Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

April 2014 Archives

Closing Michigan's Motorcycle Temporary Permit Loophole To Increase Motorcycle Safety

Last Tuesday both houses of the Michigan Legislature passed a law that limits the number of times motorcycle operators can obtain a Temporary Instruction Permit without completing the skills test required for the full motorcycle endorsement on their Michigan Drivers License. The permit was designed to allow new motorcycle riders to take practice runs and gain the experience necessary to drive a motorcycle before taking the skills test. The Temporary Instruction Permit requires the new operators to wear a helmet, ride only during the day, and ride with a fully endorsed adult motorcycle operator; however, many people would only obtain the Temporary Permit and keep renewing it to avoid having to take the skills test. It has been difficult for Police to enforce the riding restrictions on the Temporary Permits and this has encouraged many people to repeatedly acquire the Temporary Permit rather than the full endorsement. This new law is headed for the Governor's desk for his signature and will limit persons to 2 Temporary Permits over 10 years time. 

Increased use of Party Buses - does the trend increase or decrease safety on Michigan Roads?

The start of N.H.L. playoffs, upcoming graduation parties, prom season, and the increased use of "party buses" across the nation reminds one of the tragic accident involving Red Wings' Vladimir Konstantinov in 1997. Almost seventeen years ago, Konstantinov's limo driver blacked out, crossed three lanes of traffic, jumped a curb, and hit a tree at a high rate of speed. Unbuckled in the back of the limo, Konstantinov, Sergei Mnatsakanov (Red Wings therapist), and Slava Fetisov (Red Wing Player) were all severely injured when they slammed into the interior of the limo as it was abruptly stopped by the stout tree. The Red Wings were celebrating their Stanley Cup Championship and unfortunately got into a limousine driven by Richard Gnida whose license had been suspended at the time for drunk driving. Konstantinov's promising career as an all-star defense-man abruptly ended and he is still severely debilitated with a traumatic brain injury. Sergei Mnatsakonov is permanently paralyzed from the waist down. 

Wrong-Way Drunk Driver Kills Motorist in Kalamazoo on U.S. 131

Toxicology tests confirmed that drunk driver Jeremy Smeltzer who drove the wrong way in the southbound lane of U.S. 131 near Kalamazoo on April 15, 2014 and killed a driver driving the correct direction on the express-way had an blood alcohol content that was more than 2 1/2 times the legal limit for driving of 0.08 (it measured 0.214 percent). The Michigan State Police laboratory test was released Friday, May 16th, 2014 to the Kalamazoo Gazette after they filed a request under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. The Michigan State Police also released the trooper's car video that captured an image of the drunk driver speeding past the trooper's squad car seconds before causing the deadly crash. This video is very disturbing because it vividly captures the senseless moment before two people were violently killed due to the utter stupidity of a drunk driver. The video also reminds us of the extremely dangerous situation that our Michigan State Troopers must face in the moments after such a fiery crash. 

Guardian Appointments for Severely Injured Auto Accident Victims

Sadly, it is sometimes necessary to appoint a guardian for person that has been severely injured in an automobile accident in Michigan. Oftentimes, a guardian is necessary because the adult victim has suffered a traumatic brain injury that has temporarily or permanently caused the victim to be incapable of making day-to-day decisions for them selves. Michigan law defines an "incapacitated individual" one "who is impaired by reason of mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, or other cause, not including minority, to the extent of lacking sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate informed decisions." Mich. Compiled Laws 700.1105. Other times, the appointment of a guardian is necessary because the car crash victim is less than 18 years old and needs an adult to stand-in-the-place of the minor in the eyes of the law. When a negligent motorist causes the death of an auto accident victim, then the Probate Court will appoint a personal representative for the estate of the deceased victim. Michigan Probate Courts appoint guardians and personal representative under the rules and procedures found in the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC); however, it is the Michigan Circuit Courts that conduct trials for establishing damage awards for the injured or deceased accident victims. 

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483 Little Lake Drive, Suite 200
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