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Richmond Legal Issues Blog

Vehicular fatalities in Kentucky

You and your friends and family in Kentucky have no doubt heard your share of reports detailing serious car accidents that result in the loss of human life. Despite better safety features and even accident prevention features built into new automobiles along with strict laws about things like drinking and driving, too many people continue to be killed in senseless wrecks that need not ever happen. Just how many people die every year in car accidents statewide?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 834 vehicular fatalities in Kentucky in 2016. That is more than in any of the previous four years including a jump from the 761 deaths the previous year. These deaths included drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and pedestrians alike. Factors such as drunk driving, excessive speed and the involvement of semi trucks or other large commercial vehicles were also noted.

Should you consider a plea bargain?

There is often a delicate balance between challenging any criminal accusations made against you and securing the best possible outcome to your case. As is the case in any legal matter in Richmond, the longer a criminal complaint is argued, the more resources are expended (on both sides). Thus, those prosecuting you may be motivated to resolve your case without going to trial. This may open up the door to the potential of a plea bargain. Careful consideration of such an offer may be warranted depending on the circumstances of your case. 

You should never feel compelled to accept a plea bargain on the grounds of convenience for any of the parties involved in your case. There may, however, come a point where you simply want to resolve the matter hanging over you and move on in your life. You may also want to consider the potential of facing a heavier sentence if you choose to allow a jury to hear your case. In a majority of plea bargaining scenarios, prosecutors will agree to pursue a reduced sentence against you in exchange for you pleading no contest or guilty. Sentencing data reaffirms this point. In its Overview of Criminal Cases for the 2016 fiscal year, the United States Sentencing Commission shows that 97.3 percent of federal cases ended in guilty pleas, with 49.1 percent of those resulting in sentences below sentencing guidelines. 

Risks about due to drunk drivers at Thanksgiving

For Kentucky residents, many things can contribute to an increased risk of being in a motor vehicle accident. Driving during after sunset or before sunrise especially on dimly lit roads or roads with no lighting at all can make it harder for people to see potential dangers and avoid them. Inclement weather can also impede visibility as well as reaction times or capabilities as tires can slide on ice or slippery roads.

Negligent drivers continue to pose a hazard to innocent people and when there are more people in general on the roads, it may be expected that there is a chance that there are more people on the roads who are making unwise and unsafe decisions that put others in harm's way as a result. People who choose to drive after drinking are prime examples of this. AAA has indicated that this year over the Thanksgiving holiday, nine out of every 10 people travelling will make trips via cars or other vehicles versus planes or trains. It is also believed that the number of people on the road will be at least three percent greater than last year.

What should you know about spinal cord injuries?

Suffering a serious injury of any type can cause considerable setbacks in your life. In best cases, those injuries are not permanent, and you can recover with little to no lasting negative effects. Unfortunately, some parts of the body are particularly susceptible to experiencing permanent impacts due to injury, and you could find yourself having to make major adjustments to your life in order to deal with these effects.

If you have been in a car accident, the chances of suffering injuries to any part of your body are high. If this type of event results in your suffering injuries to your spinal cord, your life could be altered forever. What should you know about spinal cord injuries?

Child custody battles and the safety of children

Poverty affects America in its own ways. Due to various factors, such as unemployment or even minimum wage, many parents in Kentucky face pressing circumstances with their children. It is not uncommon for children of low-income, single parents to be left alone while the parent goes to work. Other situations reveal the dark truth behind closed doors: some children are left without proper nutrition, as well. When the other parent of this child discovers their unhealthy living situations, however, they may decide to fight for full custody.

An article in The New Yorker looks at the struggles countless parents in the country face when they discover their own child has been neglected. But where does one draw the line? According to The New Yorker, child-protective services can knock on the door of a reported individual at any time, and have the power to thoroughly search all angles of a home. The article also shares that caseworkers may remove children from a home that they suspect is unsafe, or if it is evident they have been abused by the parent. Caseworkers can interview anyone in contact with a child, including neighbors and teachers.

Construction worker dangers and possible prevention

The construction industry has long been known as a crucial part of growing cities and small towns alike, but not one that comes without its fair share of risks. Construction companies across Kentucky supply vital components to the state's roadways, city centers, schools and other institutions; it is unfortunate that those who provide protection and safety for civilians are often the very ones who suffer injuries themselves. 

Early this year, the Lexington Herald Leader reported on the tragic accident of a construction worker who fell from a roof on the University of Kentucky's campus. The man, employee of Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal in Lexington, had been a subcontractor for Messer Construction of Cincinnati. The worker died of various blunt force injuries from falling 30 feet from the roof. The UK police chief disclosed that the man had not been wearing a safety harness, but that the incident was under investigation.    

Reviewing Kentucky's dram shop law

Richmond residents are likely well aware of how dangerous a drunk driver can be. They may not know, however, exactly how costly a collision caused by such a driver can come out to. Information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that drunk driving accidents result in a average of $44 billion in annual costs. Often, an individual accident victim may find that insurance coverage is not enough to deal with the expenses he or she is left to face. The question then becomes who else (if anyone) beyond the driver that struck him or her can be held liable. 

In many cases, one simply does not become intoxicated on his or her own. Another party (often a social host or an establishment) will often provide him or her with the alcoholic beverages that contribute to his or her intoxication. Say that one is at a party hosted by a friend. That friend serves alcohol, which the person consumes to the point of becoming drunk. He or she then drives away and subsequently causes an accident. Is the friend liable for not ensuring that he or she was fit to drive, or for serving alcohol at all? Kentucky state law says no. It recognizes proximate liability as lying solely with the driver in such cases. 

Can I get alimony in Kentucky?

When it comes to alimony awards, Kentucky is like many other states in its requirements and conditions. According to the Kentucky statutes, the judge hearing your case has a considerable amount of discretion when deciding whether to grant your request for spousal maintenance. However, there are some standard considerations that must be reviewed before payment is awarded or denied.

The goal of maintenance is to ensure that your reasonable needs are met. If your portion of the marital property is not sufficient for this purpose, or if there is a valid reason that you cannot support yourself, the court will then examine other factors to evaluate your case further.

Understanding hours of work limitations for truck drivers

You see large semi-trucks and tractor-trailers driving in and around Richmond almost every day. While you appreciate the work that truckers do, you likely shudder to think how dangerous one might become if he or she becomes fatigued while behind the wheel. The risks posed by fatigued truckers and the responsibility they have to stay alert has been detailed on this blog before, yet we here at Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Baechtold can attest to the fact that the desire to satisfy both clients and employers can cause truckers to overwork themselves. This raises the question of whether such professionals are left to determine at what level they believe themselves to be fatigued. 

Fortunately, the answer to that question is no. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set forth guidelines regulating the number of hours a truck driver can work. In regards to a work week for drivers transporting property, one can only work up to 60 hours across a period of seven consecutive days or 70 hours across eight consecutive days (if his or her employer operates commercial vehicles). Prior to beginning a new work week, a driver must take an off-duty period of at least 34 consecutive hours which includes two periods from 1:00 am-5:00 am. 

Use your head to determine if you have a brain injury

If you were recently involved in a motor vehicle accident in Kentucky, you're probably still celebrating the fact that you survived. Hopefully, your recovery is coming along well, and you are feeling a bit better with each passing day. That's not to say it's been easy going since, more often than not, recovering from a serious car accident can be a long and arduous process. If you suffered a traumatic head injury, your recovery challenges may be just beginning.

In fact, sometimes symptoms from head trauma do not immediately show themselves; it might be days later or even weeks when you first notice a problem. If you learned in the aftermath of your accident that another driver was reckless or negligent, you may have experienced feelings of anger, knowing your injuries might have been prevented. If you know your rights and take advantage of the resources available to you, you may be able to obtain full recovery for your losses.

Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Baechtold

Shumate, Flaherty, Eubanks & Baechtold
225 West Irvine Street
Richmond, KY 40475

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