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12 Signs of Nursing Home Negligence

Published on Jan 12, 2017 at 9:00 am in General.
12 Signs of Nursing Home Negligence

When we place an elderly loved one in a nursing home or long term care facility, we can’t be expected to be there 100% of the time. This makes it difficult to find out how they are being treated and taken care of. Unfortunately, nursing home negligence and abuse both occur more often than we’d like to admit. Our loved ones aren’t guaranteed to be safe in these institutions.

It’s a fact that Kentucky nursing homes are generally understaffed. Understaffing can lead to staff member negligence on multiple levels when residents are not given the time they require. Failing to keep an eye on a wandering resident or not properly caring for bed sores, for example, can cause life-threatening injuries. In rare cases, employees may wrongfully handle or be abusive to residents thinking they will not get caught.

When Can I File a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claim?

Published on Jan 9, 2017 at 11:26 am in General.
When Can I File a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death lawsuits can enable a grieving family to recover from a tragic loss that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. They can provide financial assistance to cover the deceased’s final medical bills, lost wages, companion/suffering costs, and more. In the case of a wrongful death claim filed on behalf of someone who was a resident at a nursing home, that compensation can go towards the same things, but the rules somewhat change.

In a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit, the claim is generally aimed toward the nursing home itself or a specific staff member that contributed to a loved one’s passing or allowed it to happen. Wrongful death claims aren’t criminal claims, but are instead civil. They require one or more of four circumstances to occur: negligence, carelessness, reckless behavior, or another type of wrongful behavior.

4 Things You May Not Know About Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Published on Dec 8, 2016 at 8:00 am in General.
4 Things You May Not Know About Wrongful Death Lawsuits

When a family loses a loved one due to a tragic accident that was caused by another’s negligence or recklessness, that family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the guilty party. At the Law Office of Todd W. Burris, we see a great deal of misinformation regarding wrongful death cases, how they work, and in what conditions they can be filed.

We’d like to put an end to some of that misinformation if possible. Here are 4 things you may not know about wrongful death lawsuits:

  1. Wrongful death cases are about negligence—not about breaking the law.

When someone breaks the law and a loved one dies, that’s when a criminal investigation generally begins. If no laws are broken and a loved one dies due to the negligent, careless, or reckless acts of another human being, that’s not a criminal matter necessarily, but it is one that can be considered a wrongful death.

5 Motorcycle Safety Tips That Can Save Your Life

Published on Nov 3, 2016 at 11:00 am in General.
5 Motorcycle Safety Tips That Can Save Your Life

Kentucky motorcyclists enjoy an immense amount of freedom on our state’s open highways and streets, but they do so with an understanding of the fact that riding a motorcycle alongside larger, heavier vehicles comes with a risk. Whenever a collision happens between a passenger car or truck and a motorcycle, the motorcyclist will generally always experience a more devastating impact. Motorcycle accidents can cause serious injuries or even death.

Keeping this risk in mind, it’s important for motorcyclists to always prioritize safety. By doing so, they have a greater chance of avoiding an accident and can protect themselves better if an accident should happen. Here are 5 motorcycle tips that can save your life:

  1. Drive Defensively

This tip often gets mentioned, but what does it mean, exactly? For motorcyclists, it means that you should stay visible to other drivers as often as possible. Essentially, always assume that the driver next to you isn’t going to check their blind spot for you. By thinking this way, you’ll naturally get into the habit of driving forward and avoiding potentially troublesome blind spots. It also doesn’t hurt to make eye contact whenever you can with drivers around you before making turns or lane changes.

Additionally, get into the habit of driving in lanes that give you an easy “out” if a larger vehicle suddenly swerves in your direction. If there are cars in the right-hand lane, for example, stay in the left-hand lane. This is also sometimes referred to as a “blocking position.” If you’re on a 3-lane highway, stay near one of the edges. Finally, avoid driving between cars to pass them whenever possible.

  1. Wear Protective Gear

Helmets are not universally required in the state of Kentucky, but choosing to wear one can save your life. A traumatic brain injury can cause serious, lifelong complications. Your brain is extremely sensitive. Don’t task an unneeded risk!

Likewise, other protective gear such as gloves, protective clothing and shoes, and eye protection can lessen the damage any type of accident causes. Protective clothing also, of course, protects riders from harsh weather conditions that may crop up at any time.

  1. Prepare for Any Weather Conditions

Speaking of protective gear, don’t ever leave home without the basics. If your motorcycle has an area for stowing gear, keep extra gloves, eye gear, and an extra jacket on-hand if possible. You never know when a sudden windstorm may hit.

If the weather ever gets too rough while you’re on the road, don’t hesitate to take a detour and find a cozy restaurant or hotel to settle down in while the storm passes. You never want to take chances in harsh weather conditions—especially during nighttime hours.

  1. Don’t Ride a Motorcycle You’re Not Familiar With

While it’s always tempting to take your friend’s new ride out for a spin, remember that it can be difficult to control a motorcycle you’re not familiar with if you happen to spin out of control or slip on a wet road. Every bike is different and takes some practice to master. Respect that fact and stick to your own ride whenever possible.

  1. Check Your Motorcycle

Before you go out for a ride, make sure to check that your motorcycle has fuel, brakes properly, and is in working order. Get into the habit of doing a quick check to ensure everything—from your turn signals to your headlights—is working properly. If anything seems sluggish or doesn’t work right, don’t take an unnecessary risk.

By remembering to follow these quick tips, you can keep yourself safe on Kentucky roads while ensuing everyone around you knows you’re there and keeps an eye out for your motorcycle. The first step to accident prevention is always awareness. Prevention saves lives.

If you’ve been an unfortunate victim of a motorcycle accident, don’t hesitate to give the Law Office of Todd W. Burris a call. Todd W. Burris, Lexington, KY motorcycle accident lawyer, can help you get the compensation you need and deserve to get back on the road again.

Kentucky Dog Bite Law

Published on Sep 1, 2016 at 9:00 am in General.
Kentucky Dog Bite Law

If you’ve been bitten or seriously injured by someone else’s dog, it may be in your best interest to file a lawsuit against the owner. Doing so will make it easier to pay for the treatment and recovery costs of your injuries as well as ensure that the dog owner learns to be responsible for their pet. In order to file a lawsuit, you’ll need to know how dog bite laws are handled within your state. Every state handles these cases quite differently.

In the state of Kentucky, dog bite lawsuits are considered “strict liability” cases. What this means is that a dog owner is 100% liable for any damage their dog causes to “a person, livestock, or other property,” even if that dog has never been aggressive in the past. If the owner tried to prevent the attack and/or used reasonable methods to control the dog but the attack still occurred, that owner is still fully liable. In other words, there is no need to prove that any negligence occurred.

This counts for more than just dog bite injuries, too. If a property owner’s dog, for example, jumps on you and knocks you over, causing injury, it’s possible to file a lawsuit against the owner. In this instance, the injuries were directly caused by the dog’s actions. Under Kentucky dog bite law, there is no difference between a case of this nature and a dog bite case.

Some state laws allow property owners to claim certain defenses during a dog bite lawsuit, stating that the victim, for example, provoked the dog or was trespassing on private property when the attack happened. In Kentucky, these defenses cannot be claimed. Even if the victim provoked the dog or was trespassing, the lawsuit will still stand. Either of these facts, however, may severely impact the damages amount the victim may be able to claim.

Kentucky Dog Bite Law for Property Owners

If you’re reading this article as the owner of a dog that harmed someone else, you can potentially reduce the damage costs you may have to pay by revealing every detail about the incident. Did the victim provoke the dog in any way? Did they walk unnecessarily close to your front yard? Make all this information known, showing evidence if at all possible, and the court may state that the victim was partially at fault for their injuries and reduce the amount of damages owed.

When a Kentucky court decides that a victim was partially at fault for an attack, the damages amount will be lowered by a set percentage based on the portion of liability they are responsible for. If, for example, the judge decides that the victim shouted at your dog and provoked the animal into attacking, the judge may decide that the victim was 50% at fault. This would lower the amount due to the victim by 50%. This amount will be decided on based upon the specifics of the case and any evidence.

Get Help from a Lexington, KY Personal Injury Lawyer

If any of this sounds complicated, don’t worry. Dog bite cases can definitely be complicated, but with the right attorney on your side, you can ensure that, as a victim of a dog attack, you get the help you need to recover. A skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorney will do everything they can to fight for your rights and gather the evidence you need to secure your lawsuit.

Todd W. Burris, Lexington, KY bodily injury claim lawyer, is ready to assist you if you’ve been injured by a dog on someone else’s property. Under Kentucky law, you will generally have a period of one year from the time of a dog bite injury to file a lawsuit against the guilty party. This period is referred to as a statute of limitations. Contact our office to learn more or receive a free consultation.

How Do Kentucky Statutes of Limitations Work After an Accident?

Published on Jul 28, 2016 at 6:00 am in General.
How Do Kentucky Statutes of Limitations Work After an Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a serious car or truck accident in the Lexington, Kentucky area, you likely have a dozen questions running through your mind regarding what you should do and what, if any, legal actions you should take. Making the decision to hire a Lexington, KY personal injury lawyer may not be an easy one, but if you feel the other driver’s insurance adjusters are asking you to settle unfairly or the case seems overwhelmingly complicated, it’s in your best interest to find out your legal options.

When making a decision to file a claim, you should be aware that time does matter. Every state has a separate set of deadlines, or statutes of limitations, that are in place when it comes to filing civil cases such as all types of personal injury and car accident lawsuits. You must file a lawsuit within this time frame for the court to accept it.

In the state of Kentucky, most personal injury lawsuits have a one-year statute of limitations governed by KRS 413.140. However, the statute of limitations for injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident is generally two years from the date of the accident or two years from the date the last basic reparation benefits (also known as personal injury protection coverage or “PIP”) were issued by an insurer to the injured party under KRS 304.39-230.

You must be careful, however, because a wrongful death action arising out of a motor vehicle accident can have as little as a one-year statute of limitations under KRS 413.140)1)(a) and KRS 413.180. Personal injury cases such as slip and fall accidents, dog bites, and nursing home neglect generally fall under the one-year statute. A medical malpractice claim also falls under a one-year statute of limitations, but the statute may not begin to run until the injury is actually discovered.

Additionally, for accidents which involve property such as claims that attempt to award compensation for damage to a vehicle, for example, Kentucky residents have two years to file a lawsuit before the statute is considered expired under KRS 413.125.

The exact time for the statute of limitations can be fact specific in many cases so it is very important to talk to an attorney as quickly as possible after an accident because if you do not file your claim before the statute of limitations expires, then your claim is permanently barred. The best way to know for sure how long you have to file a claim is to speak to an experienced Kentucky attorney. The Kentucky court system is rather strict about statutes of limitations and will not make any special considerations in most cases.

The Effects of Kentucky Statutes of Limitations

Most personal injury lawsuits take a considerable amount of time to reach settlement. Depending on your case, the available evidence, and any opposing claims that are opened, you may want to file your claim well before the statute of limitations approaches. In most cases, it’s highly recommended that you file your case as quickly as possible after the accident, in fact. This gives your attorney time to locate timely evidence on the road, etc., that may become erased over time. Timely evidence is often crucial.

Filing a case within a short amount of time also gives you and your lawyer a chance to contact any witnesses who may be willing to testify on your behalf. When you wait too long after the accident, it can be easy for witnesses to forget about the accident or its details. Minor details can easily make or break a case, especially during testimony.

Finally, and often most importantly, when you reach out to a personal injury lawyer like Todd W. Burris during the aftermath following a life-changing accident, you gain peace of mind. During the time that an experienced Kentucky car accident lawyer is working on your case, you can rest easy knowing that insurance adjusters will no longer hound you or expect you to settle right away. You have the knowledge that someone is out there fighting on your behalf, giving you the time you need to recover.

For more information or a zero-obligation case consultation that’s 100% free, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Lexington office today. Todd W. Burris is here for you.

Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident: What to Know

Published on Jul 15, 2016 at 9:00 am in General.

Thousands of people every year are injured in accidents caused by slipping, stumbling, or tripping and consequently falling as a result. In the legal world, these types of accidents are consolidated into one category and typically referred to as “slip and fall” accidents. Injuries resulting from slip and fall accidents can vary significantly, as one would expect, and can range from minor to extremely serious in nature.

If you were seriously injured in a slip and fall accident that took place on property that wasn’t your own, you might be wondering if there’s any legal recourse you can take. You absolutely have options and should speak to a Lexington, KY slip and fall accident lawyer as soon as you’re able to do so. Here’s what you need to know about your options first:

Slip and Fall Accidents Can Be Difficult to Prove

The first thing you’ll need to ask yourself is if your injuries were severe enough to potentially sue over. The second thing you’ll need to ask yourself is whether the property owner where the accident occurred was responsible for the accident. Could they have prevented the accident in any way? If so, they may be legally responsible.

There’s a fine line in Kentucky courtrooms regarding slip and fall responsibility, however. If a leaking roof, for example, caused a slippery condition that allowed you to slip, the property owner may not be responsible if they had a drainage grate in place. In this particular case, the owner is seen as trying to prevent any accidents. If there was no drainage grate, on the other hand, they may be held responsible.

The Word “Reasonable” Becomes Important

When filing a slip and fall accident lawsuit, you’ll notice that these cases aren’t necessarily cut and dry. The word “reasonable” comes up a lot due to the complicated nature of these lawsuits. In the example noted above, the property owner took reasonable preventive measures by installing a grate instead of fixing the roof immediately. Property owners can’t be expected to fix major issues like leaking roofs right away. Some sort of time-based limitations and leniencies have to be in place.

Other reasonable preventive measures tend to include things like posted warning signs, caution tape, areas that are properly closed off/blocked, and other types of temporary fixes. In the end, it’s up to the court and jury to decide what’s reasonable to expect of property owners and what isn’t.

The Property Owner Isn’t the Only Person Responsible for Your Fall

The court and jury will also look at every other aspect of your accident when determining who was really responsible. They’ll ask whether you had a legitimate reason for being on the property. They’ll ask if you had a reasonable amount of time and/or warning to avoid the accident entirely. If there were signs posted, were they clearly able to be seen? Was there adequate lighting, etc.?

They’ll also ask if it was possible that you were otherwise distracted. If, for example, you were talking on your cell phone or texting while walking when the accident happened, the court may deem the property owner only partially responsible. In this case, you may receive a reduced award amount or your case may be dropped entirely.

As you can see, slip and fall accidents can be immensely complicated. The court will ask many tough-to-answer questions. This is why having a knowledgeable attorney on your side is vital. Depending on your injuries, you may benefit most by seeking the aid of a Lexington, KY broken bone lawyer if you sustained multiple broken bones. All types of personal injury lawyers will be able to tell you if filing a slip and fall lawsuit is in your best interest, however.

Lexington, KY personal injury lawyer Todd W. Burris is experienced in winning complicated cases like slip and fall accident lawsuits and will be able to help get you the financial compensation you need to recover. Contact our offices for more information or a 100% free consultation.

What is a Serious Injury as Defined by Kentucky Law?

Published on Mar 16, 2016 at 8:40 am in Car Accident, General.

During a personal injury case such as an automobile accident lawsuit, one of the questions you may be asked is how severe your injuries are/were and if they can be legally defined as “serious”. A doctor’s definition of a serious injury is not always the same definition followed by the U.S. court system. Therefore, it becomes essential to know exactly what constitutes as a serious injury according to the law.

Which injuries get defined as “serious” varies slightly from state to state. This is due to the fact that insurance laws differ in most states. In the state of Kentucky, a serious injury is defined as a physical injury which “creates a substantial risk of death or which causes seriously and prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health, or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ”.

What Type of Doctor Should I See After a Car Accident?

Published on Jan 21, 2016 at 10:51 am in General.

Being involved in any type of accident that may potentially cause injury is stressful, chaotic, and can be downright frightening for even the strongest of human beings. Among all types of accidents, car accidents can be the most terrifying. After an accident occurs, a dozen questions will run through the minds of those involved: “What happened?” “Am I okay?” “Is everyone else okay?” “How will I pay for this?” “Was I at fault?”

All of these questions are important, of course, but your priority after any type of automobile accident should always be to ensure that you and any loved ones are safe and receive medical aid if necessary. But what happens if you aren’t sure what type of medical care is necessary? What type of doctors are best to visit after a car accident? How do you know what your insurance claim will cover and what it won’t? Knowing the answers to these questions can clear up some of the distress and anxiety felt immediately following an accident.

If serious medical aid is deemed necessary, our first instinct is to usually call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. This is the correct course of action. Accident injuries need to be treated as quickly as possible, especially if they’re serious. Lives may be at stake. All emergency room hospitals also bill insurance providers in agreeance with personal injury protection (PIP) policies. This means that you’ll have no complications later on when it comes time to figuring out how to settle the bill with your auto insurance provider. It also means that there will likely be no legal ramifications as long as you go to the emergency room immediately following the accident.

Do I Need Uninsured and Underinsured Auto Insurance?

Published on Nov 16, 2015 at 11:12 am in General.
Do I Need Uninsured and Underinsured Auto Insurance?

It is estimated that 1 in 8 drivers are UNinsured in the United States–and that doesn’t even count UNDERinsured drivers. Everyone is required to carry insurance coverage in order to register their vehicle with the state, but unfortunately, many drivers let their policies lapse or only carry the bare minimum. What happens if one of those drivers hits you? It would be too late to ask, “Do I need uninsured and underinsured auto insurance?” but you can certainly weigh the risks and reduce your vulnerability now.

Risk Assessment

If you’re hit by a driver with minimum coverage ($25,000 in Kentucky) and your injuries cost more than $25,000, you’d need an underinsured insurance policy on your own auto insurance plan to kick in once the liable party’s limit is met.  Then your underinsured insurance would pay your remaining bills, lost wages, future medical, etc.  This is a really big deal. Imagine having a horrible accident in which your car is totaled and you break a bone and need surgery, rehab, physical therapy, time off work, and pharmacy purchases. $25,000 could be exhausted after the ambulance service and a thorough hospital workup of CT scans, X-rays, and an MRI, let alone the surgery and after-care. Many of those items would be out-of-pocket expenses unless you carry an underinsured auto insurance policy to help with the balance.

The same goes for uninsured auto insurance coverage: If you get hit by someone with no auto insurance at all–especially someone with no personal assets to pursue in litigation–then you’d use your uninsured insurance coverage to pay your bills.

Uninsured Driver Stat1

There are two types of uninsured and underinsured auto coverage to consider:

  1. Uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI):

This can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and injury-related expenses for you or any drivers or passengers your allow in your vehicle. It can also cover you for hit-and-run accidents.

  1. Uninsured and underinsured property damage coverage (UMPD):

This can cover your car’s damage but doesn’t protect against hit-and-run collision damage.

Adding uninsured and underinsured auto insurance coverage to your auto policy usually costs less than 10% of your current rate. It’s completely doable and could save you and your family from being hung out to dry. Check your policy today and add uninsured underinsured coverage if it’s not already there.

The Law Office of Todd W. Burris can answer your questions today at 859-252-2222.

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