Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Driving Tips for Dealing with Tailgaters

Friday, October 25th, 2013

There is nothing more awful than the feeling that you have when you look into your review mirror only to see the vehicle behind you practically glued to your bumper. Not only is tailgating nerve wracking for the driver being followed too closely, but it is also extremely dangerous for motorists and their passengers. Tailgating or driving too closely behind another car is a major cause of rear-end collisions. If you are driving and find that you are being tailgated, you want to take action to get the tailgater off your bumper. The following are a list of tips to help you ditch the tailgater and get out of this precarious situation safely:

  • Remain calm: Often when motorists notice a driver following too closely they become upset.
  • Determine whether you can change lanes in order to lose the tailgater.
  • If you cannot change lanes, try driving in the right most portion of the lane to encourage the tailgater to pass you.
  • Drive at a constant speed. If the tailgater is driving too closely, he or she may be doing so as a way to motivate you to drive faster. If you keep your speed steady you will make it easier for the tailgater to pass you.
  • Try to increase the distance between you and the car in front of you. This will give you time to slow down before having to slam on the brakes in the event you need to stop suddenly. This will also hopefully give the tailgater additional time so that he or she can brake safely without crashing into your vehicle.
  • If you cannot ditch the tailgater by switching lanes, try exiting the road.
  • A last resort you may also want to try turning on your hazards to alert the driver that you cannot drive any faster
  • Try to stay calm if the driver attempts to communicate his or her displeasure at your riving speed with hand gestures, use of the horn, etc.

Just as important as what you should do if you are being tailgated, is what you should not do. The following is list of things you should not do if you being tailgated:

  • Flash your brake lights or brake intentionally
  • Slow down only to speed up in an effort to increase the distance between you and the offending vehicle
  • Drive erratically or in an unsafe manner in an effort to encourage the offending driver to change lanes
  • Use hand signals of any type
  • Adopt the attitude that you need to teach another driver a lesson

Not only will the above not help dissuade the offending vehicle from following to close, it may actually have the opposite effect. You do not want to trigger a case of road rage in a motorist that is already driving aggressively.

Keep in mind that you are driving too closely if you cannot come to a safe stop if the driver in front of you were to slam on the brakes. It is generally thought that drivers should leave a 2 second space between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them during dry, daytime driving conditions. This gap should be increased to at least 3 seconds at night and 4 seconds during poor weather conditions.

If you have been injured in an automobile collision you need an experienced Kansas auto accident attorney. With over 35 years of experience, attorney Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices, is passionate about helping injury victims obtain the compensation they deserve. To schedule your free consultation call us today at (785) 843-9460. You can also visit us online. We look forward to providing you with exceptional legal service.

What You Need to Know about Contesting a Will in Kansas

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Losing a loved one can be a very difficult event for a family. This delicate time can be made even more trying if you believe that your loved one’s will does not accurately set forth his or her wishes. If you are considering filing a case to have a loved one’s will set aside, here is what you need to know about will contests in Kansas.

Who can contest a will in Kansas?

In Kansas only an heir or a beneficiary to a will can file a will contest with the probate court. An heir is a person, usually a relative of the deceased, who would be entitled to an inheritance if a will did not exist or if the will is deemed to be invalid. A beneficiary on the other hand, is a person who is named in the will and is due to receive a portion of the deceased’s estate. For example, Wife dies and in her will she leaves her entire estate to her two children. Her husband is to receive nothing. Per Kansas law her husband would be considered an “heir” because he would have the right to receive a portion of the Wife’s estate, however is not listed to receive any of the Wife’s estate in the will. The only beneficiaries would be Wife’s two children.

When can a will be contested?

A will can be contested for various reasons or “grounds”. The main grounds for a will contest fall into one of following three areas:

  • Deceased lacked testamentary capacity. In order to be able to execute a will a testator needs to have the necessary mental capacity—which includes knowing his or her assets and heirs. If the testator has a mental illness which robs him of the knowledge of this necessary information, then it may be possible to have his will set aside.
  • Lack of compliance with execution requirements.  In order for a will to be valid it must have been properly executed. For example, a will that was not witnessed by two witness may be able to be set aside for failing to comply with execution requirements.
  • Fraud, coercion, duress, and undue influence. These categories are all lumped together because these grounds produce wills that are not the product of the testator’s wishes but that of a meddling third party.

Do I need to hire an attorney to contest a will in Kansas?

Under Kansas law, an individual may represent his or her own interests, though it is highly advisable for a person to hire an attorney that is experienced in the area of probate law. Probate law is a complex area of law and contesting a will is no simple feat. A knowledgeable probate attorney will not only thoroughly review your case with you but also make sure you understand the possible risks and rewards associated with filing a contest. For example, in some instances a contestor may have a valid case to have the will set aside, based on one of the aforementioned grounds. However, if the amount the contestor would receive is far less than the cost of pursuing the case, then it is up to the contestor to decide how he or she wants to proceed.

Are there any time limits for contesting a will?

Yes. Kansas law requires that an heir or beneficiary must file his or her contest no more than four months from the date of first publication to the creditors. This deadline is shortened to a mere 30 days if the identity of all creditors is known. Either way, there is not a lot of a time for an heir or beneficiary to file his or her contest with the court. This another reason why anyone who is considering filing a contest hire an experienced probate attorney. Failure to meet a filing deadline could result in the contest not being able to be heard by the court.

If you feel that your loved one’s will does not accurately represent his or her wishes, and you would like to contest it, contact Kansas attorney Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices at (785) 843-9460. You can also visit us online to schedule your free consultation.  During your initial consultation, we will thoroughly review your case with you and advise you of your legal options. With over 35 years of experiences, trust your probate matters to attorney Charles E. Whitman and the Whitman Law Offices.

Kansas Motorists: Are you Safe on the Road?

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Each day, people spend a considerable amount of time either driving a vehicle or riding in a vehicle as a passenger. Whether it is traveling to work, picking up young children from school or sports practices, or even a trip to the grocery store, the time spent on the road can really add up. With so much time spent driving, it is no wonder why so many drivers try to multi-task while driving. Despite the fact that a large percentage of drivers engage in these driving “extra-curricular activities” on a regular basis, it still leaves an even larger percentage of drivers feeling a bit uneasy on the roads, and rightfully so.

Distracted driving is not only a risky behavior, it can also be deadly. Motorists who are distracted have an increased likelihood of being involved in accidents. It is estimated that more than nine people are killed each day on U.S. roadways in motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver. The number of people injured in distracted driver related accidents exceeds a 1,000 people per day.

One of most popular driving extracurricular activities has recently become talking on a cell phone. However, talking on a phone is not the only behavior that can distract a driver. There are a multitude of activities that drivers engage in each day that either take a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off of the wheel or mind off of the task at hand. The following are some not-so “innocent” activities that can interfere with a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle:

  • Talking to passengers
  • Eating or drinking
  • Watching a video
  • Managing in car technologies, such as using a navigation system
  • Watching or trying to tend to children and their needs
  • Grooming, such as applying make-up or combing hair
  • Reading or using a map
  • Adjusting a cd player, radio or MP3 player
  • Watching or communicating with children
  • Writing and sending text messages
  • Emailing or using the internet on a cell phone, laptop, or tablet.

Texting while driving has become such a distracting and thus hazardous activity, that 47 states and the District of Columbia have put into place some type of law either restricting or banning the practice of texting while operating a motor vehicle. Both Kansas and Missouri are states that have such laws in place. Only three states have no laws in place that ban or restrict texting while driving. These states include Arizona, Montana and South Carolina. The states that do have laws on the books regarding texting and driving are far from uniform. For example, in Kansas it is illegal for all drivers to text while driving, whereas in Missouri, texting is only banned for “novice” drivers or drivers under the age of 21.

Texting while driving is considered one of the most distracting activities that a driver can engage in because it requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from a driver. Since texting and driving is against the law, Kansas drivers need to pull off the road if they want to read or send a text message. There are two exceptions to the relatively new law. Drivers are allowed to read emergency traffic and weather alerts and to report a crime. Otherwise, all texting is banned while the motorist is on the road. This includes if the vehicle is stopped at a red light or stop sign, or if the driver is at a standstill in traffic.

The sad fact about car accidents is that the vast majority are preventable. Nearly all motorists believe that texting and driving are a dangerous combination. Yet almost half of those people will admit to texting will driving. Remember that no text is worth causing injury or even death to you, your passengers and your fellow motorists. Driving is one the most dangerous activities that most people engage in on a daily basis. Do your best to make sure that the road is a safer place.

If you have been hurt or injured in a motor vehicle accident as the result of a distracted driver you need the assistance of a seasoned Kansas personal injury attorney. With over 35 years of experience, attorney Charles E. Whitman of the Whitman Law Offices is dedicated to helping accident victims. Call us today at (785) 843-9460 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation. Our office is conveniently located in downtown Lawrence. However, if your injuries prevent you from traveling, arrangements can be made to meet at your home. Our team of compassionate professionals will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve.