Named after Richmond, Va., by its founder in 1798, Richmond has grown to be the county seat of Madison County and the proud home of Eastern Kentucky University. With a population of more than 33,500 in 2015, Richmond is the third-biggest city in the Bluegrass region, behind only Louisville and Lexington, and the sixth-biggest city in the state. A major center for shopping and employment in south central Kentucky, Richmond is not a big city, but it gets the job done. While Richmond would be considered a small city in many states, that does not give it some kind of magic immunity from personal injuries. Just like any other place people live, Richmond sees its fair share of personal injuries. When those injuries occur, victims should consult with our Richmond personal injury lawyers at Maze Law Offices to learn what the options are and receive a free case evaluation.
There is no question that Americans love their pets – and they really love their dogs. More than two out of three households in the United States – 67% – have at least one dog, including 47% of households in Kentucky. There are more 78 million dogs kept as pets nationwide. While the vast majority of those dogs will never bite a person, at least a sizable minority do. There are about 4.7 million people annually who get bitten by dogs. About 800,000 of those dog bite victims each year require at least some professional medical treatment. On top of the injuries, dog bites caused 59 deaths nationwide in 2019, with two of those dog-bite deaths happening in Kentucky. While the relatively low total of dog-bite fatalities is a good thing, that does nothing to minimize the impact of dog-bite injuries, which can be both serious and costly. Insurance claims nationwide arising from dog bites hit a total of $797 million in 2019, averaging $44,760 per claim.
It only takes a quick look at federal statistics to get an idea of the one-sidedness of collisions between large commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. There were 531,000 large commercial trucks, including 18-wheel tractor-trailers, involved in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2018. Those crashes resulted in 4,951 deaths as well as 151,000 people who were injured. The overwhelming majority of those killed and injured in those accidents were not occupants of the tractor-trailers. Of those 2018 fatalities in tractor-trailer crashes, more than 70% were either occupants of passenger vehicles, and 72% of those injured likewise were people in passenger vehicles involved in the collisions. Being in the smaller vehicle in a traffic collision usually is a losing proposition, especially when the disparity in size is as great as that between an 18-wheeler and a family sedan.
The problem is not unique to collisions between 18-wheelers and passenger vehicles taking place on major highways. Much closer to home, delivery trucks or vans as well as garbage and recycling trucks also pose a hazard to the occupants of passenger vehicles. Both types of vehicles are considerably larger than even the largest passenger vehicle, and delivery vehicles and refuse-pickup vehicles do a good bit of their driving on residential streets. Like 18-wheelers, they have a considerable size advantage over passenger vehicles, as well. For instance, recycling and garbage trucks range from 40,000 to 64,000 pounds and double as oversized trash receptacles on wheels made out of heavy steel. Passenger vehicles weigh an average of about 4,000 pounds, but can weigh as little as 2,400 pounds. Naturally, in collisions between passenger vehicles and refuse trucks, passenger vehicles suffer the most damage, as do the occupants of the passenger vehicles. There were 107 traffic fatalities involving garbage and recycling trucks in 2018, as well as about 1,400 injuries. A significant majority of those deaths and injuries occurred among occupants of the passenger vehicles involved.
Accidents between delivery vehicles and passenger vehicles tell a similar story. Delivery vans – which are everywhere these days as online ordering becomes ever more commonplace – are a danger to smaller vehicles for the same reasons that apply to tractor-trailers and garbage trucks. Size is a trump card in traffic collisions. In 2017 delivery vans or box trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds were involved in 1,885 fatal accidents. They also were in 22,000 crashes resulting in injuries. While they are the smallest of the commercial vehicles in the “large commercial vehicle” statistical category and are considerably smaller than garbage trucks or 18-wheelers, delivery vans as a category generally are similar to the single most popular delivery vehicle, the 11,000-pound Mercedes Sprinter van. Amazon, FedEx, UPS, Purolator, and other delivery services use the Sprinter, which nearly triples the weight of the average passenger vehicle and is four times the weight of the smallest passenger vehicles. You likely see these vehicles almost every day, and they are involved in collisions with passenger vehicles about that often, as well.
More than 80% of the time, collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles result in the motorcyclist being killed or injured. Occupants of the vehicles with which they collided often are not hurt at all or suffer only minor injuries. Although motorcycle accident fatalities have been on the decline for several years, there still were nearly 5,000 deaths of motorcyclists in 2018, with motorcycle riders suffering an additional 89,000 injuries. Each year, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die than the occupants of passenger cars in a traffic collision.
Even decades after it was written, The Hurt Report still is considered the most authoritative study of motorcycle accidents and their causes. An in-depth, multi-year examination of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents, The Hurt Report concluded that about three-fourths of motorcycle accidents involved a collision with another vehicle, usually a passenger vehicle. To this day, federal statistics bear out that conclusion. Further, the top cause of fatal two-vehicle motorcycle crashes determined by the report is the same today — crashes at intersections where the passenger vehicle turned left in front of a motorcycle that was going straight. Recently, an industry media site published a list of the top 10 causes of motorcycle accidents that meshed well with The Hurt Report and with current federal statistics. Those causes included:
Car crashes happen every day, even in a small city like Winchester, and often result in serious injuries or wrongful death. According to the federal government, human error lies behind the vast majority of traffic accidents, including driver inattention, distracted driving, and paying inadequate attention to conditions and surrounding traffic.
Other sources list different top accident causes, although those causes also are rooting in human error, including:
Texting while driving probably gets the most attention out of all forms of distracted driving. Kentucky law bans texting while driving for all drivers. Also, drivers younger than 18 are prohibited from all cell phone use while driving. While a primary focus for many, cell phone use is nowhere near the only cause of distracted driving. Distracted driving can include anything that takes attention away from driving, such as eating and drinking, talking to passengers in your vehicle, changing stations on your radio, or changing settings on your stereo, entertainment, climate control, or navigation system.
Whether you can sue the at-fault driver for your damages in Kentucky is an interesting question. In Kentucky, auto insurance is governed by a no-fault system, which usually means that you cannot sue the other driver, no matter if they were at fault. Under Kentucky’s no-fault laws, your medical expenses, lost wages and any other out-of-pocket expenses are covered by your own auto insurance policy no matter who is at fault for the accident. Even under your own insurance, though, you cannot collect pain and suffering or other emotional damages under the no-fault system. However, there are exceptions. Under Kentucky no-fault law, you still can sue the at-fault driver if your medical expenses are more than $1,000, if you suffer a broken bone or permanent injury or disfigurement, or if a family member is killed in the accident. The low level of the medical expenses threshold generally will make it possible to sue the at-fault driver in almost all accidents involving injuries, given the level of modern medical costs.
While these types of accidents are a major cause of personal injuries, they are by no means the only ones. There are many other causes of personal injuries involving the negligence of other people, including:
A hit and run accident is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: A driver causes some kind of an accident with a pedestrian, another vehicle or vehicles, a bicyclist, or a roadside business and then leaves the scene without providing contact information. It does not matter if the other driver is involved in an accident while you both are driving your cars, runs into your parked car, runs into you while you are walking, or runs into the sidewalk café where you are having lunch. If the other driver leaves the scene without waiting for police or providing contact information, that is a hit-and-run. Obtaining compensation for such an accident often relies on your own uninsured motorist coverage. Your only other avenue of recovery lies in getting information about the identity of the driver, whether through a license plate number, descriptions of the driver or vehicle, or other information from witnesses, traffic cameras, or security cameras that might be near the scene of the accident.
Most adults have jobs and spend a significant portion of their day at work. Naturally, then, many accidental injuries take place at work. Workers’ compensation covers the overwhelming majority of these injuries, with some exceptions. Workers’ compensation is a state-operated insurance coverage system providing compensation for medical treatment and lost wages for injuries that employees suffer while on the job. In exchange for this coverage, you cannot sue your employer for compensation for your damages under most circumstances. Workers’ comp does not cover only “dangerous” jobs – people in fairly safe occupations, such as office workers, get the same benefits for injuries suffered at work that construction workers receive. Construction workers account for a large percentage of workplace injuries – especially fatal injuries – people in jobs generally accepted as pretty safe suffer at-work injuries, too. In fact, a number of injuries common to office workers, such as repetitive motion injuries (the scourge of people who do a lot of typing on the job) are among the most common workplace injuries. The leading cause of workplace injuries is overexertion, which can result from pushing, pulling, lifting, or carrying objects – which includes, for instance, lifting and moving boxes of printer paper or other office supplies, a common activity for many office workers.
In 2018, 857 bicyclists died in traffic accidents in the U.S. Every year, about 450,000 people suffer bicycle-related injuries nationwide, as well. No matter whether the cyclists are commuting to work, riding for exercise, or just out for some recreation, all bicyclists on the roads have the same rights and responsibilities as any other kind of other vehicle operator. Unfortunately, because bicycles do not give their riders any of the physical protection that motor vehicles provide for their occupants, it is pretty much a lock that a bicyclist involved in a traffic accident is much more likely to be injured or killed than are the occupants of whatever motor vehicle is involved in the accident. A bicycle is legally equivalent to a motor vehicle on the roads. Liability for a traffic accident involving a bicyclist operates on the same principles as a traffic accident between motor vehicles: The driver whose negligence causes the accident can be held liable for damages suffered by the other driver, even if one of the “drivers” is on a bicycle. Determining what those damages are also follows the same principles as those that apply in calculating damages from any other traffic accident.
If you have suffered a personal injury in Madison County and believe another person might have been at fault, you should seek advice from a local attorney to help find out what options you may have. If you have been injured elsewhere and need a personal injury lawyer in Winchester or Georgetown, we can also help. It is possible there are provisions within a liability insurance policy which may be able to pay for your injuries and other damages, depending upon the circumstances of how you were hurt. The best Richmond personal injury lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other damages. The attorneys of Maze Law Offices can help you. Unlike many larger attorney offices you may see on TV, we live here and know this area, its people, and its laws. Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.