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 Accident Attorney Explains Whether a Driver’s Medical Condition Can Lead to Negligent Driving

Epilepsy and heart attacks are just a few of the serious medical conditions that can cause a driver to suddenly lose control of his or her car and crash – sometimes into another vehicle, causing additional injuries and damage. These events can leave victims with serious injuries, just as any other vehicle crash caused by negligence or recklessness. However, an injury victim may have additional difficulties in recovering full and fair compensation – doing so may require the assistance of a resourceful and thorough car crash lawyer.

Negligence May – or May Not – Include Driving with a Medical Condition

Liability for the injuries and losses of another after a car accident requires proof that the at-fault driver acted (at the very least) with carelessness or negligence. This means, for example, that the at-fault driver needs to have made a decision that a reasonable individual would not have made under the same or similar circumstances before he or she can be held responsible for the injuries that may result from a car crash. It is not always the case, however, that driving with a medical condition (or while taking prescription medication) is a careless act. Factors that will need to be examined by a knowledgeable car crash attorney include:

  • Whether the at-fault driver has been diagnosed with a condition that makes it dangerous for him or her to drive: A driver who has no reason to know that he or she suffers from an epileptic condition or is susceptible to fainting (for example) would have no reason to think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car. Conversely, a driver who has suffered a number of seizures or who has fainted before would have more reason to be cautious about getting behind the wheel of a car.
  • What the driver’s doctor has suggested the person not drive: It is usually reasonable for an individual to rely on the advice and suggestions of his or her doctor. If the driver at fault in a particular accident has been told by his or her doctor that he or she should not drive (or should only drive under certain conditions), this would suggest the driver’s decision to get behind the wheel was unreasonable (and, hence, negligent).
  • How many times the driver has experienced medical distress while driving: Even in the absence of a diagnosis or instructions from his or her doctor, a driver who has fainted, experienced a seizure, suffered a heart attack, or experienced any other type of medical distress while driving – whether an accident resulted or not – should seriously consider whether it is safe for him or her to continue driving.

The presence of one or more of these factors may suggest that the driver’s decision to take to the road and drive was unreasonable and negligent, even if the driver did not expect or intend to suffer a medical emergency while driving.

When you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash where the at-fault driver suffered a medical emergency, contact Kansas Car Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless to determine what your next steps should be. Although it may be natural to feel compassion or sympathy for the at-fault driver given his or her medical conditions, the driver should be held to account for the harm he or she caused if he or she had reason to know driving could be dangerous. Call Michael R. Lawless at (800) 734-3771, and let us investigate the facts and circumstances of your case and take decisive action to protect your rights after a car crash.


Kansas Car Accident Attorney Describes New “Driverless” License

A former racecar driver who was paralyzed in an accident 16 years ago is making news on the roads once again. Earlier this week, Sam Schmidt became the first individual to receive a license allowing him to drive a specially-modified Chevrolet Corvette. Mr. Schmidt is paralyzed from the neck down as a result of a horrific accident, and although he has been able to sail a sailboat using only his chin he has not been able to drive a car since his accident. Due to advances in technology, however, Mr. Schmidt is now able to do just that. Mr. Schmidt’s story is providing hope to thousands of individuals whose disabilities and impairments had previously prevented them from driving a vehicle.

License to Drive Though Paralyzed

Because of his paralysis, Mr. Schmidt is not able to operate the accelerator, brake pedal, or steering wheel of a traditional automobile. With advances in technology, however, a specialized Corvette was created that would enable Mr. Schmidt to control the vehicle using only head movements. Nevada has allowed Mr. Schmidt to obtain a “driver’s” license that would enable him to operate the car on Nevada roadways, provided the following limitations are met:

  • Schmidt must drive with a licensed driver in the passenger seat who is capable of taking control of the car in an emergency (Mr. Schmidt’s Corvette has a steering wheel and pedals on the passenger’s side of the vehicle);
  • Schmidt is not permitted to drive on ice or snow;
  • Schmidt must drive on Nevada roadways (the license is not yet recognized as valid by other states);
  • Schmidt must follow a pilot car while driving (that is, there must be a second vehicle operated by a licensed driver who “leads” or “guides” Mr. Schmidt and his car);

Nevada has indicated that, in time, it will consider lifting some of these restrictions if it determines it is safe to do so.

Driving in Violation of Restrictions and Car Accident Lawsuits

Many individuals aside from Mr. Schmidt have one or more restrictions on their licenses. For example, many people must wear corrective lenses while driving because their ability to see things close up and/or see objects far away. Drivers who are young and/or inexperienced may be restricted to driving only when they are accompanied by a licensed driver, when they are driving to and from certain authorized locations, and/or during certain times of the day. Commercial drivers must meet certain requirements as well.

If a driver with a restricted license or a license with limitations imposed upon it is involved in a crash, does evidence that these restrictions or limitations were violated have any bearing? Potentially so, as many of these limitations are connected to a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. If these limitations were made known to the driver with the restricted license and the driver willfully chose to drive in violation of these restrictions, this may be considered an unreasonable course of conduct that breaches the duty of care. How much impact a violation of these restrictions will have depends on the cause of the accident and whether any other person is responsible for the crash.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, contact Kansas car accident lawyer Michael R. Lawless right away. Kansas Car Accident Attorney Mr. Lawless’s investigation into your case will reveal whether the at-fault driver violated any restrictions placed on his or her license. In any event, Mr. Lawless will fight vigorously to assist you in obtaining full and fair compensation. Contact Michael R. Lawless today by calling (800) 734-3771.