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Kansas liability claims not dependent on criminal charges

Two people were injured and hospitalized in a pair of traffic accidents on the same day. A pickup truck driver on U.S. 75 near the Kansas River was rear-ended during a turn. In the second auto accident, a Lexus driver was hurt making a left turn in Topeka. Both vehicles in the second crash had the right-of-way.

Police said the first accident could have been deadly. The impact of the rear-end collision sent the pickup truck across a grassy median and into lanes of opposing traffic. The accident occurred just before 5 p.m., but no interstate traffic struck the out-of-control truck.

The driver was hospitalized with minor injuries.

Another man suffered facial and neck injuries in a three-vehicle crash. The Lexus was turning across southbound traffic lanes when the passenger side was hit by an SUV. The spinning Lexus glanced off a third car before coming to a stop. Police officers said traffic signals for both drivers involved in the initial collision were green.

Criminal charges may not be filed in either case, but personal injury claims could be made in civil court. Attorneys for the injured drivers would need to find evidence of negligence, the basis for liability complaints.

The driver whose vehicle struck the pickup might have been tailgating or distracted before the crash. Distraction or speeding might have prevented the driver in the second accident from stopping in time to avoid the collision at the intersection.

With convincing proof, a plaintiff is awarded damages. The money is often used to cover accident-related medical bills or lost wages due to time off work. Personal injury cases frequently resolve before a case ever reaches a jury through settlements with defendants' insurers.

Even minor accidents can cause unaffordable medical and other expenses. In some cases, medical problems don't develop until after an accident. Discussing and deciding upon legal options is advisable whenever an injury accident occurs.

Source: cjonline.com, "2 hospitalized after accidents on US-75, S.W. 10th and Gage," Eric Smith, Jan. 17, 2013

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