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Injuries Caused by Dog Bites – Blame the Owner and Not the Breed

Posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 12:30 pm    

Happy Pit BullGovernments have been trying to get a handle on dangerous dogs that apparently menace neighborhoods and attack other dogs or people for years. In the United States, there are more than 60 millions dogs living with humans, more per capita than in any other country in the world. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, a division of the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year, with more than 800,000 seeking medical care. Half of these are children and of those injured, more than 350,000 require emergency room treatment. On average, between 10 and 20 Americans die from dog bites.

Dangerous-dog laws and ordinances have been passed in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Cincinnati and a host of other cities. In 2006, Bracken County, KY upheld a ban on pit bull ownership in court. As happened in Jefferson County, the debate over whether or not to target certain breeds in dangerous-dog legislation often turns into an argument over pit bulls. The pit bull is not recognized as a breed per se, but rather as a type — a descriptor of several breeds of dogs with similar physical characteristics. Commonly, the breeds included are the American pit bull terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier. Sometimes other breeds are included, such as the English bull terrier or the American bulldog, or even mastiff-type dogs like the Argentine Dogo, the Tosa, the Cane Corso and the Presa Canario.

American Humane Association Research

With Breed Specific Legislation banning bully breed ownership in certain areas, it’s easy to understand why people assume anecdotal evidence about the dogs’ aggressive tendencies is true. But the facts tell a different story. According to the American Humane Association, on tests conducted in 2009 by the American Temperament Test Society, bullies scored better than several breeds that are rarely associated with aggression, including beagles and collies.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Research

Additionally, research conducted in 2000 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that no specific breed of dog is inherently vicious. And National Canine Research Council director Karen Delise says that, in most cases, any dog that has a tendency to attack is responding at least in part to owners who have either neglected the pup or failed to give it proper socialization and training.

Of the 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs each year, bully breeds are less often to blame than many other breeds, including chow chows and German shepherds. Another CDC study conducted in 2000 attempted to assess which breeds had been involved in the most fatal attacks from 1979 to 1998; however, researchers found numerous challenges and flaws in trying to make accurate calculations. To date, there is no scientific proof that bullies are more commonly involved in fatal attacks than all other dogs.

No Scientific Proof That Bullies Have a Super Strong Jaw

Research conducted by a doctor at the University of Georgia shows that bully breeds don’t show any mechanical or morphological differences in jaw structure when compared to other dogs — nor do their jaws come equipped with locking capabilities.

To explore the question of jaw strength, a 2005 National Geographic study measured force of bite for several creatures as pounds of bite pressure. On average, dogs exhibited about 320 pounds of pressure, while humans came in at 120 pounds and great white sharks at 600. The study also included a simulated bite sleeve test with a German shepherd, a Rottweiler and an American pit bull terrier. The pit bull actually registered the least amount pressure among the group, despite rumors that bully breeds can clamp down with an alarming 1600 pounds of force.

Hold Irresponsible Owners Responsible for Their Dogs Behavior

In general, bullies, as well as all other types of dog breeds, are loveable, loyal and energetic, especially when given the proper socialization and training. Although all dogs can be good dogs if raised properly, often dogs and especially bullies fall into the hands of irresponsible owners and innocent victims are harmed as a result. That’s where an experienced attorney comes into play.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a dog-bite, contact a Northern Kentucky personal injury attorney today. Lawrence & Associates can help!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Do You Need an Attorney When Appearing Before The Kentucky Board of Claims?

Posted on Friday, June 20th, 2014 at 7:53 am    

Even though we have all seen movies and TV shows about jury trials, no one should try to represent themselves before a jury. It is a recipe for disaster. The Kentucky Board of Claims is very, very different from a jury trial, and that can make it both more and less difficult to represent yourself.

About The Kentucky Board of Claims

The Board of Claims was established by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1946 with the mission to ensure an impartial and fair review of all claims filed by citizens who believe their person or property has been damaged through negligence of the part of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The board acts under the authority of KRS Chapter 44 and KAR Title 108 to determine whether a state agency has been negligent, consequently causing damages, loss or injury to a claimant.

Property Damage Claims

As a rule of thumb, if you are representing yourself only for property damage (such as to a vehicle), we would recommend representing yourself or contacting some kind of Legal Aid society. Very few attorneys will take on a minor property damage case due to the large amount of time and inability to get paid for that time.

Important Link: Board of Claims Website

Injury Claims

We highly recommend legal representation for Injury claims before the Board of Claims. Injury claims are defended by Kentucky’s state agencies before the board of claims every bit as vigorously as similar injury claims are defended in jury trials. Further, the rules at the Board of Claims often favor the state agency. For example, the state agency is allowed to ask the hearing officer to take notice of scientific facts that people working for the agency know, even though the injured person might not have the ability to question the state agency’s employees! In another odd twist, the state agency is allowed thirty days after the hearing in which to go get an expert, although many claimants can’t afford one. Injured people appearing before the Board of Claims can wind up overwhelmed and without the resources to fight the state government.

At Lawrence & Associates’ Northern Kentucky office, our attorneys will take injury cases before the Board of Claims and fight for your rights.  Don’t wait until it is too late to fight back – call our office in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky today!  

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Florida’s Supreme Court Tosses Out a Medical Malpractice Cap That Kentucky’s Legislature Is Now Considering – See Why It Matters to All of Us

Posted on Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 at 8:00 am    

malpractice capsIn the article Florida Supreme Court tosses out medical malpractice cap on damages by Mary Ellen Klas, she writes that “The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the centerpiece of the 2003 medical malpractice overhaul law, blasting the Legislature for creating an “alleged medical malpractice crisis” and concluding that the cap on wrongful death noneconomic damages violates the state Constitution’s equal protection clause.”

What Happened

Florida, like many states, passed tort reform laws under the faulty thinking that there was a frivolous lawsuit crisis in the state.  They put a cap on damages that ensured the most injured people would not get full recovery, although people with minor injuries could get a recovery.  This obviously helped the insurance companies, who knew there was a maximum on any given claim.  Looking back, the Florida Supreme Court found that the law was a) unconstitutional, and b) was not based upon a factual foundation.  If you look at the bottom of the article, you’ll see how the Court did research and found that the supposed reasons for passing tort reform were not real.  For example, the claim was that doctors were leaving the state, but looking back at 2003 (when tort reform was passed), the history books show the number of physicians increased rather than decreased.

Why It Matters to All of Us

Kentucky is considering the exact same law that Florida passed this year.  If it passes, anyone with a personal injury claim and a serious injury – death, paralysis, amputation, etc. – will no longer be able to file a claim and receive a full recovery.  Instead, they have to look to state aid (like social security disability) to fill the gaps.  That means the law potentially affects all of us.


“What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?” is a Frequently Asked Question to Northern Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyers

Posted on Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 at 1:40 pm    

car wreckPersonal Injury Protection, or “PIP”, is a basic coverage that is required in Kentucky on all motor vehicles, with the exception of motorcycles. It generally provides up to $10,000 to each covered individual in an accident to be used for the purposes of paying for medical expenses, lost wages, and all other costs that resulted due to the accident (optional higher benefits and deductibles are available).

Who’s PIP is Used and How?

 

In most circumstances, the PIP is paid by the insurer of the vehicle in which the injured person was riding at the time of the accident. For example, if an insured motorist is in an accident while driving his insured vehicle, his insurance company will pay the PIP. It does not matter who was at fault in causing the accident. Additionally, if a vehicle strikes a pedestrian, the insurer of that vehicle will pay the PIP associated with the pedestrian’s accident related expenses.

What if there is no PIP?

In certain circumstances, an injured party will find that there is no PIP available. For example, this can occur in a situation where the injured party is uninsured and the owner of the vehicle does not have existing coverage for his vehicle. If a pedestrian is struck by an uninsured vehicle (where the owner of the vehicle failed to have insurance or the driver of the vehicle was uninsured), then his best option is to file a claim for basic PIP to the Kentucky Assigned Claims Plan. The KAC is a state fund which provides basic PIP benefits to those who meet the certain requirements listed under KRS 304.39-160 and 304.39-170. An example of someone who would not be entitled to apply to the KAC for PIP would be an injured driver who was uninsured at the time of the accident.

If you or someone you know has been in an automobile accident, have medical bills piling up, and are unsure of what your options are, do not hesitate to contact a Northern Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyer. Lawrence & Associates can help get you the benefits that you deserve!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


What to Do Immediately After an Automobile Accident

Posted on Thursday, May 15th, 2014 at 2:38 pm    

After an automobile accidentAccording to the a Kentucky Traffic Collision Facts Report, Kentucky reported 150,278 car accidents on public roads. Out of those reported accidents, 37,289 drivers and passengers were injured or killed. Either you or someone you know is overwhelmingly likely to be in a car accident at some point in their lives. If you are involved in a personal injury litigation arising from a car accident, you will greatly benefit from consulting a Northern Kentucky personal injury attorney. Although automobile accidents are unfortunate, there are certain things that a person can do immediately after an accident which can either help or hurt their case.

Automobile Accident Tips 

  1. Stay at the scene – If you are involved in an accident involving injury, or substantial damage to property, stay at the scene of the accident until the police give you the okay to leave. Leaving the scene of an accident can result in driver’s license sanctions and even criminal charges.
  2. Obtain information – If you are involved in an accident, it is always wise to obtain the other driver’s name, address, driver’s license number, insurance information, and license plate number. Moreover, if there are witnesses take down their name, address and telephone number which may prove useful in your case. Obtaining the police officer’s information may also prove useful when obtaining the accident report. Finally, it may be wise to take notes about the accident itself, including the location where the accident occurred, the speed limit, the weather, time of day, how the accident occurred, etc.
  3. Give a statement only to police –  It is best not to make statements to anyone at the accident scene, other than the police. You are not required to give a statement to the other person’s insurance policy.
  4. Seek medical care if you are injured – Seeking medical care immediately following an accident will help halt arguments by the other driver’s insurance company that you were not actually injured in the accident or that your injuries arose from something that occurred after the accident. In certain circumstances, we get cases where a person is injured in an automobile accident but waits until the pain is unbearable before seeking medical treatment. This not only can hurt the injured person’s case, but it also causes the person to suffer from pain unnecessarily.

Although being involved in an automobile accident may be devastating to both you and your family, there’s good news- you may be entitled to compensation! Contact Northern Kentucky law firm Lawrence & Associates today for a free initial consultation with an experienced automobile accident attorney who can evaluate your case and help determine if you should pursue a personal injury action.

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


How Personal Injury Settlements Are Handled When They Involve Minors

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2014 at 1:29 am    

In most states, the parent of a child who has been injured and received a settlement as reparation for those injuries cannot generally access his or her child’s settlement funds.  The reason for this is to protect the child from parents who might use the money to benefit themselves, instead of the child.

“Blocked” Bank Accounts

A court will usually place a child’s settlement money in a “blocked” bank account until the child turns 18. A court will sometimes allow withdrawals from blocked accounts if the funds are needed for the child’s care and well being, and the court is satisfied that the funds are to be used for the benefit of the minor.

In Kentucky

Kentucky courts will generally follow the same rule, although there are certain instances where the courts will grant the parent of a minor access to the full settlement. For example, under the Kentucky Revised Statute 387.280, the custodian of a minor is able to petition to receive the minor’s settlement so long as that settlement is $10,000 or less.

If you or someone you know is dealing with an accident related injury involving a minor child, please contact an experienced Northern Kentucky personal injury lawyer at Lawrence & Associates!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation


Know How Kentucky Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Affects You!

Posted on Friday, March 28th, 2014 at 2:20 pm    

PIP Personal Injury Propection ClaimInsurance policies are generally quite confusing and often vary between insurance companies. Most of them promise you a better rate, or better coverage in the event of an accident. Knowing what some of the standard policies cover will help in choosing the right coverage for you. For example, one thing that does not vary between insurance companies that do business in Kentucky is the minimum PIP coverage. PIP stands for ‘Personal Injury Protection’ (also known as Basic Reparation Benefits in other states). In Kentucky, every car insurance company licensed to sell insurance in the Commonwealth is required to provide $10,000 of minimum No-Fault benefits in the case of an automobile accident. This minimum benefit amount is per person, and it covers medical expenses and/or wage losses attributed to the accident.

PIP also may allow for an extension of time in which you may file a claim resulting from an automobile accident. Generally speaking, in Kentucky the statute of limitations is two (2) years from the date of the accident/collision.[1] However, if PIP benefits are paid, then the statute of limitations will be extended by two (2) years after the LAST PIP payment. For example, let’s say you’re involved in a car crash while driving on I-71 in Kentucky on January 1, 2014. You will have until January 1, 2016 to file a claim/suit against the other driver (assuming a valid claim exists against him/her). However, if you are injured in that car accident and your last medical bill is paid by your PIP on July 1, 2014, you will have until July 1, 2016 to file the lawsuit.

If you or someone you know is dealing with an accident related injury in Kentucky or Ohio and have questions regarding PIP, workers’ compensation, or other things regarding an injury claim, please do not hesitate to contact Lawrence & Associates for more information and assistance. We can help!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

[1] KRS 304.39-230(6)

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