We like to repost this article every year around this time. Remember to be safe this Independence Day. Please enjoy your 4th of July celebration responsibly.
Independence Day is right around the corner. It’s a time for celebrating our country’s independence with burgers and dogs, ice cream, games and, of course, fireworks. Children and adults love fireworks, and they can certainly add a “wow” factor to any celebration. However, it’s important to remember that fireworks are explosives, and explosives can be dangerous. Almost all of these fireworks are made in foreign countries and they may not have the same safety standards that you find in the United States.
Many states do not outlaw fireworks, and these fireworks can be nothing short of small mortars capable of causing severe injury or death. As for states that do outlaw fireworks, smaller less explosive fireworks are still available. These fireworks emit sparks of flame that can cause burns and even blindness.
What about snakes and sparklers. Harmless, right? While perhaps not as dangerous as the more explosive fireworks, sparklers and other incendiaries burn at about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt metal. Often these snakes or sparklers are left or thrown on the grown when finished. Most of us are old enough to remember stepping on a discarded sparkler thrown in the grass after dark. It was never a pleasant experience.
Fireworks can add to the fun of celebrating Independence Day. If you chose to use fireworks, please make sure to exercise proper precautions and safety. Nothing can ruin a fun celebration faster then a trip to the emergency room. For more information on the dangers of fireworks and safety measure to protect you and your guests, please visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission, here. Have a fun and safe Independence Day.
The Brutscher Law Office would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. While we may have to celebrate a little different this year, the sentiment and feelings are the same. It has been a very difficult and trying year. Remember to give thanks for the many blessings you’ve received. Many of our fellow citizens will celebrate this holiday without the presence of a loved one, who may have been taken too soon. Please keep them in your thoughts or prayers, and let’s all do our best to return things back to normal as soon as possible.
In celebrating the holiday, The Brutscher Law Office will be closing Wednesday, November 26, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. and will reopen Monday, November 30, 2020 during normal business hours.
Mr. Brutscher Has Been Nominated and Accepted Into The 2020 Lawyers of Distinction.
Lawyers of Distinction is the fastest growing legal organization in the United States, with over 1 Million people utilizing Lawyer’s of Distinction for finding attorneys who have been recognized for “Excellence in the Practice of Law”.
Mr. Brutscher will appear in the New York Times Sunday September 6th Edition. He will also appear in the Print Edition of the TheAmerican Lawyer.
Lawyers of Distinction Members have been selected based upon a review and vetting process by our Selection Committee utilizing U.S. Provisional Patent # 62/743,254. The platform generates a numerical score of 1 to 5 for each of the 12 enumerated factors which are meant to recognize the applicant’s achievements and peer recognition. All applicants must be licensed to practice law. Members are then subject to a final review for ethical violations within the past ten years before confirmation of Membership. A Lawyers of Distinction Nomination does not guarantee membership and attorneys may not pay a fee to be nominated. Attorneys may nominate to Lawyers of Distinction their peers whom they feel warrant consideration.
It’s that time of year again. Holiday shopping is in full swing. And while many people now shop online, stores and shopping malls are still America’s destination during the holidays. As anyone holiday shopper can tell you, driving and parking your car during these busy times can be stressful and exhausting. Unfortunately, during these busy times drivers are often distracted when looking for places to park.
As a result holiday parking lot accidents are common. The good news is that these accidents are often minor low speed accidents that do not result in any injuries. The bad news is that they still result in property damage. So, what should you do if you are involved in a parking lot accident?
First, you should understand that police departments do not ordinarily investigate accidents on private property. So, unless the accident occurs on a public road on the way to the store, it is unlikely that the police will investigate the scene. Some smaller municipal police departments may investigate the scene if its within their jurisdiction, but ordinarily larger city police departments won’t. You should be prepared when you’re told that the police will not respond.
It’s important in these types of accidents that you gather as much information as possible. Fortunately, technology today has made it easier to document the scene of an accident. It is important that you document the scene of the accident as it exists at the time the collision occurred. It is not uncommon for people to change their recollection of the accident or the information they provide once they leave the scene.
Many insurance companies now have phone Apps that help you in the event you’ve been in an accident. These Apps are designed to assist your insurance company in documenting the important facts surrounding the accident. This will make it easier to file a claim, assess the damage, or document the scene. If you do not have an App, it is important to photograph the scene and the vehicles at the time of the collision. Often times, parking lots are poorly marked and identifying the at fault driver after the collision without some type of photographic reference may be difficult. Take wide shots of the scene along with closer shots of the damage. This will assist the insurance companies in determining who is responsible and for what damages are incurred once a claim is filed.
You should also get information on the other driver, any passengers, and any witnesses to the accident. As with photographs, a picture of their driver’s license card will do. Make sure that you get a picture of their insurance card as well. If you do not have a cell phone with a camera, take the information down by hand. Get as much information as you can. Make sure you exchange this information with the other driver involved.
Once you have gotten all the information you need, it is important that you file a Kentucky Civilian Collision Report. This report can now be filed online at https://kentuckystatepolice.org/civilian-collision-reports/. You only need to fill out this form if the accident was not investigated by a police officer and the damage is above $500. Given the price of most cars, this is not a huge amount. If you are unsure of the damage, go ahead and fill out the form. Most insurance companies prefer that some official form or report is completed and attested to in order to help reduce the chances of fraud.
It is possible for someone to be injured, even in low speed minor impacts. The human body simply has not evolved to be in accidents between large heavy cars traveling at speeds ranging from 5-15 mph. If someone is injured in a holiday parking accident, the police will need to be called, along with any emergency personnel. Most police departments will investigate an accident on private property if it does involve an injury. In those cases, it is important to provide the assisting officer with any pertinent information he requests.
Holiday shopping can be fun and exciting, especially for the little kid in all of us. However, the distractions caused by crowded stores and shopping malls can increase the chances of a holiday parking lot accident. Exercise caution. Be alert. And, know what to do if you are involved in a holiday parking lot accident.
Take a good look at Mr. Empty Pockets. He doesn’t have money to buy insurance for his car. That doesn’t stop Mr. Empty Pockets from driving, however. He drives his car all over town without a care in the world. Even though it is illegal for Mr. Empty Pockets to drive his car without insurance, he doesn’t have money for insurance, so he drives anyway. No big deal right?
Well, Mr. Empty Pockets doesn’t let a little thing like the law keep him from driving. And, why should he worry? Mr. Empty Pockets sounds like a very responsible and law abiding citizen. Guess what happens when Mr. Empty Pockets causes an accident and hurts someone? He doesn’t have any money or insurance to pay for the damages he caused.
If your car isn’t insured with full collision coverage, you are left with paying for the property repairs or purchasing a newer car if the damage is total. If you do not have Uninsured Motorists Coverage and you are injured, you are left paying for your damages out of your own pocket. Excess medical expenses above $10,000, lost wages, and any pain and suffering you endure are all borne by you and not Mr. Empty Pockets.
Can you sue Mr. Empty Pockets to recover the amounts you are owed? Of course you can. However, Mr. Empty Pockets doesn’t have money for insurance. It is highly unlikely that he has money to pay you out of his empty pockets. If your damages are high, his ability to pay you is even less likely. Without Uninsured Motorists Coverage you bear the full brunt of Mr. Empty Pockets decision to drive without insurance.
Uninsured Motorists Coverage is mandatory in Kentucky. It must be offered by any insurance company doing business in Kentucky. You can decline the coverage if you chose, but it must be signed by you in writing. Don’t reject this coverage. Often, in order to reduce monthly premiums, insurance agents will advise you to decline this coverage, saving you some money on your premiums. Don’t reject this coverage. The amounts that you save on insurance premiums are nothing compared to the damages you are likely to incur when hit by an uninsured driver.
Uninsured Motorists Coverage is insurance you purchase for yourself to protect you from irresponsible and law breaking jerks like Mr. Empty Pockets. You can’t force Mr. Empty Pockets to follow the law or buy insurance, but you can make sure that you are protected from jerks like Mr. Empty Pockets. Never reject Uninsured Motorists Coverage. If you have rejected it in the past, contact your local agent and request it be added to the policy. It’s piece of mind against expensive and harmful damages caused by jerks like Mr. Empty Pockets.
Someone was in too big of a hurry to get to the pool. The car jumped the concrete curb stop and went through the fence and over the wall. Fortunately, no one was injured and the car was safely removed.
It Can Be A Scary Place To Find Yourself After An Accident.
Most people recognize The Upside Down as the alternate Universe in Netflix’s hit series Stranger Things. However, in the world of car accidents it’s an actual place you can find yourself, and it’s equally as scary.
Upside down refers to financing associated with car loans. Generally speaking you are upside down on a car loan if you owe more money than the car is worth. After an accident, a person can find themselves upside down when they try to recover their property damage. In Kentucky, the compensation one receives for their property damage is the “fair market value.” Fair market value is the value that a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller to purchase the vehicle. This fair market value is often determined by manuals that assess the pros and cons of the overall vehicle value. NADA and Kelley Blue Book are two common assessors of fair market value.
Unfortunately, cars depreciate easily and the amount you owe on a loan can be significantly more than the car’s fair market value. When this occurs the money you would normally get to replace your car is paid to the financing company; however the money is not enough to pay off the loan, and you still owe. You are now in the Upside Down. You will still have to pay the financing company the amount due on the loan even though you no longer have the car.
This can place a double burden on the car accident victim. First, they no longer have their car for transportation. This can interfere with their ability to work and make money. Second, they do not have any money to replace the car but are still making a car payment. Such a result can easily escalate an already difficult financial situation for the victim, who is least able to afford it. Individuals who find themselves in the Upside Down often have poorer credit and a lower initial down payment. They are the persons least able to escape the Upside Down.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent ending up in the Upside Down. Perhaps one of the best and well known is Gap Insurance. This is an insurance payment, usually added to your monthly car payment, that will cover the gap between your car’s value and what you owe in the event of a car accident. This insurance protects you from ending up in the Upside Down.
Debt.org has a great article on upside down car loans and steps you can take to limit their long term financial impact, here. The last place you want to find yourself in is the Upside Down after a car accident that has left you injured and in a far worse situation then when you started. It’s a scary place.
Kentucky is a “no fault” state. Many people injured in accidents have been mistakenly told that if “no fault” is determined, then they don’t have an injury claim. This is not the case. In Kentucky fault is based on percentages. Each party is entitled to recover their damages for the other person’s fault up to 100%. For instance, if I am 35% at fault for causing an accident, I am still entitled to recover 65% of my total damages.
So what is meant by “no fault”? In Kentucky, injured persons give up the right to sue the other person for their first $10,000.00 in economic damages, in exchange for receiving $10,000.00 in insurance benefits (PIP benefits). The term “no fault” means “no fault” is considered in the award of these benefits. Even if a person is 100% responsible for a car accident, they are still entitled to PIP benefits if they were injured in a car accident and have insurance coverage.
The belief is that if an injured person’s medical expenses and lost wages (up to $10,000) are paid, they won’t be forced to file a lawsuit to recover those damages from the other person. This is supposed to lead to less fights over “fault” and actually result in the prompt payment of these damages.
Unfortunately, Kentucky’s “no fault” procedure is a statutory scheme that can be quite complicated. Avoid basing decisions regarding your potential claim on the statements of police officers, medical personnel, insurance adjusters, relatives or friends. You may need the services of a licensed attorney if there is an issue regarding fault for your accident or if your PIP benefits or bodily injury claim has been reduced or denied due to “fault”.
You recently received a package from the court by certified mail, or worse, delivered by the Sheriff. You open the package to discover it is a court issued summons identifying you as a party in a lawsuit. The summons says you have 20 days to respond. Congratulations, you’re getting sued, now what?
The most important thing is don’t ignore the summons. Ignoring a summons can result in huge penalties in court. While no one likes to get sued, ignoring the situation will only make it worse.
A civil summons is a document that puts a party on notice that a lawsuit has been filed against them. Included with the summons is the initial complaint. You should read the entire complaint that came with the lawsuit. The complaint sets out the claim and relief sought by the party filing the lawsuit. You should then seek the appropriate attorney who handles the type of lawsuit in the compliant. Time is important. Any delay can hurt your case.
If the complaint is for damages in a motor vehicle accident, you should contact your insurance company immediately. You have a duty to notify them under the insurance contract. Once notified, the insurance company has a duty to hire a lawyer to represent you under the insurance contract.
In most other cases, even though you might have to pay for a lawyer, it is usually wise to retain a lawyer or at the very least consult one. Many consultations are free and are usually helpful. If you can’t afford a lawyer, reach out to nonprofit organizations or your county or state bar association for programs that provide free or reduced legal representation.
Thinking about representing yourself? Don’t. Let me repeat, don’t. Lawyers are required to be licensed after extensive education, testing, venting, and training. In order to represent clients in court, a lawyer must have a firm knowledge of countless rules and procedures. Even some lawyers and judges can have difficulty understanding these rules.
I recently witnessed two cases in court where the parties tried to represent themselves with equally disastrous results. Even though the first party had managed to file a response to the initial complaint, she had failed to comply with timelines set forth by the rules. She was being compelled to respond in 7 days by the Judge, who was not happy. When the hearing was over, you could tell she was still unsure about what she should do to comply with the Judge’s order.
In the second case, the party failed to respond within 20 days and was facing a default judgment. A default judgment is a judgment against a party that is entered for their failure to respond to the summons and complaint within 20 days. Once entered the party can no longer defend themselves against the allegations in the lawsuit and may face damages, court costs or attorneys fees from the other party. The court gave the second party some additional time to provide a reason why a response wasn’t filed. If one wasn’t, she would enter the default judgment. Unfortunately, none of the responses given in court would prevent the judge from entering it.
It is very difficult for a lawyer who is hired too late in a case, to change the current bad situation. Even if they can, you will likely pay more attorney fees in getting a bad situation undone, then you would have paid hiring an attorney immediately. If your case involves an insurance company, failure to act immediately may prejudice your insurance company, who might have defenses to the duties set forth in the contract.
There is an old saying among lawyers; “He who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.” You’re getting sued, now what? Well, start by not being a fool.
The information provided in this website is meant for informational and educational purposes only. It is not meant and should not be relied upon as legal advice. The facts of your accident case are specific. You may need a qualified attorney to review the specific facts of your case and provide the appropriate legal advice. You should not rely on the information contained in this site to discourage you from seeking the appropriate legal advice for your situation.