Kansas Car Accident Attorney Discusses the Importance of an Employee’s Handbook in Car Crash Cases

Regular readers of this blog should be familiar with the basic assertions that must be proven in a Kansas car accident lawsuit:

  • The at-fault driver owed the injury victim a duty of care;
  • The at-fault driver breached this duty by operating his or her vehicle in a careless or reckless manner;
  • The at-fault driver’s negligent or reckless driving was the primary proximate cause of the crash; and/
  • The injury victim suffered injuries, losses, and/or expenses that can be compensated with an award of monetary compensation.

Typically, it is the second element that is the point of contention in car accident lawsuits. There are many ways in which an injury victim may attempt to show that the manner in which the defendant operated his or her vehicle was careless: the injury victim may, for example, show that the defendant committed one or more traffic violations immediately before the crash. Alternatively, the injury victim may attempt to show that the manner in which the at-fault driver operated his or her vehicle was in a manner that a reasonable person would hot have done.

Employee Handbooks May Provide Additional Evidence

If the at-fault driver was engaged in the performance of his or her job duties at the time of the crash, that driver’s employee handbook and policies may provide an additional source of evidence to help establish negligent behavior. For example, suppose you or your loved one is involved in a truck collision involving a delivery truck. Suppose further that the delivery driver’s employee handbook requires that he not be on the road longer than five hours at a time without having taken an hour break. Suppose yet still that the crash occurs after the driver has been on the road for six hours without a break. While there may not be anything unlawful about the driver’s actions, the fact that he broke company policy may be relevant in determining whether he or she was negligent. In this case, the relevant inquiry will be whether an individual in the defendant’s position, with the defendant’s knowledge of company policy, would have chosen to break company policy and drive for six hours.

Obtaining Copies of Handbooks and Other Important Evidence

The fact that such information may be available in your car wreck case underscores the need to obtain legal assistance with your case as soon as possible. In some cases, important evidence needed to establish the essential premises of your case can disappear or become significantly more difficult to find and obtain if too much time elapses. A company may update its employee handbook following a crash and destroy older versions of the handbook that would have been in force at the time of your crash. If the employee is terminated, documentation showing that the employee received the handbook and had agreed that he had reviewed it can likewise be destroyed if steps are not taken quickly to preserve such documentation.

Contact Us Today for Assistance With Your Case

With years of experience handling Kansas car wreck injury cases, Michael R. Lawless is able and poised to take quick action on your behalf after your car crash. Attorney Michael R. Lawless will carefully review the facts of your case and take action to preserve important evidence that you will need to succeed in your injury case.

If you or a loved one have been hurt in a Kansas car accident, give yourself the best possible chance at recovering the compensation you need by calling Kansas Car Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless, Attorney at Law at (800) 734-3771.

Kansas Car Crash Lawyer Advises of the Dangers of Lending Your Vehicle

Kansas is known for its hospitality and the willingness of individuals to lend a helping hand (even in some of the state’s larger cities). Whether it’s a cup of sugar or a few dollars to help you make ends meet, Kansans are always prepared to assist someone in need. In some cases, this might include lending one’s vehicle to help that person run an errand, apply for a job, or handle that person’s personal obligations. Does this pose any potential legal trouble for you?  Like most legal questions, the answer is a definite, “It depends.”

Individuals Responsible for Their Own Actions

A fundamental principle of our judicial system is that adults are generally responsible for the civil and criminal consequences of their own actions. This principle applies in the context of borrowing another’s car, for example: even though the car may belong to another person, a driver of a vehicle is responsible for ensuring the vehicle is properly ensured and registered before taking the vehicle out onto the street. If the driver gets pulled over, he or she cannot avoid a ticket for improper registration or not having insurance on the vehicle by claiming the vehicle belongs to someone else.

This holds true in the realm of civil law/personal injury law as well.  A person who is driving the vehicle of another and who causes injury to another driver or passenger because of careless or reckless driving may not avoid responsibility for those injuries he or she caused by claiming the car belonged to another person.

Notwithstanding this general principle, however, Kansas law also recognizes that in any personal injury accident several individuals may be to blame for the plaintiff’s injuries. In the context of lending someone your vehicle, you as the vehicle’s owner may be brought into the case as an additional defendant if:

  • Your car had defects or was not in good operating order and you knew or should have known this information and you did not disclose this information to the driver. To illustrate, if you know the brakes on your older car are not working well, you may have a legal duty to disclose this fact to another before you let that person drive your car. If that person gets into a wreck and it is determined that the brakes failed, you may be responsible. If you disclose the problem to the other person and he or she chooses to drive anyway, then he or she may have assumed the risk and be solely responsible for any crashes that result.
  • You know or should know the person shouldn’t be driving. If you lend your keys to someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or who has a significant history of being involved in car wrecks, you may be partly responsible for any injuries this person causes if he or she is involved in a car wreck. In most cases, the focus will be on what you knew or should have known prior to lending your car: you are not expected to know everyone’s blood alcohol content just by looking at them, for example, but you cannot lend your keys to someone that you watched consume a six-pack of beer and not expect to escape all liability.

How Your Kansas Car Crash Attorney Helps You

 When you retain Michael R. Lawless, a seasoned Kansas Car Crash Lawyer, to assist you with your Kansas car wreck case, he will thoroughly evaluate your case and identify all parties who contributed to your crash. By holding all individuals responsible for your wreck accountable, you are in a better position to recover full and fair compensation for your losses and injuries. Call Michael R. Lawless, Attorney at Law today for help by dialing (800) 734-3771.