Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Drunk Driving

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, in 2013, 92,531 vehicles were involved in crashes, and unfortunately almost 3,000 of these accidents were caused by alcohol consumption. Drunk driving was the fourth leading cause of traffic fatalities. Every 3.66 hours, another drunk driving accident occurs. When you factor in the heavy traffic on Kansas roadways, poor lighting on dark rural roads, and only 36.5% compliance with seat belt laws for accident victims, collisions caused by intoxication can become extremely dangerous and even deadly very fast.

To keep roads safe, legislatures could completely prohibit the consumption of any and all alcohol prior to getting behind the wheel. However, politicians recognize that many individuals like to have a casual drink with a meal or while lounging at home and watching football. Therefore, Kansas permits a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of lower than .08. BAC is the number of grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood. .08 is 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood. If your BAC is .08 or higher when you are operating a vehicle, not only are you violating criminal Kansas driving under the influence laws but you are also opening yourself up to deadly accidents and civil liability.

Alcohol is known as a depressant because it slows your thinking process and response time. Messages traveling from your eyes to your brain will take longer to be interpreted. Therefore, if you are under the influence of alcohol and your eyes see cars suddenly braking in front of you, your brain will be slow to process what it sees and relay to your feet to also brake. The more alcohol you imbibe, the worse your response time will become.

Common injuries caused by drunk driving accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Paralysis
  • Amputations
  • Spinal cord and nerve injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Broken bones, fractures, and sprains
  • Whiplash and other neck injuries
  • Lacerations, cuts, and bruises
  • Seatbelt burn
  • Internal injuries and bleeding

The National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency that reviews vehicular crashes, heralds organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Remove Intoxicated Drivers, as well as increased awareness of the dangers of driving while drunk, with decreasing annual DUI-related deaths from 25,000 to 10,000 nationally. However, the Board says that progress has plateaued. One-third of all highway deaths are due to alcohol consumption. While drunk driving accounts for a small number of overall accidents, the majority of drunk driving accidents do result in fatalities and severe injuries. To address the plateau, the Board is petitioning for strict changes to the law.

One such change is universal requirement of ignition interlock devices installed in all cars, nationwide, for drivers with DUI or OWI convictions. At the moment, Kansas judges may include an ignition interlock device requirement for a DUI or OWI conviction, but it is not mandatory. An ignition interlock device is connected to the ignition of the car. The driver must blow into a device similar to a breathalyzer, and the device calculates BAC. If the BAC is 0.0, the driver may start the car. Drivers are also required to intermittently blow into the device while driving. If a driver blows an illegal BAC, authorities will be notified. The Board would like automatic installation of these devices once an individual has been convicted.

In addition, the Board recommends that the blood alcohol level be dropped to 0.05 across the country. Currently, most European countries have a 0.05 limit, but the U.S. has lagged behind. 0.05 is equal to approximately two alcohol beverages per hour for an average-sized adult, though variations in height, weight, and body chemistry can cause metabolism of alcohol to fluctuate widely.

Kansas Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Available for Free Consultations

If you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you may have legal recourse for damages, such as compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Michael R. Lawless, P.A. is a premier personal injury boutique located in Lenexa, Kansas that has served clients injured in car accidents throughout the state of Kansas for the past 27 years. To schedule a free consultation with Michael R. Lawless, P.A., contact us at (913) 681-5566 or (800) 734-3771.

Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Answers Your Questions on the Takata Airbag Recall

U.S. safety regulators are urging owners of vehicles involved in the Takata air bag recall to have their vehicles repaired.  Many have put off getting their cars fixed due to this series of recalls dating back to 2008.  The airbag recall now spans at least 7.8 million vehicles by 10 different automakers.  The threat posed by these defective airbags is great—they have been known to explode and spew deadly metal debris if they inflate in a crash.  Much confusion currently surrounds the recall, however, as it has just recently been drastically expanded.  The following are answers to some crucial questions surrounding the recalls:

Q:  How do I know if my car is among those recalled?

Most recalled vehicle owners will receive a notice in the mail.  If you have not received such a notice, or lost the notice, you can either visit the government’s website at safecar.gov or go to the maker of your automobile’s website.  Both these sites should allow you to enter your vehicle’s identification or VIN number to determine its recall status.  The government database site has experienced some technical difficulties in the wake of the recall, so at this time the automaker may be your best bet.

Q:  If my car is one of the recalled models, what should I do?

You should immediately contact a dealer for your vehicle and schedule a repair appointment.  Particularly if you live in an area of higher temperatures or humidity, you could be at serious risk.  Some automakers are currently experiencing long wait times due to part shortages.  Some individual makers are recommending you now allow passengers to sit in the front seat until the repair has been made.

Q:  How soon will my car be fixed?

It will depend upon your automaker.  Some automakers have plenty of the necessary replacement part, the airbag inflator, in stock.  For others, there will be a wait.  The government is pushing automakers to make quicker repairs and offer loaner vehicles to those who have to wait.

Q:  What will happen in the meantime?

This will also depend upon your automaker.  Some automakers, like Toyota, have disabled the passenger airbags and applied a warning sticker that no one should ride in the front passenger seat until the replacement has been installed.  BMW, on the other hand, is simply suggesting drivers not allow passengers to occupy the seat but has not taken more extreme measures to disable the device, which it believes has a low chance of abnormal deployment.

Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

The recent airbag recall has millions of drivers concerned about the possibility of injury or death due to their faulty vehicle.  Details are still emerging and all car owners are urged to take proactive measures to determine whether their vehicle is impacted by the recall.  If your vehicle may be defective and an accident has results, the Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help.  For over 27 years, Michael Lawless has assisted car accident victims injured across the state.    Michael Lawless is an experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated personal injury attorney who will strive to obtain the recovery you deserve.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

 

Kansas Automobile Accident Lawyer Discusses Seat Belt Failure

You have probably been instructed thousands of times over your lifetime to put on your seat belt, and if you are now the parent of young children, you probably utter that same phrase several times a day.  We take seat belt safety so importantly because we know that this device saves lives in the event of an accident.  Sadly, however, for thousands of drivers a year, defective seat belts lead to catastrophic injuries.  When your seat belt, your last line of defense, fails, you could become seriously or even life threateningly injured.  Car accident victims that lack the protection of a seat belt could suffer head injuries, spinal cord damage, brain damage and internal injuries, or even death.

Most seat belt failures will be traced to faulty manufacturing or poor design.  During an accident, it is imperative that the driver and all passengers be contained within their seat to minimize any injuries produced by the extreme force involved in the accident.  Seat belts are designed so as to hold the occupant securely in his or her seat, allowing him or her to safely ride down the crash. Seat belts eliminate or at the very least minimize the driver and passenger’s contact with the windshield, dashboard, steering wheel, and roof.

Some defective seat belts have been known to allow complete ejection of the victim from the vehicle through the windshield.  This will often lead to catastrophic injuries or a painful death.  In other cases, a defective seat belt will allow the victim to crash into the dash or steering wheel, causing internal organ damage, spinal cord damage, head injuries, or broken bones.

Seat belt defects can stem from any of the following:

  • Latch problems;
  • Defective belt material or webbing;
  • Poor seat belt design or geometry;
  • Retractor failure;
  • Sensor failure.

The lap belt only design was one of the most dangerous seat belt designs.  The lap belt is known to cause catastrophic internal bleeding injuries.  Up until the 1980’s, it was not mandatory that shoulder belts be installed in rear seats.  Many manufacturers thus used lap belts, and these vehicles are still on the roads today.  The most common drivers of these older vehicles include teens, who are already at significant statistical risk of injury due to higher than average accident rates.  The lap belts harmfully isolate the impact of the crash to the victim’s mid-section, resulting in internal organ damage that can include lacerated spleen, lacerated liver, paraplegia, spinal cord fractures, quadriplegia, and death.

Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

Defective safety belts are among the most dangerous automobile defect issues that exist today.  Seat belt failure can result from a number of defects, each of which holds the potential to eliminate your last line of defense.  If your seat belt fails, you could experience brain injuries, head injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, or even death.  Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. is helping to increase car and seat belt safety, one case at a time.  If you have been injured due to a defective safety belt, we will provide you with the experienced, dedicated, and skilled representation you need to obtain the recovery you deserve.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

 

Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Reports: An Additional Three Million Vehicles May Have Defective Airbags

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urged that an additional three million vehicles may be in need of urgent repairs to prevent drivers and passengers from being injured or killed due to defective airbags.  This makes a total of 7.8 million vehicles that are part of a massive recalls of airbags manufactured by Takata.  At least four deaths are linked to the defective airbags.  These four individuals died when the inflator mechanisms within the defective Takata airbags ruptured, sending shooting metal fragments at the unsuspecting drivers and passengers.  Now, automobiles manufactured by Subaru and Mitsubishi have been added to the recall list.

The NHSTA has warned owners who live in warm states, including Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Puerto Rico, parts of Texas, Guam, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, Saipan, and Hawaii to aggressively act on the recall notice. This is in part because studies show that extended exposure to high temperatures and humidity may be a factor in the airbag problem.

All car owners are urged to check their manufacturer’s website for recall information, as so many makes and models are involved. Thus far, several hundred thousand vehicles manufactured by BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota are included in the recall.  Model years range from 2001 to 2008.  As more information unfolds, it is likely other vehicles may be added to the list.

Thus far, the airbag recall has been met with much scrutiny.  Several senators and lawmakers criticized the NHSTA for its handling of the recall, demanded a broader recall, and called for a further accounting of how recalls were handled.  Initially, a recall in June included faulty airbags located in just two states, Florida and Hawaii, and two territories, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  Honda then expanded the recall to include another 2.4 vehicles sold in other Southern states.

Humidity is believed to cause the faulty airbags to erupt, sending shrapnel into car occupants.  At least four deaths and more than 100 injuries are attributed to these rupturing airbags.  Senators expressed concern over the limited nature of the recall, as several other states are also home to much heat and humidity.  Their strong push was likely a major contributing factor in the NHSTA’s decision to expand the recall to include another 4.7 million vehicles nationwide.

Anyone with an affected vehicle should contact their automobile manufacturer as soon as possible.  There is currently a shortage of replacement parts and many owners of recalled vehicles are finding themselves lengthy periods of time.  Those on Capitol Hill are pushing for automakers to provide loaner cars to the car owners unable to receive an immediate repair.  Automakers have been reluctant thus far, but given the grave danger of the airbags all car owners should demand something so necessary.

Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

Millions of vehicles have been recalled thus far this year, leaving many drivers at risk of injury or death due to faulty cars.  If you have been involved in a car accident that may have been caused by a defective automobile, Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless of the Lenexa, Kansas law firm Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help.  For over 27 years, Michael Lawless has assisted car accident victims injured across the state.    Michael Lawless has the experience, dedication, and knowledge you need to obtain the recovery to which you are entitled.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Kansas Car Accident Lawyer Reports: Kansas Woman Killed by Fleeing Driver

A Kansas woman in her late 70s was killed on Tuesday, August 18 by a driver fleeing a Kansas City, Kansas police car.  Police report that an officer attempted to stop a stolen Cadillac at about 4 p.m. on Central Avenue.  The driver fled.  Reports indicate that the officer did not go after the fleeing suspect.  Moments later, police were called to the scene of a crash involving that same stolen Cadillac and a Toyota Camry.

The driver of the Cadillac again fled, this time fleeing the scene of a serious accident.  The driver of the Camry had been ejected from the car.  She was rushed to the hospital but died a short time after.  The 79 year old victim was a former librarian and loved deeply by her family as well as those who knew her.

The family of the victim reports that they have heard conflicting stories surrounding the crash.  Apparently, Kansas City police officers have reported there was never a chase.  Other officials, however, have stated there was a chase but it stops minutes before the accident.

The driver of the stolen vehicle went to the hospital seeking medical assistance several hours after the crash.  There, he was apprehended and taken into custody.  Prosecutors have announced that he has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

While it is not a clear an actual police chase occurred in this instance, nationally police chases have lead to the deaths of many innocent individuals.  A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that in a nine year period, over 3,000 individuals were killed in police crashes.  One third of the victims were not the suspect being pursued.  This means that over 1,000 innocent drivers and passengers were killed during police pursuits.

The cause of these tragic deaths is due to the high speeds often involved in any sort of police chase and the erratic nature of the driving.  Fleeing suspects will generally travel at very high rates of speed in order to avoid their capture.  They often make quick turns or enter highway ramps in an erratic manner in an attempt to lose the pursing officers. Studies also show that most police chases occur at night and suspects will most often take to busy roads in an attempt to conceal themselves among other drivers.

If you have been involved in any sort of police chase or fleeing suspect crash, contact a licensed automobile accident attorney as soon as possible.  The negligent suspect could be held accountable for his or her reckless actions that lead to your injuries.  Additionally, if the police officers involved acted in a negligent manner to contribute to the accident, you may have an additional avenue of recovery.

Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

The Lenexa, Kansas Car Accident Lawyer at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. are saddened to hear of the death of one of Kansas’ own due to the negligent driving of another.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car accident, our experienced attorney and support staff can help.  For over 27 years, we have zealously represented the victims of all manner of car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, workplace, and slip and fall accidents.  Our attorney has the skill and knowledge to obtain the results you desire.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney Explains How Older, Unsafe Drivers are a Growing Problem

As our population continues to age, elderly drivers are becoming an ever increasing hazard to users of the roadways in Kansas and nationwide.  Studies show that after the age of 65, the fatality rates for drivers begin to climb.  From ages 75 to 84, the fatality rate among senior citizen drivers is actually the equivalent of that of teen drivers, a notoriously dangerous driving group.  When drivers reach the age of 85 and older, the fatality rate shoots up to four times that among teen drivers.

These statistics highlight an alarming problem that is only expected to get worse. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that there will be 9.6 million people over the age of 85 by 2030.  Road safety experts project that by that year, elderly drivers will be responsible for 25% of all fatal crashes. This is a considerable increase from the current statistics that estimate seniors cause just 11% of all fatal crashes.

States across the country have taken note of the problem and are struggling to address it before the true boom of elderly drivers occurs. Several states have passed measures that require older citizens take more frequent vision and behind the wheel tests.  Kansas does not currently have any restrictions on the elderly. However, family members, law enforcement officers, and doctors can request that elders be re-tested if they pose a hazard to themselves or other drivers.

Thus far, research has demonstrated that the rate of senior crashes does diminish when seniors are forced to appear in person to renew their license and complete a road test.  Only two states, however, currently impose these restrictions.

Safety researchers are especially concerned with drivers over the age of 85, who are currently involved in three fatal crashes a day.  Over the years, much focus has been cast on teen drivers and ways to increase their safety.  This elderly population is actually far more dangerous than teens, yet little is being done to address the problem.

Normal aging is thought to contribute to the inability of some older Americans to drive safely.  Reflexes, memory, visual acuity, flexibility, and the ability to focus all decline with old age.  Further, many of the medications prescribed to seniors to treat a variety of ailments can make it more difficult to focus.

Studies show that elderly drivers are less likely to be involved in accidents involving alcohol or high speeds than other drivers.  They are more likely, however, to be involved in accidents at intersections, often when they miss a stop sign or turn left into oncoming traffic.  Side impact crashes have thus become known as old person’s crashes, in the same manner that rollover accidents are generally thought of as young person’s crashes.

Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

The Lenexa, Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. are concerned by recent statistics showing the dangers of senior citizen drivers on the road who do not have the eye sight, perception, or reflexes required to safely operate an automobile.   We support measures that would increase the safety of older drivers and other road users by ensuring elderly drivers are still safe on the road.  We will continue to fight for the recovery of accident victims injured in crashes caused by negligence as we have done for over 27 years.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Kansas City Streets Become Increasingly Dangerous for Pedestrians

Tim Current learned firsthand the perils that exist for pedestrians on Kansas City roadways.  Current has been struck by a car while jogging not once, but twice.  He managed to walk away from both accidents with only minor injuries, but he is now understandably nervous when he takes to the road on foot.  Current, an avid jogger who logs over 60 miles a month, does not feel safe anymore.  He believes the danger stems from people not paying attention while driving.  He sees drivers texting, talking on the phone, and chatting to other people in the car, all while they hurry to reach their destination.

The number of pedestrian accidents in the Kansas City region has climbed over seven percent from 2008 to 2012.  Kansas City is not alone in this increase.  Nationally, pedestrian accidents, including injuries and fatalities, have increased ten percent in the past few years.  This rise in the number of pedestrian accidents has troubled many safety experts, as it comes at a time when fatal accidents, including drunk driving, distracted driving, and aggressive driving accidents, are down.

David Goldberg of Smart Growth America, a group against sprawl, offers one possible explanation for the disturbing trend.  According to Goldberg, the increase in pedestrian accidents is the result of how we have developed, building wider roads designed to move more traffic, while placing pedestrian safety to the side.  A recent study conducted by Smart Growth America ranked Kansas City the 21st most dangerous place for walking.

Some cities in Kansas are already working to narrow their roads and widen sidewalks.  They are also attempting to enforce crosswalk zones and add signage to enhance safety.  Prairie Village is even considering placing decoy pedestrians to catch drivers who ignore cross streets.

A study conducted by Mid-America Regional Council found that pedestrian accidents are most likely to occur in urban areas, concentrated around downtowns.  The downtown highway look along Independence Avenue and areas from Midtown to the Country Club Plaza were home to the most pedestrian accidents.

Other researchers have discovered another alarming factor in pedestrian accidents: pedestrians are not always paying attention to their surroundings.  Like distracted driving, distracted walking comes with some risks.  Pedestrians who are texting, talking on the phone, listening to music, or otherwise not watching what is occurring around them, could accidently walk in the street, cross outside the crosswalk, or fail to see an oncoming vehicle.  Several recent Kansas City accidents have occurred after distracted pedestrians darted out in front of cars, leaving them no room to stop.

Those injured in a pedestrian accident caused by the negligence of another will have the right to recover for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more in a personal injury action.

Contact Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, the Lenexa, Kansas Personal Injury Attorneys at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. can help.  Our personal injury attorneys have represented clients in a wide range of accidents for over 27 years.  We will carefully examine the circumstances surrounding your pedestrian accident and determine whether negligence played a role in the accident.  We will then guide you towards a full recovery.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

 

Kansas GM Recall Attorneys Report: Massive GM Recalls Widens

Earlier this year, GM recalled over 2.6 million older, small vehicles due to faulty ignition switches.  The defective ignition switches can slip out of the “run” position, shutting off the engine and disabling the power steering and brakes.  This can cause drivers to lose control of the car.  It will also disable air bags so that they will not inflate in a crash.  The faulty switch is linked to at least 54 crashes and more than 13 deaths.

Months later, the ignition switch recall widened to include another 3.4 million vehicles.  Those included in this recall were older, larger model cars.  GM revealed that the switches used in these larger vehicles, which are in fact different from the ones involved in the small vehicle recall, can be knocked out of the “run” position by the force of a large bump.  A heavy or swinging keychain can also trigger this dangerous switch in the ignition.  This ignition switch is linked to at least eight crashes and six injuries.

The following vehicles are involved in the recall:

  • Chevrolet Cobalt, 2005-2007
  • Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2007
  • Pontiac G5, 2005-2007
  • Pontiac Solstice, 2006-2007
  • Saturn Ion, 2003-2007
  • Saturn Sky, 2007
  • Buick Lacrosse, 2005-2009
  • Chevrolet Impala, 2006-2014
  • Cadillac DTS, 2004-2011
  • Cadillac Deville, 2000-2005
  • Buick Regal GS & LS, 2004-2005
  • Buick Lucerne, 2006-2011
  • Chevy Monte Carlo, 2006-2008

The number of lawsuits filed against GM continues to increase, as the ignition switch has been linked to more and more accidents.  A series of investigations are underway and significant evidence as to GM’s longstanding knowledge of the problem has been revealed.  It appears that GM knew the ignition switch was faulty in 2001, but failed to issue a recall or otherwise alert vehicle owners to the problem.  In 2005, GM engineers developed a partial fix to the problem that would have cost a mere $1 per vehicle.  GM, however, elected not to make the repair.

GM is working to replace the ignition switch in some defective vehicles and the key for others.  It is attempting to devise a plan to compensate automobile accident victims who were injured as a result of the defective ignition switch, however details of the plan have not been released.  GM’s 2009 bankruptcy may become a factor in the proposed settlement, as GM could attempt to dodge liability for accidents occurring prior to this time.

This year alone, GM has recalled an astonishing 20 million vehicles in 44 different recalls.  GM has been fined over $35 million by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for concealing the ignition switch problems.  The company estimates its recall related costs to exceed $2 billion this year.  The cost of each replacement switch for the small recalled vehicles is .57 cents.

Contact Kansas City Defective Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

The Lenexa, Kansas GM Recall Attorneys at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. urge anyone who has been injured in a crash that may have involved a faulty ignition system to contact our firm immediately.   Our attorneys have over 27 years experience in the field of defective automobile accidents, and will examine your crash to determine if it was caused by a defective or recalled automobile part.  We will then guide you towards a full recovery.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential defective automobile case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

 

Understanding What Your Kansas Automobile Insurance Covers: Part II

Do you fully understand your car insurance policy?  Would you be covered in the event of an accident?  In Part I of our two part series, we began our look at some vital facts all drivers should be aware of concerning their car insurance.  In Part II, we continue our list with the hopes that after reading, you will re-examine your insurance policy to make sure it protects you and your family.

  1. Drivers you live with are not covered—this is an important caveat that many insurance holders are not aware of, and can come at significant costs.  If you loan your vehicle to a relative or friend and they are in an accident, your insurance will generally cover the collision just as it would if you were the driver.  However, if you loan that same vehicle to a relative or friend who resides in your household but is not included on the insurance policy, your insurance will not cover damages or injuries that arise in an accident involving that driver.  You must declare anyone living with you to the insurance company and either elect to add them to the policy or exclude them, and not allow them to drive the vehicle.  This policy exists to prevent safe drivers from essentially obtaining car insurance policies for risky drivers that they live with.  Accordingly, the insurance companies will only provide coverage for drivers listed on the policy and those that live outside the home and borrow the vehicle.
  2. Uninsured motorist coverage is extremely important—in the event you are in an accident with a motorist who lacks car insurance, uninsured motorist coverage will prove vital.  Many states require automobile insurance companies to offer you uninsured motorist coverage, but providers do not tell you how high-risk your state is.  Nationally, an alarming one in seven motorists lack car insurance.  In Kansas, 10% of all drivers lack insurance coverage.  Spare yourself the heartache of unpaid medical bills and property damage; call your insurer to make sure you have a sizable uninsured motorist policy in place.
  3. Your credit score will impact your rates—in Kansas, as in all states except Hawaii and California, your credit will be a major factor in determining your insurance rates.  Better credit equates to better rates.  Other variable factors include: gender, age, marital status, frequency of use of the vehicle, length of time driving, accident history, and safety features of the car, such as anti-lock brakes or airbags.
  4. Minimum liability varies greatly by state—states have the right to set their own minimum liability requirements, and these values can range drastically.  In Kansas, drivers must carry at least $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for total bodily injury, and $10,000 for property damage.  Drivers must also carry personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Know your states minimums and be sure to obtain at least the minimums within 15 days of establishing residency.
  5. You may need specialized coverage—if you have a specialized ride, such as a motorcycle, collector car, or mobile home, you will likely require a specialized insurance policy.  Motorcycle policies generally have their own minimums

 Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been involved in car accident, Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney with more than 27 years of experience helping his clients receive the compensation they deserve.  Car accidents can lead to serious injuries or even death.  Victims can require months of time away from work and medical treatment.  For the victims of car accidents, medical expenses will quickly mount and accident victims should act fast to preserve their legal rights.  To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential car accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

Understanding What Your Kansas Automobile Insurance Covers: Part I

Obtaining an automobile insurance policy is often overwhelming, confusing, and stressful.  There are so many carriers and countless options.  After obtaining quotes from several companies, most drivers will settle on coverage and faithfully make their payments, believing that in the event of an accident, they will be fully covered.  The shock comes after an accident occurs and automobile drivers uncover their property damage, damage to the other driver, or personal injuries are not covered by their insurance.  To avoid this potentially devastating experience, it is vital that every vehicle owner or driver understand what is covered by their automobile insurance—and what is not.  Following an accident, no driver wants to be left wondering who will cover their medical bills, how their car will get fixed, and what to do if the other driver does not have insurance.  Gaining a full understanding now as to what your coverage will avoid much confusion in the event you are in an accident.

Car insurance is complex and varies significantly from state to state, as well as policy to policy.  “Full coverage” means different things to different people and insurance companies.  Most companies offer dozens of polices that may not always match an individual’s definition of full coverage.  According to a study conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, over half of all Americans do not know basic facts about car insurance and less than half feel confident making decisions about it.

The following is a list of the first two things you should know about how well your car is covered in the event of an accident.  Our list will continue in Part II of Understanding What Your Kansas Automobile Insurance Covers.

  1. Your rental car is covered…sort of—two out of every five automobile drivers express confusion over the purchase of rental car insurance.  According to the founder of Esurance, John-Bernard Duler, if you rent a vehicle, then get into an accident, the damage to the rental car should be covered by your regular automobile insurance.  However, expect to incur additional charges.  The rental company may charge you for the loss of the use of their vehicle which is not covered by insurance.  Further, your insurance might not pay the full value of the damaged rental vehicle.  Most policies will only provide compensation for either the actual value or the cost to repair, whichever is less.
  2. Car insurance covers the car, not its contents—thousands of automobile thefts occur each day across the U.S.  Comprehensive automobile insurance will compensate you if your car is stolen, but will not generally cover its stolen contents.  If the property taken is of specific use to the car, like a CD player, it might be covered.  If, however, a personal item, such as a laptop, was taken, this will not ordinarily be covered.

Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been involved in car accident, Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney with more than 27 years of experience helping his clients receive the compensation they deserve.  Car accidents can lead to serious injuries or even death.  Victims can require months of time away from work and medical treatment.  For the victims of car accidents, medical expenses will quickly mount and accident victims should act fast to preserve their legal rights. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential car accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771.  You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.