Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

By: Dustin HumphreySide_on_collision

We have all heard the horror stories of someone badly injured in a car wreck by a person with minimal insurance or none at all. As the victim’s medical bills mount the negligent party’s insurance is quickly exhausted, leaving the victim on the hook for the balance. To avoid this predicament, the lawyers at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike recommend our clients consider uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is designed to help victims of car crashes caused by a person who either doesn’t have an auto insurance policy or has a policy with liability limits that are too low to cover the cost of damages. This extra coverage helps pay for the bills associated with the crash that would otherwise be left uncovered.

In Kentucky, the law requires uninsured motorist coverage at certain levels; however, the driver can opt-out of this coverage by stating so in writing. The lawyers at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson and Pike do not recommend opting out of the coverage.

When purchasing uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, first consider how much insurance you may need. Factors such as the worth of your car, the type of medical insurance you carry and whether your employer offers access to short- and long-term disability are all important to consider. The limits for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can range anywhere from $25,000 to $1 million.

While the particular coverage depends on the wording of the policy, the insurance typically covers bodily injury and can also cover passengers in the insured car at the time of the crash.

To be fully protected in the event of an accident, you must have both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. The lawyers at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike recommend that our clients be proactive when it comes to their protection. Don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer for advice if you are considering purchasing uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. You may be very thankful one day for doing so.

 

Dustin

Dustin joined the SBW&P team in 2010, coming to us from one of the oldest firms in Cincinnati. He earned his undergraduate degree from Bellarmine University, summa cum laude, and his law degree from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, where he graduated cum laude. Dustin’s law practice includes personal injury law, medical malpractice law, business law including corporations, LLCs and business planning, real estate law, probate law, estate planning, employment law, and family law.

Checklist: Preparing to Meet with an Attorney After Your Car Accident

By: Dustin Humphrey

You’ve been in a car accident and you need legal representation. What sort of things will your attorney want to know? How should you prepare to meet with him or her? What documents should you have? The personal injury lawyers at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike have developed the following checklist to help you in your first meeting with an injury lawyer:

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
Are you prepared to explain the details of the accident?

What day did the accident occur?
What time of day did the accident occur?
What was the exact location of accident?th
What was the weather like?
What was the roadway like (wet, dry smooth, pot-holed, etc.)?
Were other cars or people involved?
How did the accident occur?
Were police called to the scene?
Was a police report filed?
What traffic violations, if any, were you charged with?
Was an ambulance called to the scene?
Were any photographs taken at the scene?
Were any television or other media crews at the scene?

Are you prepared to provide information about witnesses or other individuals involved in the accident?

What are the names of witnesses or other involved parties?
What is their relation to you (if any)?
What are their addresses?
Telephone numbers?
License plate numbers?

Are you prepared to provide information about your injuries?

Did emergency personnel treat you?
Were you taken to a hospital?
What was your immediate diagnosis?
What treatments were you initially provided?
Did you have x-rays or other scans taken?
Were you hospitalized? For how long?
What follow-up or additional treatment have you had?
What are your present symptoms?
What is your present diagnosis?
What normal activities are you unable to do because of your injuries?
What are the names and locations of all hospitals, clinics, doctors, specialists, chiropractors, physical therapists or other providers you have seen for your injuries, including the names of providers who have referred you to other providers?
Who is your general or family physician?
Have you ever had similar injuries in the past?

 

Are you prepared to provide information about yourself?

Your age and birthdate?
Your address?
Your telephone number?
Your social security number?
Your marital status?
Your children, if any?
Your present employment, if any?
Your wages or salary?
Have you have missed time from work as a result of the accident?
Do you have a valid drivers’ license?
Do you have automobile insurance?
Who is your insurer?
Have you previously been involved in any car accidents?
Have you ever been convicted of a crime?

Are you prepared to provide information about your car?

Make and model of car?
Year?
Is there a lien-holder or bank interest in the car?
How long have you owned the car?
What is the working condition of the car?
When was your car last serviced or seen by a mechanic?
What damages were sustained to your car during the accident?
Have you received an estimate for the damages?
Did your car have any damages, dings or dents prior to the accident?
Do you have photographs of you car both before, and after, the accident?

 

hs_dustin_humphreyDustin joined the SBW&P team in 2010, coming to us from one of the oldest firms in Cincinnati.  He earned his undergraduate degree from Bellarmine University, summa cum laude, and his law degree from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University,  where he graduated cum laude. Dustin’s law practice includes personal injury law, medical malpractice law, business law including corporations, LLCs and business planning, real estate law, probate law, estate planning, employment law, and family law.

The Consumer’s Three Day Right of Rescission

By: Terry Bennett 1864lacmgkudqjpg

Have you ever made a purchase and immediately regretted it? We all have experienced this buyer’s remorse at one time or another. But did you know there are some instances in which you actually can go back and undo the transaction?

This concept is called a “right of rescission.” There has been much confusion over when a consumer has a right to rescind a transaction and when they don’t. Many people think these laws apply to any and all consumer transactions. Actually, the law only applies to very few purchases.

For example, consumers do not have a three day right to cancel in the following transactions:

  • When buying real estate, insurance, securities, farm equipment, or a motor vehicle; or
  • When the purchase is entirely by mail, online or telephone

The law does provide a few important instances when a person can rescind a contract within three days. For instance, Federal law allows consumers the right to cancel contracts signed in their home when they are solicited there by businesses. This is especially important for older folks, who sometimes enter into financially disadvantageous deals with salesman who apply high-pressure sales tactics. The same protection applies to consumers who purchase items at a temporary business location rented by a merchant on a short terms basis. This could include hotel rooms and convention centers.

You also have a right to rescind the deal when refinancing a mortgage on your home. You have until midnight of the third business day after the mortgage closing to cancel the contract. The cancellation must be done in writing. If the salesperson does not provide a cancellation form, you can still cancel your contract but it must be in writing. You are also given extra time if they do not provide you with the form.
You may waive this right if you have a bona fide personal financial emergency.

If you have any questions concerning the three day right of rescission or any other legal matter, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney. The attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike want to make sure you stay informed and up-to-date.

 

Attorney Terry Bennett

Terry joined the practice in 1974. His areas of focus include personal injury law, real estate law, probate law, estate planning, business law, corporations, and adoptions. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, United States District Court Western District of Kentucky, United States Court of Military Appeals, and all Kentucky courts.

A Hardin County native and former Army office in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, Terry graduated from William and Mary in Virginia with an undergraduate degree in government. He received his Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest Law School in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where he graduated with honors.

Step by Step: The Personal Injury Case

By: Terry Bennettpersonal_injury

You’ve suffered a personal injury, your everyday routine has been interrupted and your long-term plans may be uncertain. And at times, the procedural rules of a personal injury case can be confusing or frustrating, especially when you’re anxious to get healthy and move forward.

To help you know what to expect, the attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike have developed a step-by-step look at the stages of a personal injury case.

Meeting with an Attorney
When you first meet with an attorney, this is the time for your attorney to learn about your case. They will ask you to tell them what happened and they will ask follow-up questions. They will want to know about your insurance coverage and the statements you’ve made to insurance company representatives. The attorney could ask you to give permission for the release of your medial records. If the attorney agrees to take your case, you’ll discuss matters such as fees and next steps.

Initial Court Papers
A lawsuit starts with the complaint, which will outline your case including your legal claims, facts related to the claims and what you want the court to order the defendant to do. The summons notifies the defendant of the lawsuit. The defendant’s answer addresses your complaint. The defendant’s answer might also include a counterclaim against you. And that counterclaim is answered by your reply.

Discovery
Both sides of a lawsuit should know all relevant information before a trial. This is done through discovery. Questionnaires, document sharing and depositions all are used to collect information. It is important to be honest as everything typically comes out in discovery and a lie will be used against you.

Pretrial Motions
Some pretrial motions are filed for a ruling on a minor piece of your case. Other motions can end your case. A motion to dismiss is generally filed because of a jurisdiction or venue issue with the court, if the summons or complaint were not properly served or if the defendant claims no legal responsibility for your injury. If the facts of the case are not disputed, a summary judgment motion may ask the court to consider the facts and make a judgment in their favor. A motion for default judgment may be filed with a defendant fails to answer the court. When this happens, the only question the court has to answer is how much you should receive in damages.

Settlement
Most personal injury claims end in settlement. In exchange for payment, you agree to cease legal action. There are a number of factors to consider before accepting a settlement including the verdicts and settlements of similar cases and everything related to a trial, such as timing and negative publicity.

Trial
A judge or jury will consider all evidence and determine if the defendant is legally responsible fro your injury. There are several stages of a trial including jury selection, opening statements, presentation of evidence through testimony and cross-examination, closing arguments, jury instructions and the jury’s deliberation and verdict. The timeframe of a trial can vary greatly.

Collection after verdict
If a financially stable person or business owes you a judgment, they most likely will pay without incident. If a person or business is not financially stable, there will be more work ahead. Its possible wages can be garnished or income and assets seized. If they file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, however, you will not be able to collect the judgment.

Appeal
An appeal reviews proceedings and how the law was applied. If an appeals court finds an error in the application of the law, the judgment may be reversed.

Though most personal injury cases end early in the process, the attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson and Pike believe it’s important for plaintiffs and potential plaintiffs to have an understanding of all phases of a personal injury case. We encourage seeking legal advice about the specifics of your personal injury case.

 

 

Attorney Terry BennettTerry joined the practice in 1974. His areas of focus include personal injury law, real estate law, probate law, estate planning, business law, corporations, and adoptions. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, United States District Court Western District of Kentucky, United States Court of Military Appeals, and all Kentucky courts.

A Hardin County native and former Army office in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, Terry graduated from William and Mary in Virginia with an undergraduate degree in government. He received his Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest Law School in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where he graduated with honors.

 

Can my Child Choose Which Parent to Live With?

In divorce or child custody cases, often a judge must decide which parent shall have custody of minor children. I often have clients assert that since their child is a certain age, he or she can chose where to live. There seems to be a widely held belief in some specific age at which the child gets to make the choice regardless of what the judge thinks.

This is simply not true. There is no particular age when a child’s desire is honored as the deciding factor in determining which parent shall have custody.

When making child custody decisions, Kentucky law states that the judge must do what is in the best interest of the child. There are various factors the judge will consider in making this determination. The opinion of the child is one of the factors. But it is one of many, not the only one.

This does not mean a child’s opinion never carries any weight, as there are cases in which a child’s testimony is a very important factor. Generally, the older and more mature a child is, the greater the importance of his or her testimony. For example, a judge will likely take the opinion of a 16 year more seriously than the opinion of an 8 year old.

Even if the judge does listen to the child’s testimony, the child’s reasoning will be scrutinized. In fact, the best interest of a child could very well be the opposite of what the child desires. For instance, living with Dad because he “lets me play video games and doesn’t make me do homework like Mom does” will probably not sway the judge toward the father as the child intended.

In conclusion, the opinion of the child is one of many factors a judge must consider when making a child custody determination. Generally, the testimony of the child carries more weight if the child is older and mature. There is not a certain age at which the child gets to decide regardless of what the judge thinks. How much weight to give a child’s testimony is determined by the judge on a case by case basis.

Divorce and child custody cases are difficult. If you find yourself facing either situation you should contact an attorney.

 

 

Dustin

Dustin joined the SBW&P team in 2010, coming to us from one of the oldest firms in Cincinnati. He earned his undergraduate degree from Bellarmine University, summa cum laude, and his law degree from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, where he graduated cum laude. Dustin’s law practice includes personal injury law, medical malpractice law, business law including corporations, LLCs and business planning, real estate law, probate law, estate planning, employment law, and family law.

Answers to Kentucky Employee’s Most Frequently Asked Questions

Young businessman holding white card with a question mark on itBy: Terry Bennett

Are you unsure of your rights as an employee in Kentucky? Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning Kentucky employment:

Q : What is the minimum wage in Kentucky?
A : The minimum wage in Kentucky is $7.25 per hour.

Q: Can an employer require that I work overtime?
A: Yes.

Q: What must an employer pay me for overtime?
A: Time and one-half must be paid for the hours worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek.

Q: May an employer pay “comp time” instead of overtime?
A: Comp time may not be paid by an employer or given to an employee who is subject to the overtime law.

Q: What defines a “full-time employee”?
A: Kentucky law does not define full-time or part-time employment. Employers are free to define these terms as they choose.

Q: Must an employer give a paid rest period?
A: An employee is entitled to a paid rest period of at least 10 minutes during each four hours of work.

Q: Must my employer give me a meal break and do they have to pay for the meal break?
A: An employee is entitled to a reasonable period for a meal no sooner than the 3rd or later than the 5th hour of their work shift, unless the employer and employee have mutually agreed to some other time period. The meal period does not have to be paid by the employer.

Q: May my employer require that I work more than 8 hours per day?
A: There is no limitation on the number of hours that your employer can require you to work in a day.

Q: Must my employer pay my vacation pay or sick leave upon termination of employment?
A: Whether you are paid for unused vacation or sick leave upon termination of employment depends on the policy and practice of your employer. Kentucky labor law does not specifically require that the employer pay for unused vacation or sick days upon termination of employment.

If you have any questions about employment rights in Kentucky, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney. They attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike want to make sure your rights as an employee are honored.

 

Attorney Terry BennettTerry joined the practice in 1974. His areas of focus include personal injury law, real estate law, probate law, estate planning, business law, corporations, and adoptions. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, United States District Court Western District of Kentucky, United States Court of Military Appeals, and all Kentucky courts.

A Hardin County native and former Army office in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, Terry graduated from William and Mary in Virginia with an undergraduate degree in government. He received his Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest Law School in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where he graduated with honors.

 

The Danger of Misclassifying Workers

By: Terry Bennett

Many employers misclassify workers as independent contractors. The reasons are obvious: no duty to withhold taxes, no duty to pay Social Security or Medicare, no duty to provide workers’ compensation coverage, no duty to pay unemployment and no duty to provide any employee benefits. But the cost of misclassification can be high.
filing-taxes-independent-contractor

There can be personal and individual liability for the employer’s failure to pay withholding taxes for employees that are misclassified. The IRS looks at behavior control, financial control, and the type of relationship between the employer and the independent contractor. Many employers are at risk for the detection of misclassified workers. The IRS is focusing its resources on auditing employers to determine if they are properly classifying their workers.

Misclassified workers are often denied access to critical benefits and protections such as family and medical leave, overtime, minimum wage and unemployment insurance. Not only are employees cheated, but it also generates substantial losses to the treasury and the Social Security and Medicare funds, as well as state unemployment insurance and workers compensation funds.

At Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike, we can help businesses with their classification of workers, whether it relates to independent contractors, part-time/full-time employees, or the employer’s responsibility concerning the many Federal and State requirements as it relates to employees.

 

 

Attorney Terry BennettTerry joined the practice in 1974. His areas of focus include personal injury law, real estate law, probate law, estate planning, business law, corporations, and adoptions. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, United States District Court Western District of Kentucky, United States Court of Military Appeals, and all Kentucky courts.

A Hardin County native and former Army office in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, Terry graduated from William and Mary in Virginia with an undergraduate degree in government. He received his Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest Law School in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where he graduated with honors.

 

Life’s Train

Enjoy this personal commentary from our very own, Terry Bennett. The team at Skeeter’s, Bennett, Wilson & Pike is blessed to have a seat on Terry’s train of life.

By: Terry Bennett

In the practice of law I see a great deal of tragedy. In handling estates I see individuals whose lives are cut short because of some disease or accident. In handling automobile accidents I see individuals of all ages losing their lives or being seriously injured. The grief that comes from these situations is very hard to bear for the relatives, friends and neighbors of the deceased or injured.

We boarded a train as soon as we were born. The first people we saw 6985203242_a0403f0604_zon that train were our parents. Along the way of life other individuals boarded that train, such as brothers, sisters, children, friends, and other significant people.

Unfortunately, the train makes stops along the way. At some station in life our parents will step down and may leave us on the train alone. At other times, even a child or grandchild may leave the train before we get off. As these individuals step down off of the train into a station, they leave a vacuum in our life. Others will leave the train and we do not even realize they have left.

The train of life is full of joy, sorrow, grief, happiness and all sorts of other human emotions that we experience along the railway of life.

We never know at which station we ourselves will step down off the train. It is important that we live our lives with love, forgiveness, hope, faith and strength, and that we offer these to the other passengers on the train. When we finally step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who are still on the train of life.

I wish each of you a joyful journey on this train of life and ask you to live every day as if it is your last day, because, as I have witnessed many times, it may be. Thank God for your journey of life and try to make someone else’s day brighter each day.

 

 

Attorney Terry Bennett

Terry joined the practice in 1974. His areas of focus include personal injury law, real estate law, probate law, estate planning, business law, corporations, and adoptions. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, United States District Court Western District of Kentucky, United States Court of Military Appeals, and all Kentucky courts.

A Hardin County native and former Army office in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, Terry graduated from William and Mary in Virginia with an undergraduate degree in government. He received his Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest Law School in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where he graduated with honors.

When do you Pay Gift Taxes?

By: Terry Bennett

Many parents and grandparents give their children and grandchildren gifts during the year. They may give them money for a down payment on a home, to buy a car or help them out in other ways. But when are these gifts of taxable importance? The attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike want to make sure you know the specifics of gift taxes.

For 2017, an individual can give gross gifts of $14,000 or less to anyone with no tax effect. There are no reporting requirements nor do you have to file a gift tax return. If your spouse joins in the gift, then the availabindexle deduction increases to $28,000.00.

Spouses can give an unlimited amount of money to each other under the gift tax marital deduction rules, and there are no gift tax forms to be filed or any gift tax to be paid. To be eligible for the 100 percent marital deduction concerning gifts, the spouse must be a U.S. citizen.

If a gift or the aggregate of gifts in any one-year is more than $14,000 to anyone other than a spouse, then a gift tax return must be filed. An individual’s lifetime exclusion is $5 million. Therefore, an individual can give a gift or gifts of up to $5 million during a lifetime and never have to pay gift tax. For an individual and a spouse, the amount is doubled to $10 million. The federal gift tax rates are the same as the federal estate tax rates. The rates start at 18 percent for any taxable gift between $10,000 and $20,000 and goes to the highest taxable rate, which is 40 percent, on $1 million or greater. But there is a $2,045,800 gift tax credit, which shelters $5,250,000 of taxable gifts in excess of the annual exclusion amounts.

Payments of medical expenses and tuition payments are excluded from the federal gift tax requirements. Contributors to a qualified tuition program that exceed $14,000 may treat the gift as if it had been made over a five-year period; in effect, allowing a $70,000 exclusion in any one year.

Any gift deductible for income tax purposes is deductible for gift tax purposes and does not count towards the $14,000 annual gift tax exclusion. The gift tax charitable deduction is unlimited. The gift tax charitable deduction is not limited to domestic organizations or to gifts for use within the United States.

Don’t hesitate to contact the attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike if you have any further questions on gift tax requirements.

 

 

Attorney Terry Bennett

Terry joined the practice in 1974. His areas of focus include personal injury law, real estate law, probate law, estate planning, business law, corporations, and adoptions. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, United States District Court Western District of Kentucky, United States Court of Military Appeals, and all Kentucky courts.

A Hardin County native and former Army office in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, Terry graduated from William and Mary in Virginia with an undergraduate degree in government. He received his Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest Law School in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where he graduated with honors.

Do You Have a Possible Legal Issue? Don’t Wait.

By: Mike Pike

imagesI just met with a man who needed an attorney badly. The only problem is, he needed an attorney several years ago and this was our first meeting. Unfortunately, this person procrastinated and now it is too late for him to do much of anything legally. The best lawyer in the world couldn’t help him because he waited too long to seek help. He was extremely frustrated and upset and just wanted someone to listen to his problems and take them seriously.

Most law firms offer a no-obligation, free consultation, including Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike. Don’t hesitate to contact an attorney for a consultation as soon as you think you have a legal issue on your hands.

If you decide to get a consultation, be sure to bring all documents relevant to your issue. The consultation is also a great time to talk about possible costs and ask any questions you may have. Hearing a lawyer’s thoughts on your situation should offer a lot of clarity as to what your next steps should be. While you don’t have to rush into a decision immediately, don’t delay in getting a consultation. It could save you from a lot of future frustration.

 

Attorney Mike Pike

Mike currently is the attorney for the Cities of Radcliff and Vine Grove, advising elected officials, employees, and various city boards on a wide variety of legal matters. A member of the American Bar Association, the Kentucky Bar Association, Hardin County Bar, Meade County Bar, and Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Mike focuses his legal practice on cases concerning personal injury and social security, municipal law, business formation, and estates and probate law. Additionally, Mike oversees the real estate law department for the firm.