July 2, 2012

Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Kentucky Group Home

There are many Kentucky residents who are unable to live alone, yet don't need the complete care offered by nursing homes. Assisted living is an option usually offered to senior residents. They live fairly independently in a small apartment or efficiency that is attached to the rest of the facility. They can have meals in the dining hall and their apartments are outfitted with pull cords that can be used if they need help. Younger people, however, tend to live in group homes if they are unable to completely care for themselves. A group home normally houses several adults with various disabilities and is overseen by an employee that lives at the home. Group home residents usually have their own room and are able to maintain some of their independence while being kept safe by the live-in caregiver.

Unfortunately that was not the case for a 35-year-old man who lived in a group home in Paint Lick, Kentucky. He suffered the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome and was unable to live on his own. In June, 2011, he was attacked by the home's caregiver - the one who was supposed to keep him safe from harm. The 22-year-old caregiver kicked and beat the victim who died from his injuries at a hospital.

The victim's father has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the employee who killed the victim and the company that ran the home, which was closed shortly after the incident. The suit claims that Community Ties is guilty of negligence because it "failed, refused or neglected to perform their duties to provide reasonable and adequate care" for the victim. The employee named in the lawsuit has already pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and is awaiting his sentencing. While a guilty or not guilty finding in a criminal case does not always determine the outcome of a civil case, the fact that he pleaded guilty in the criminal case is certainly helpful for the victim's attorney in the civil case.

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June 25, 2012

Kentucky Bus Crash Lawsuits Filed

1119802_bus.jpgOn June 6, 2012, a tour bus carrying over 50 children and adults crashed in Hart County, Kentucky on its way to Washington DC. The driver had only traveled about seven miles with the passengers on board when the bus accident occurred. While the accident investigation has not been completed, it appears that the driver was speeding and lost control of the bus around a tight curve. The bus rolled over, causing multiple injuries that were fortunately not life-threatening.

Why would a driver speed around a tight curve, especially in a large tour bus? Some passengers said he was overconfident, refusing to slow down even when several of them warned him to reduce his speed because of the curvy road. Others said he had been drinking energy drinks that may have clouded his judgment. Another reason may have been because he had already driven eight hours from Chicago and he may have been too tired to realize how fast he was traveling.

Whatever the reason, it appears he was speeding, risking the lives of at least 50 other people. As a result, three families have joined together and filed a lawsuit. One child from each family was involved in the bus crash and their families believe someone should be held accountable. They have sued the driver of the bus, the bus company - Southwestern Illinois Bus Company - and Worldstrides International. The claim against the driver is fairly self-explanatory since he was the one that was operating the bus when it ran off the road and his negligence most likely contributed to the accident.

The bus company may be partially liable for the accident for a couple of reasons. It could be responsible if it is determined that the driver lacked enough experience to be driving the bus. Also, if any maintenance issues played a part in the accident, the company could be held accountable. The lawsuit alleges that the driver had already driven eight hours from Chicago to Kentucky and was setting out to drive an additional eight hours to Washington DC. If this is true and the company asked him to drive both routes without resting, it would be in violation of the federal law that states commercial bus drivers can only drive 11 hours at a time. Worldstrides International is the company that organized the trip. Its website ironically claims it is "the nation's largest and most respected accredited travel organization" and that its "programs are marked by exceptional service, a superior safety record, and a personalized approach to educational travel that is unmatched in the field." If they contracted with the bus company that employed the driver that caused the accident, they could be partially liable for the accident too.

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June 11, 2012

Dentist Allegedly Drops Tool down Patient's Throat, Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Filed

1237145_dentiststs_tools.jpgFor those who already dread a trip to the dentist, here is one more reason to avoid making the appointment. According to a woman from Jessamine County, her dentist dropped a tool in her mouth and she reflexively swallowed it.

According to a medical malpractice lawsuit filed in Fayette Circuit Court in Kentucky, the woman was having part of her dentures cleaned when the tool allegedly slipped out of the dentist's hand. The dentist encouraged her to attempt to regurgitate it, which she was unable to do. The patient claims the dentist told her to have a chiropractor take and x-ray, so she did and brought them back to him. The dentist then told her to eat a lot of fiber and allow the tool, which the lawsuit describes as a screwdriver, to pass naturally.

About 30 days later, the tool had still not appeared and she was experiencing some pain, so the woman went to Saint Joseph's hospital and ended up having to have an appendectomy to have it removed. The lawsuit filed on her behalf claims the dentist was negligent because he did not have the tool secured in any way and he allowed it to drop down her throat. The dentist's response to the lawsuit says the tool was not a screwdriver, that he did not lose control during the procedure, and that he encouraged her to go to the University of Kentucky emergency room, but the patient refused.

The lawsuit, which the dentist would obviously like to have dismissed, is asking for damages for several reasons. Compensation for pain and suffering is commonly requested in medical malpractice lawsuits. The patient in this case had to endure abdominal pain, surgery, and a recovery that all would not have occurred if the tool had not been dropped into her during the procedure. Her suffering may also include mental distress from worrying about the tool being lodged in her and what damage it might be causing. She has also requested money to cover the medical bills that resulted from having the x-rays done and her surgery and stay in the hospital. The lawsuit also claims that her ability to work and make money was also affected by the dentist's negligence. Even though she was 71 years old when the suit was filed, it is entirely possible that she was still working at the time of the incident because she needed the income.

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June 6, 2012

Two People Killed in Kentucky Single-car Accident, Stopped Traffic Causes Second Accident

Two people lost their lives in a tragic Memorial Day accident in Ohio County, Kentucky. The driver of the car that held six other passengers left the road to one side, then swerved and left the other side of the road. The car rolled over and landed in the median. Two of the passengers were thrown from the vehicle during the car wreck and were pronounced dead at the scene. The other people were taken to several different hospitals by ambulance or helicopter. The driver, who was intoxicated when the car accident occurred around 7:00 a.m. Monday morning, faces numerous charges including DUI, two counts of manslaughter and four counts of assault.

It was determined that the two passengers who died at the scene were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of the car crash. While it cannot be proven, it is highly possible that they may still be alive today, like the other passengers in the car, if they had been wearing their seatbelts. Also, if their families decided to file a claim with the driver's insurance company or wanted to take legal action against the driver, the fact that they were not wearing their seatbelts could affect the amount of compensation they received. If someone is found to be partially responsible for their own injuries or death, the percentage of the fault determined to be theirs may be deducted from any damages awarded by a court or claim money from an insurance company. So it is in your best interest to always wear your seatbelt when on the road.

While this accident was being cleared and investigated, traffic was stopped on William Natcher Parkway for some time. Unfortunately a driver who was approaching the scene didn't realize traffic was stopped because he allegedly fell asleep at the wheel. He rear-ended someone in front him, pushing that car into a police officer assisting with the original accident. The officer was taken to the hospital with what were hopefully minor injuries.

While not nearly as tragic, this second accident illustrates a couple of driving issues. First, falling asleep at the wheel can be very dangerous both for the drowsy drivers and those around them. If you are feeling fatigued, pull over and let someone else drive. Or if you are driving alone, stop and take a rest before continuing on the road. Fortunately no one appears to have been seriously injured by this sleep driver, but that is not always the case.

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May 29, 2012

Questions and Answers about Arbitration Agreements for Kentucky Residents

1221952_to_sign_a_contract_3.jpgIn a recent case in Florida, a man was infected with flesh-eating bacteria through an infected needle at his doctor's office. Not only did the doctor provide the needle that infected the patient, but he also failed to notify the patient about the infection and did not instruct him to go to the hospital. When the patient tried to file a medical malpractice suit against the doctor, he discovered he had signed an arbitration agreement that prohibited him from filing a lawsuit.

Even though this case was in Florida, this situation could affect Kentucky residents as well. The following are some questions and answers about these arbitration agreements.

Q: What is an arbitration?

A: An arbitration is a hearing used to solve a dispute between two individuals. Rather than being argued in a courtroom before a judge and jury, both sides present their case to a panel of supposedly unbiased arbitrators. Oftentimes the panel is made up of experts selected by both parties.

Q: What is a medical arbitration agreement?

A: A medical arbitration agreement is a document signed by an individual that requires them to handle any dispute with the doctor or medical facility through arbitration rather than filing a lawsuit in court. In the case above, when the patient went to his doctor for a steroid shot, he signed an arbitration agreement saying he could not sue the doctor in court for medical malpractice. It also stated that the patient could not be awarded more than $250,000 in damages if the arbitrators ruled in his favor. This type of limitation may not be binding because it may conflict with state laws regarding caps on damages.

Q: What if I sign a medical arbitration agreement without reading it?

A: While this situation is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, it appears that most courts are upholding the agreements even if the patient states he didn't read it before signing. In the case above, a judge ruled that the agreement is binding even though the patient said he didn't read it because the agreement was clearly written and stated in large letters at the top that one should not sign it without reading it first.

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May 24, 2012

Kentucky Truck Crash Involving Four Vehicles Kills Two Motorcyclists

A recent Kentucky truck accident involved multiple vehicles and cars, most of whom were not even from the area. On May 22, 2012, traffic on I-24 over the Ohio River near Paducah was moving slowly due to some construction. One driver did not slow or stop in time and rear-ended the car in front of him. Both of these drivers survived the accident with only minor injuries.

Unfortunately, this initial car accident led to another more deadly accident in the same area. Traffic was backed up from the initial accident in both westbound lanes when semi driver reached the scene. He allegedly did not slow down or stop. He hit the mirror on a pickup truck first, then crashed into a motorcycle. Both people were knocked off the motorcycle. The truck driver then hit another semi before coming to a stop. Both truck drivers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The motorcycle riders were not so lucky; they were pronounced dead at the scene.

This accident was very tragic in that it claimed the lives of two innocent victims. It was also very unusual because almost every person involved was from a different state and no one was a Kentucky resident. The truck driver who allegedly caused the accident was from Wisconsin. The two motorcycle riders were from North Carolina and Texas. The pickup truck and second semi-truck drivers were both from Illinois. This raises the question of where a lawsuit, if necessary, should be filed.

Generally, lawsuits are filed in the state in which the accident occurred. We'll use the above case as an example. The accident happened in Kentucky, so a lawsuit should be filed in Kentucky. Most attorneys are licensed to practice law in one or two states that are in close proximity to each other. So it is unlikely that an attorney from Texas or North Carolina - the home states of the victims in this accident - would be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Kentucky. It is also unlikely that the victims' families would know any Kentucky attorneys.

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May 17, 2012

Woman Sues Kentucky's Norton Hospital and Medtronic for Medical Malpractice

Norton Hospital is located in Louisville, Kentucky and serves thousands of Kentucky residents every year. Medtronic is a large medical device company located in Fridley, Minnesota. What these two companies have in common is a medical malpractice lawsuit that has been filed against them.

A Louisville, Kentucky woman had surgery on her spine in 2006 at Norton Hospital. The hospital used a product from Medtronic called Infuse. Infuse is a bone-graft device used in certain spinal surgeries. A liquid bone protein is put on a sponge in a little crate between vertebrae. The liquid then solidifies into bone. The patient was having spine surgery, but not the type that Infuse has been approved for by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Surgeons at the hospital used it in her procedure anyway.
Unfortunately, as has been the situation in other cases, the bone continued to grow into her nerves, causing damage that has resulted in debilitating pain. She now has to stay in bed for extended periods of time and has trouble doing simple everyday tasks.

When a product is promoted and used in a way that has not been approved by the FDA, it is called "off-label" use, since what the medical professional is using it for would not actually be printed on the label of the medication or medical device. Oftentimes, medical professionals successfully use off-label treatments with the patient's consent. Other times it may lead to a dangerous treatment. However, companies such as Medtronic are not allowed to promote the product for off-label use. They can be fined millions of dollars if it is determined that this illegal activity has occurred. Unfortunately, to a multi-billion dollar company that could make billions on off-label use of one drug, the risk of investigation and fines may seem worthwhile. The off-label marketing can occur in many ways, including providing the product free to hospitals and medical offices or giving price breaks on other products to medical professionals that use a certain product off-label.

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May 9, 2012

Passing Other Cars in Kentucky can be Dangerous

It can be frustrating, being stuck behind someone driving slower than you want to go, especially if they are going below the speed limit or you are running late. If this occurs on a road with four lanes or more, it may seem fairly easy to move to the left lane and pass the person. Passing on a two-lane road is inherently more challenging. But both scenarios can be dangerous, as two Kentucky drivers discovered recently.

On Saturday, May 5, 2012, two teens were driving on U.S. 68, which is a two-lane road, near Campbellsville, Kentucky. The driver decided to pass the car ahead of them and pulled into the left-hand lane. Unfortunately, a car was coming from the other direction and the two collided head-on, resulting in a deadly car accident. Both cars rolled over and the teens tragically lost their lives. The driver of the other vehicle was taken to the hospital with injuries and was released the next day.

In another accident on Sunday of the same weekend, a driver again attempted to pass the car in front of him. This time the accident occurred on KY 213 in Morehead, Kentucky. When the passing car moved back into the lane in front of the other car, it clipped the front bumper. Both drivers appear to have lost control, and this car wreck injured all three people in the cars, including one critically.

These two accidents highlight the importance of using caution when passing other cars. Teendriving.com, a website started by a teen driver who was concerned about the number of accidents involving his classmates, provides the following tips about passing to drivers:

Don't Pass:


  • When there is a solid yellow line on your side

  • When you're uncertain there is enough time or space

  • When you can't see around a curve or over a hill

  • When behind multiple cars and passing one car doesn't really make any difference

  • On two lane roads, don't pass tractors or trucks or others you can't see around

  • In hazardous weather conditions

  • When another car is coming toward you in the opposite lane

  • When a car is passing you

  • When there is construction or road work

  • When the car in front of you is going the maximum speed limit

  • When on narrow roads, on bridges, or in tunnels

  • When you are unfamiliar with the car you are driving and its capabilities

  • Don't play leap frog by passing a friend that just passed you


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May 6, 2012

As Personal Injury Lawsuits in Indiana Stage Collapse Continue, New Regulations Take Effect

The 2011 tragic stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis continues to affect numerous people - those who lost loved ones, those who were injured, and those who may or may not have been at least partially responsible for the accident. In an attempt to figure out who other than Mother Nature was responsible, the State of Indiana contracted with two different firms, one to study the stage and the other to review what preparations were made in case of an emergency. The firms were also asked to give recommendations on how the state could prevent tragedies like this at future events.

According to one report, the fair board and Indiana police approached Sugarland, the band waiting to perform, about postponing the show more than once. Each time they asked, they were told the band did not want to postpone the show. However, during a deposition, one of the band members said she was never approached by anyone about cancelling or postponing the show, so attorneys are now looking at the band's touring manager as the one who may have put the concertgoers' lives at risk. The same report also faulted the fair board for not having a clear safety plan or chain of command in case of an emergency.

The other report found fault with the stage design. It was not built to withstand the high winds that brought down the stage rigging on the crowd. Over $80,000 in fines have been issued by the Indiana Department of Labor, including about $63,000 against Mid-America Sound, which built the stage for the fair. As a result of this accident, the Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission passed new regulations regarding temporary stages for outdoor events in Indiana at the beginning of May this year. Larger venues will be required to have their stages and rigging plans reviewed by an engineer and will have to provide documented emergency plans. Those smaller fairs or festivals that most likely could not afford the additional cost of an engineer's review would be required to leave additional space between the stage and the crowd. An eight-foot area between the between the crowd and the tallest height of the rigging would be necessary to avoid being in violation of the regulations.

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April 23, 2012

Is Church Partially Responsible for Car Accident Death of Kentucky Teen?

Most Kentuckians are familiar with the tragic story of the death of 13-year-old Jamie Mitchell. On June 6, 2009, he was on a camping trip with the youth minister of his church. The youth minister, Derek Coulter, allowed Jamie to drive his SUV. Jamie lost control of the vehicle and crashed. Derek Coulter initially tried to cover up the actual cause of the car accident by telling everyone from police officers to the mourners at Jamie's funeral that he was driving and swerved to avoid hitting a deer. He also said that Jamie was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the car crash, but investigators could find no marks on his body to show that a seatbelt was on him. The truth was finally revealed by the 15-year-old passenger from the accident, who initially was afraid to say anything because Coulter had told them they would both get in trouble.

After the truth came out, Derek Coulter was arrested and charged with reckless homicide and sentenced to five years in prison. Jamie's mother is still shocked and heartbroken about her son's death and the lies Derek Coulter, who is her cousin, told her. "[H]e told me the whole time on the scene he held my son's hand until he let go and I don't even know if that's true" she said.

In the latest chapter of this tragedy, Jamie's parents have filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against Coulter and the Big Springs Assembly of God Church in Bloomfield Kentucky, the church that employed Coulter at the time of the accident. Lawyers for both sides of the case have differing views as to whether or not the church could be held responsible for the accident. The attorney for the church claims that the camping trip was not a church-sponsored event, so effectively, Coulter was on his day off when the accident occurred. He also states that the function was not on the church schedule and did not happen on the grounds of the church, but rather on a farm.

Attorneys for the plaintiff have several arguments to counter the church attorney's statements. First, they have witnesses that will state that Coulter let multiple underage, unlicensed teens drive his SUV, both in the parking lot of the church and on the way to church functions. They also feel they can prove the campout was a church event. They state that all 10 children who attended were from the church; Coulter's wife told the kids they couldn't swear because it was a church event; Coulter himself referred to the campout as a church outing during the victim's eulogy; and the farm owner only offered to let Coulter and the kids camp on his property because he was approached through the church about it and was under the impression it was a church event.

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April 20, 2012

Why Those Serving in the Military in Kentucky Cannot File Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Much of the discussion regarding medical malpractice today revolves around the "caps" being put on damages awards in certain states. People argue for and against these caps based largely on whether they are members of the medical profession or have been injured or known someone who was injured by a doctor, nurse, or other medical person.

One segment of the population is not affected by these caps because they are not allowed to file medical malpractice claims when they are injured by someone in a medical field. These are the same people who protect our freedom both in the U.S. and abroad. They are the members of the U.S. military.

Back in the 1950s, a soldier was killed in a barracks fire. His family sued the government for negligence that led to his wrongful death. The Supreme Court determined that the federal government could not be held liable for his death because he was an active member of the military. Because the soldier's last name was Feres, this decision by the Supreme Court, which has stood ever since, is called the Feres Doctrine. In defense of this doctrine, the government states that service members are compensated in other ways, such as through disability assistance available to veterans, pensions, and VA medical care.

This serves as little consolation to the most recent service member to challenge the Feres Doctrine. In July 2009, and Air Force airman went to a military medical center in California to have his gall bladder removed. During the surgery, a doctor cut his aorta, causing massive internal bleeding that was not corrected until he was transferred to a civilian hospital several hours later. By then, he had lost so much blood that both of his legs had to be amputated. He has so little of his legs left that his prosthetics are uncomfortable to wear and he spends most of his time in a wheelchair. He is only 23 years old. He and his wife have filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the government requesting over $50 million in damages to compensate for lost income, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of a marital relationship, among other things.

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April 3, 2012

Overcorrecting While Driving Often Leads to Injuries in Kentucky Car Accidents

On March 28, 2012, a 55-year-old driver lost his life in a car accident. He was driving in Vanceburg, Kentucky when his car left the road. He overcorrected, sending the car across the road and into an embankment on the other side. He was ejected from the car when it rolled over and died from his injuries.

Unfortunately this type of accident is not unusual. Over four percent of the car accidents that ended in fatalities in 2011 were caused by overcorrecting. As the above story shows, drivers of any age may become victims of overcorrecting, but young, inexperienced drivers are the most susceptible. In Virginia alone, 244 accidents in 2011 resulted from teenage drivers overcorrecting when their cars left the road. Drivers' education instructors to traffic engineers and everyone in between are discussing what may be causing these car accidents and what can be done to prevent them.

Some high school drivers' education programs are now including instruction on what to do if the car leaves the road. While some only discuss it in the classroom, others are practicing it on the road. One instructor grabs the wheel and intentionally steers the car off the road, then allows the student driver to practice returning to the pavement safely. This exercise is done at varying speeds, first slowly, then gradually adding speed. Another instructor covers overcorrecting in the classroom portion of drivers' education, stating that it would be unsafe to practice the maneuver at the speed that a typical overcorrecting accident would occur.

In both instances, however, the lesson is the same. If your car or truck leaves the road, take your foot off the gas pedal and continue going straight until you slow down. At that point, find a safe place to re-enter the road and do so slowly with your blinker on when traffic allows. This may sound like common sense, but common sense often disappears when you suddenly hit the rumble strip and find half of your car off the road. The key is to stay calm and react accordingly.

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March 28, 2012

Proposed Bill would Improve Dental Care for Kentucky Nursing Home Residents

When comparing nursing homes as possible residences for a loved one, there are several things to consider. There are logistical details such as how far away the home is from friends and relatives. Financial constraints also play a major factor. But probably the most important thing to consider is the quality of care the person will receive while they reside there.

One aspect of care that is often overlooked by both the family of a nursing home resident and apparently the staff of some facilities is dental hygiene. Part of the daily ritual for the majority of children and adults across the country, oral care seems to be neglected or forgotten in some long-term care facilities. This neglect can lead not only to pain and discomfort for residents, but also to more serious problems. In one case, a Western Kentucky nursing home resident ended up with a gum infection that could have been fatal because the nursing staff didn't remove the person's dentures for six months. A proponent for oral care, Bernie Vonderheide reports "Recent studies have shown that as much as 44 percent of infections in nursing homes, such as deadly pneumonia, are caused by poor oral care."

In an attempt to improve these conditions for all Kentucky nursing home residents, a bill was introduced and has been passed by the House Health and Welfare Committee. Under House Bill 150, the Cabinet for Health and Human Services would work with the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky dental departments to create a program that would provide guidelines for dental health care in long-term care facilities. The program would be paid for by funds collected from nursing homes when they are fined for providing substandard care or putting residents at risk. A nursing assistant for each nursing home would receive training from one of the universities in dental care and would ultimately be responsible for the oral health care of all of the residents in the facility. A test of this system was done at a Lexington KY nursing home with a $25,000 grant from the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation. While the study results are unknown at this time, it appears that information that could be used in future training sessions was created and will be available to anyone interested in using it.

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March 21, 2012

Motorcyclist Killed in Truck Accident on I-65 in Louisville Kentucky

1016169_speed_of_motorcycle.jpgOn Tuesday, March 6, 2012, a motorcyclist was killed on I-65 in Louisville, Kentucky. It appears that the motorcyclist was travelling in the middle lane between a pickup truck and a tractor-trailer truck. According to Louisville police, the accident seems to have been caused when the driver of the pickup truck moved into the lane the motorcycle was in, causing the motorcycle to collide with the semi. Traffic on I-65 and the nearby ramps of the Watterson were closed for several hours and rush-hour traffic had to be diverted.

This horrific crash illustrates a few points of driver safety that bear repeating. First, riding a motorcycle can be fun and exhilarating, but it is inherently much more dangerous than driving a car. As a result, motorcyclists have to take extra precautions, especially when riding on a multi-lane highway. Motorcycles are smaller than cars or trucks and can be overlooked by other drivers on the road. Motorcycle riders have to be incredibly alert when riding to make up for other drivers possibly not seeing them. Proper gear should be worn at all times, including long pants, boots, a protective jacket and a helmet. The motorcyclist in this accident does not appear to have played any role in this accident, he was an innocent victim, and all of the above precautions still may not have saved his life.

Second, car and truck drivers need to always be alert when driving, paying attention to the road and those around them. It is even more important when travelling at higher speeds on a freeway or interstate. As noted above, motorcycles are smaller and may be harder to notice, especially in a rearview mirror. Any distraction may be enough to cause a driver to not see a motorcyclist, or another car driver, before it is too late. It is unknown whether the pickup truck driver in this wreck was distracted by the radio, a cellphone, or even a snack, or if distraction played no role in the accident.

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March 13, 2012

ATV Crash in Kentucky Claims Life of Young Woman

Spring is in the air in Kentucky, and with it comes the upswing of outdoor activities that have been on hold since fall. Children are swinging and sliding, people are once again tending to their lawns, and riders are gassing up their ATVs for the season. Unfortunately, with the thrill and freedom of ATV riding comes the risk of serious injury or death.

On February 26, 2012, a woman was killed in an ATV accident in Meade County Kentucky. She was riding on an ATV that was being driven by her fiancé. They were riding in circles when her fiancé lost control of the ATV and it flipped. They both fell to the ground and the 26-year-old woman was killed. The driver admitted to consuming alcohol before causing the ATV accident. He was allowed to attend the victim's funeral, but then was arrested by police. He has been charged with improper control and driving under the influence, and more charges may be added.

The ATV Safety Institute provides the following guidelines to help riders operate ATVs safely:


  1. Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.

  2. Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law - another vehicle could hit you. ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.

  3. Never ride under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

  4. Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.

  5. Ride an ATV that's right for your age.

  6. Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.

  7. Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.

  8. Take a hands-on ATV RiderCourseSM and the free online E-Course. Visit ATVsafety.org or call 800.887.2887.


In the case above, at least three of these guidelines were not followed. The driver had been drinking alcohol, neither rider was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, and they were riding on an unfinished part of a highway instead of a designated ATV trail. All of these factors likely contributed to the victim's death.

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