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Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

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A common scenario that arises in Kentucky and other states occurs when an insurance company for the person that injured you calls and asks you questions before you get a chance to talk to your own lawyer. We are commonly told by an injured person that an insurance company wants to settle a claim and asked whether he or she should settle the case without a lawyer.

You should absolutely consult an attorney before agreeing to settle a case. Whether the injuries were sustained in a car wreck, bicycle accident, trucking accident or other type of collision, and whether the injuries appear to be relatively minor or resulted in a fatality, broken bones, paralysis or other injuries, you should talk to an attorney before making any decisions regarding settlement and before talking to an insurance agent or adjuster about the facts of the case.

Often, people don’t realize that the friendly insurance adjuster that asks them questions is not on their side. An insurance adjuster for a primary liability policy owes a duty to the insurance company’s insured customer, an excess policy if there is one, and shareholders. They do not owe duties to you after you have been injured.

In fact, an insurer’s goal is to pay an injured person that is not insured under its policy as little as possible. To that end, an adjuster may be excessively friendly to try to cajole you into making an admission they can use against you should you bring a lawsuit. Alternatively, an adjuster may use threats, bullying and misstatements to try to convince you and make you agree that the other person was not at fault or make another damaging statement. An adjuster may ask you to make a recorded statement. Continue reading

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Although less common than car accidents, motorcycle accidents remain common in Kentucky. In 2009, there were 1,915 motorcycle accidents in Kentucky, which included 89 fatalities, according to the Kentucky State Police. Getting in a motorcycle accident in Kentucky can be the result of road conditions, another driver, or a variety of other reasons. While they are less common than car accidents, the personal injuries caused to a motorcyclist can be quite severe.

If you go to trial against a potentially responsible party after a motorcycle accident, prior to the trial both sides will try to limit the subjects which can be presented to a jury by making what are called motions in limine. By the time the actual trial comes around, the judge will typically have ruled on most of these motions and you will mostly know what the other side will be allowed to argue at trial. A defendant driver, for example, might argue that you were at fault as a motorcycle driver for failing to use an appropriate signal while turning or failing to stop at a stop sign. Sometimes, however, a surprising statement or unexpected issue may still  surface at trial.

A case last year illustrates the difficulty of predicting the outcome of a motorcycle accident case. In the case, two couples who went motorcycle riding together were involved in a crash. As they rode down the hill, the second couple saw the first couple crash their motorcycle. Seconds later, the second couple’s motorcycle also crashed and struck the woman motorcyclist. She was knocked into a pickup truck and badly hurt. Several witnesses testified later that the motorcyclists lost control of their motorcycles because of a slick substance, probably diesel fuel, on the road.

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Some people find the name Varellas difficult to pronounce and spell. The name of our law firm is pronounced Va-Rel-iss (rhymes with trellis) and is sometimes misspelled as Varella, Varela, Varelas, Verallas, Varallas, Varillas, Varilla, Valera or Varallis. The misspellings are understandable since reports periodically appear in the news concerning people with names similar to ours but with various spellings.

In recent news, there was a report concerning Rosella Varela, the mother of four children who were on a school bus on April 9, 2013 that drove over an embankment in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico.  The driver of the school bus was killed and two of the Varela children were seriously injured. Derrick Varela, 9, suffered a broken hip and Rusti Dawn Varela, 16, lost several teeth and was taken to surgery to repair broken bones in her face. The other two Varela children sustained minor bruising and a chipped heel.

Monica Varillas, 21, was injured in an Anaheim, California car wreck in December 2011, when a driver made an unsafe left turn and fled the scene. Police reported that Varillas was driving a Honda Civic with her 1-year-old child when the wreck occurred. Donta J. Lewis and Heather M. Varalli, were slightly injured in August, 2012 in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in a two-vehicle accident when Lewis turned left in front of Varalli’s vehicle, and he was struck by her vehicle, police said.

Victoriano Varelas and Bartolo Santos filed a lawsuit in 2009 against a truck driver and his employer, a Texas corporation, after the employee drove the truck into the rear of their vehicle. Varelas was driving his motor vehicle in Harris County, Texas with Santos as his passenger, and Brandon L. Dover was driving the truck behind them. The men alleged in their lawsuit that the trucking accident happened after Dover fell asleep, failed to control his speed, and crashed into the back of the vehicle in which the men were riding

In August, 2010, 18-year-old Anthony “Nini” Varela died in a car accident in Pleasant Grove, Texas when a drunken driver ran a red light. After he was declared brain dead, however, his parents donated his organs, bones and tissues thereby improving the lives of 114 people. One year later, the anniversary of his death was marked by a gathering at Grove Hill Memorial Park in Dallas by family, friends and those whose lives were touched by the generous donation of Nini’s parents. Continue reading

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Fatalities involving motorcycle wrecks increased by more than 200 percent from 1997 to 2009 even though fatalities involving passenger cars and light trucks decreased by 27% during the same period. Concerned about this trend, Congress funded a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) research project to provide insight into the factors contributing to motorcycle crashes throughout the country. The Motorcycle Crash Causation Study (MCCS) will collect data through 2014 and will be supported by federal agencies, departments of transportation from the various states, local police and the motorcycle industry. The study is the most comprehensive look at the causes of motorcycle crash in more than 30 years, and the final report is expected to be completed in 2015. It is anticipated that the study report may lead to educational programs, new roadway safety measures, and policy decisions based by the data collected in the comprehensive study.

Our motorcycle accident attorneys have seen the devastating effects of motorcycle wrecks that have seriously injured our clients or caused the death of our clients’ loved ones. We encourage all motorcycle owners to take their safety and the safety of their passengers seriously so that wrecks and injuries can be avoided. Safety demonstrations, exhibits and free educational materials will be provided by the Kentucky State Police along with a cook-out and prizes during the Kentucky State Police 6th Annual Motorcycle Safety Awareness Day on Friday, July 26, 2013 at KSP Headquarters in Frankfort.

Even though motorcycle fatalities in Kentucky dropped from 80 in 2010 to 61 in 2011, the number of fatalities increased back up to 78 in 2012. So far in 2013, numerous motorcycle crashes in Kentucky have caused serious injuries or death. After the Scott County sheriff’s department worked three motorcycle crashes in a three-week period that resulted in fatalities, Sheriff Tony Hampton asked the people in Scott County to consider wearing a helmet. Although Kentucky law does not require a motorcyclist to wear a helmet, Sheriff Hampton stated he believed all three of the victims could have survived the wrecks if they had worn helmets. Continue reading

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A “statute of limitations” is a law which sets a specific deadline for filing legal proceedings. Statutes of limitations can apply to civil cases or criminal cases and are adopted primarily to prevent the filing of claims or criminal charges after evidence has been lost and witnesses have disappeared. Statutes of limitations vary by state and can be very complicated to interpret and apply to a particular set of facts.  As with all statutes of limitations, the statute of limitations for lawsuits involving injury cases in Kentucky is strictly enforced by Kentucky courts. As with all legal issues, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to determine how the statute of limitations applies to your particular case.

The statute of limitations for many types of injury cases in Kentucky is 1 year from the time of the injury. KRS 413.140. This 1-year time limit for settling the claim or bringing a lawsuit generally applies to dog bites or other animal attacks, slip and fall, assault, medical malpractice, and nursing home neglect and abuse cases, among others, although in some cases, such as medical malpractice, the 1-year statute of limitations may not begin to run until the injury is discovered or until you quit treating with the professional who has committed negligence or malpractice. Since cases must be properly investigated before suit can be filed and evidence must be gathered and preserved as quickly as possible, it is imperative to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the injury has occurred or been discovered.

Some of the personal injury claims resulting from car wrecks, truck wrecks or other motor vehicle accidents must generally be settled or filed in court no later than 2 years after the date of the injury, death, or the last payment of basic or added reparation benefits was made to the injured party. KRS 304.39-230. Basic or added reparation benefits are also known as personal injury protection (“PIP”) benefits or no-fault benefits. However, many factors will have an effect on the statute of limitations that will be applied to a particular case, such as whether PIP benefits have been paid or not paid after the injury, and whether the injury resulted in death. Furthermore, there are numerous exceptions to the 2-year statute of limitations for motor vehicle accidents which will reduce the statute of limitations to 1 year, so care must be taken in relying on the 2-year time limit. An experienced personal injury lawyer must review all the facts and details of the case to determine the deadline for filing suit. Continue reading

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