accurate.
• Drivers may not see child pedestrians because of their smaller size.
• A child pedestrian may wrongly assume that the driver is going to yield the right of way.
• A child pedestrians may not fully understand traffic signs or know how to safely cross the street.
Children injured in Kentucky pedestrian accidents are prone to serious injuries, including spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, severed limbs, internal injuries, and death.
Boy, 8, struck by car, Kentucky.com, December 15, 2008
Related Web Resources:
Injury Center, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Walk This Way, Safe Kids
December 9, 2008
A Louisville dentist is pleading not guilty to charges of leaving an a