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Monticello Kentucky Personal Injury Blog

Do fewer investigations mean car defects are going unfixed?

Many Americans depend on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to be the "cop on the beat," as one safety advocate put it. They count on it to help ensure that car manufacturers take action to fix vehicle defects and to notify consumers about them.

However, the federal agency seems to have gotten less aggressive recently in pursuing investigations of reported problems. Last year, NHTSA opened just 13 investigations. That's a steep drop from 204 back in 1989. Further, it hasn't levied a civil penalty against a vehicle manufacturer since 2015. The significant drop in investigations actually started in 2016, when just 21 were initiated. In the decade prior to that, NHTSA averaged 61 new investigations each year.

How do you know if your insurer acted in bad faith?

You've paid your insurance premiums on time for years. Then when you finally needed to file a claim -- whether for a car crash, an overflowing bathtub that damaged your flooring or an emergency medical procedure -- the insurance company denied your claim. You believe that the denial was unfair, but how do you show in court that the insurance company was acting in "bad faith?"

Insurance companies are obligated to process, investigate and, if appropriate, pay claims within a reasonable period. If they don't pay a claim, their decision must be based on reasonable, objective considerations.

Kentucky high school sued over runner's heatstroke

We often hear about student football players suffering heat-related injuries and illnesses during their late summer practices. However, runners, although they don't have the heavy uniforms and padding, are also at risk of succumbing to the heat.

One young man, who had been on the cross country team at Louisville's Saint Xavier High School, is suing the Catholic school for negligence that he claims led to his heatstroke and subsequent hospitalization.

My insurance company is offering me a bad deal. What can I do?

The days after an accident are busy, stressful and expensive. You’re no doubt contending with frequent calls from insurance agencies, speaking to doctors, completing complex paperwork, all while possibly not being able to go to work to cover the costs. How can you focus on getting better when you can’t afford to get better in the first place?

Insurance should be helping you cover these costs. Insurance companies don’t always give you the compensation you need, though. A claims adjuster will most likely be happy to provide you with a check, but you can expect the offer to fit their bottom line, not yours. Pushing back against an unfair offer can be difficult, but it may be what you need to make a full recovery.

Study: Rest areas help prevent fatigue-related truck crashes

Those of us who regularly drive the interstates and parkways of Kentucky frequently see signs for truck stops, weigh stations and rest areas. We mostly ignore those unless we're looking for a place to let the dog out, use the restroom or perhaps have a picnic lunch. However, for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), they can be crucial to staying safe behind the wheel.

A recently published University of Kentucky study found that CMV crashes that were attributed to driver fatigue are most likely to occur in locations some distance from any type of rest area, including weigh stations. Researchers found a correlation between the distance of a spot to the nearest rest area and the number of fatigue-related crashes at that spot.

Can you take legal action for an injury suffered at the beach?

People often assume that when they are injured at the beach, they have no one to blame but themselves -- or at least that there's no one they can hold legally responsible if their injuries require medical treatment or they incur other financial losses as a result. That's not always the case.

Here in Kentucky and across the country, there are private beaches as well as state-run beaches. In fact, Kentucky has a number of beautiful beaches managed by Kentucky State Parks.

Study: People are turning off warning systems in their cars

Many newer model vehicles are equipped with all sorts of technology that helps drivers avoid crashes. Some advanced systems are able to take control of the vehicle to stop it or get it back on track to avoid a crash. Others give drivers warnings of potentially dangerous situations, and they have to act on those warnings themselves.

However, drivers can ignore those warnings or -- worse -- turn them off. A study last year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that approximately half of drivers who have lane departure warning systems in their vehicles turn them off. These systems alert drivers when their vehicle is moving out of its lane. Some systems have a buzzing or beeping alert. Others cause the seat to vibrate.

What constitutes 'bad faith' by an insurer?

Most of us pay a substantial amount of money every month for multiple types of insurance to help protect us financially in the event of everything from a health crisis to a car crash to a burst pipe in our home. We expect that in return for paying the designated premiums every month, insurance companies will live up to the terms of our contract with them when we need to file a claim.

That expectation is backed by law. Here in Kentucky, insurers have an obligation to resolve claims promptly and fairly as soon as liability is established. Insurance companies who don't do this are considered to be acting in "bad faith."

Congress considers bill that would allow more young truck drivers

There currently aren't enough truck drivers in this country to transport the goods we rely on every day. Late deliveries aren't just inconvenient for consumers. They can be costly for trucking companies and retailers. For example, Walmart fines companies for shipments that are late or incomplete. According to the Food Marketing Institute, grocery stores lose some $75 billion every year because of unsaleable and out-of-stock products that aren't delivered on time.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that the industry currently has 51,000 fewer drivers than are needed. That shortage is expected to climb to nearly 100,000 within the next three years.

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