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Covington Law Blog

Understanding autonomous vehicles

While most residents in Kentucky may have yet to share the road with a fully autonomous vehicle, they should be aware that such a day will come. However, it is also important to understand that there is not just one type of autonomous car. Vehicle automation actually comes in six different levels. 

As explained by TrueCar, the lowest level is 0 and it involves no automation but level 1 adds in driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control, still requiring the human to be fully in control of the vehicle at all times. Level 2 vehicles are called partially automated as they can operate on their own but a human is required to be in the driver's seat with their hands on the wheel at all times.

Road rage increases your risk for personal injury

Every time you navigate Kentucky roadways, you can expect to share the road with other travelers. While you might be lucky enough to enjoy a road trip or two with little to no traffic jams, it's far more common to encounter other vehicles on the road than to have the highway to yourself. While your own driving skills and habits might be stellar, there's no telling how nearby motorists will act.

Any number of issues can place you in harm's way while driving. One of the problems drivers may encounter on Kentucky highways today is road rage. If a driver is in a rage, he or she isn't likely going to adhere to traffic laws and safety regulations. In fact, he or she might intentionally disobey them in order to use his or her vehicle in an aggressive manner against you. If that happens, you're at great risk for collision and injury.

Consumers unsure about autonomous vehicles

Most people in Kentucky may not have seen many self-driving cars on the roads in their cities but they have likely seen and heard multiple reports about the testing and development of these vehicles. Outside of the Silicon Valley bubble, it is interesting to take a look at just how most Americans are perceiving this advancing technology. Improved safety is touted as a primary reason for the development of autonomous vehicles yet recent research indicates that consumers aren't quite so confident about their safety in them.

Gizmodo reported this spring that consumer confidence in self-driving vehicles had actually dropped from previous research conducted about a year-and-a-half earlier. In late 2017, 63% of people said they were too scared to ride in an autonomous vehicle. By the spring of this year, that percentage rose to 71%. Some high-profile accidents may well have contributed to the shift.

Do property owners owe a duty of care to visitors?

Whenever you enter on to another's property in Covington, your likely expectation is that the property is responsible for your safety while you are there. Of course, you are still expected to exercise sound judgment and avoid any reckless behavior (as such negligence might absolve the property owner of liability even if you are injured while on their land). Yet generally speaking, it may be reasonable to expect that a property owner has prepared their land in such a way that it presents no danger to visitors. 

Is, however, that expectation correct? Under Kentucky law, property owners do indeed owe a duty of care to people who come on to their lands. That duty, however, varies according to the type of visitor that you are. Typically, visitors are grouped into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. The easiest classification to which a duty is owed is that of a trespasser. In most cases, if you are a person's land without their permission, the only duty they owe to you is to not purposely cause you harm. 

What are the basic elements of a wrongful death suit?

If you lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence, you may be considering filing a wrongful death suit. Wrongful death suits are civil cases where family members of the deceased can seek financial compensation for their loss, among other types of damages. The Balance explains the basic elements of these suits, and how you can proceed if you wish to file. 

There are two components to every wrongful death suit. First, it must be proved that the deceased lost his or her life due to another person's reckless or negligent actions. For example, if your loved one played a role in the accident, you might not be eligible to file suit. Secondly, you must also show that you've experienced direct damages as a result of the loss of life. Damages can cover many different areas depending on the nature of the accident. 

Holding employers responsible for truck accidents

Commercial trucking is a vital component of America's economy, and the drivers directing the semi-trucks and tractor-trailers you see on Covington's roads are typically well-trained. Yet that does not mean that these massive vehicles pose no risks to the vehicles around them (indeed, according to data shared by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 116,000 crashes involving large trucks and buses in 2017 alone). Truck accidents can often be catastrophic, leaving victims to have to deal with enormous expenses. The question then becomes who is liable for such accidents? 

The easy answer would seem to be the truck driver; they, after all, were driving the vehicle and thus responsible whatever events led to the collision. Yet about their employers? In some cases, truck drivers may be independent contractors, which makes the issue of sharing liability with their employers irrelevant. Yet when truckers are employed by a trucking company, could that company also be held responsible for an accident? 

Which vehicles are more likely to be in a fatal car accident?

No one wants to have a car accident, but they still happen to many of us. Car manufacturers are constantly creating new models of cars that adhere to changing safety standards. Even with these efforts, people suffer injuries and even lose their lives in car crashes every day.

If you're considering buying a new car for yourself or someone you care about, a new study claims to reveal what models of cars are the most dangerous. This is particularly important with younger and inexperienced drivers here in Kentucky, who may not know how to avoid a car accident.

Defining your duty of care

We here at the Russell & Ireland Law Group LLC are often asked how far does liability extend when an accident occurs on someone's property. You of course hope that no one who enters your property is ever injured or hurt, yet your responsibility to ensure that does not happen depends on the duty of care that you owe them. That duty can change depending on who is injured and why they were on your property in the first place. 

Kentucky state court rulings have broken down visitor classification into three distinct groups. These are as follows: 

  • Invitees: One who comes on to your land by your invitation or in some capacity connected with your own personal business
  • Licensees: One who seeks to come on to your land, and who secures your consent to do so
  • Trespassers: One who comes on to your land without any legal right to do so

Rainy roads create trouble for Kentucky drivers

Statistics show rain is a serious hazard to drivers in Kentucky. According to Courier Journal, Kentucky holds the title as third most dangerous state for driving during rain based on a study by SafeWise. The organization analyzed 2016 data and concluded there were 67 car accidents resulting in fatality in the state.

AAA Exchange offers advice on rainy conditions, and it is easy to see why driving is risky at those times. If a car is skidding, there is a temptation to slam brakes. Slamming brakes, however, is dangerous on a slippery road and can cause loss of control. Leaving too little space between cars is another issue. In wet conditions, there needs to be more space to allow a full stop without hard braking. Even cruise control can cause problems. Cruise control requires braking to slow down. However, when the road is wet, it is sometimes safer to slow the car by letting off the accelerator rather than brake.

Tabloid talk show host sued after guest suicide

For many decades now, tabloid talk shows have been on American television networks. Even if someone in Kentucky may not have watched one of these shows, most people are aware of the basic premise on which they are founded. Each show has its own unique twist but all in some fashion highlight what are usually painful or unpleasant areas of the lives of their guests. This approach to entertainment can be controversial and, for one family, has allegedly contributed to the death of their loved one.

In the spring of last year, a man from Kentucky appeared on one of the tabloid shows that airs on the network NBC according to a report by the New York Daily News. While on the show, he learned that the woman he had planned to marry had quite opposite plans. Not only had she already sold the ring he proposed to her with but she was apparently involved in a romantic relationship with a close friend of the man. 

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