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Articles Posted in Case Law Summaries

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People who must rely on PIP benefits available under a policy of uninsured motorist coverage following a Kentucky hit and run accident are often surprised at how contentious the process of obtaining fair compensation can be.

It might seem that the insured person and the insurance company are “on the same side,” especially if the claimant has been faithfully paying his or her premiums for many years. The truth is that an insurance company is still an insurance company. It does not matter whether a claim is paid out under a UM/UIM policy or a liability policy; the company will still do everything it can to limit the amount paid out.

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pumpkins

In a recent Kentucky premises liability case, a store in which a customer tripped and fell on a pallet underneath a container of pumpkins insisted that the customer’s fall was his own fault. The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment to the store.

Fortunately for the customer, the appellate court understood that the question was not as simple as the store made it out to be. Yes, the large box of pumpkins was clearly visible – but the wooden pallet beneath it was not necessarily noticeable to the customer under the circumstances.

Facts of the Case

In a recent unpublished Kentucky Court of Appeals case, the plaintiff was a man who tripped and fell while shopping for groceries at a store in Lexington. At the time of his fall, the man was carrying a handheld shopping basket that obscured his view of the corner of the pallet upon which he tripped. The accident caused extensive injuries to the plaintiff’s shoulder and knees, causing him to undergo multiple surgeries. He filed a premises liability lawsuit against the store, alleging that his injuries were a direct and proximate result of the store’s negligence and failure to keep the premises safe for business invitees. He sought to recover compensation for his medical costs, his lost earnings (past and future), and his pain and suffering.

The Fayette County Circuit Court granted summary judgment to the defendant and dismissed the plaintiff’s personal injury action.

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review of judgment

When a person is injured due to the negligence of another party, the injured person is entitled to pursue fair compensation for his or her injuries. In determining the amount due to a Tennessee car accident claimant, the court may consider the victim’s past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of ability to enjoy life, permanent impairment, and other factors.

If the case is tried to a jury, the jury members make this determination. If the trial court judge hears the case without a jury, he or she makes the determination.

Either way, if one party or the other is aggrieved by the amount of damages awarded by the trial court, there is the possibility of having an appellate court review the award.

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crutches

Kentucky is a “no fault” insurance state. While this does not mean that a person hurt by another person’s negligence can never seek compensation following a motor vehicle accident, it does provide that certain minimum benefits must be available to those who purchase automobile insurance, without regard to fault.

The idea is that injured individuals who suffer only minor injuries will have their medical expenses paid through their own personal injury protection (PIP) or basic reparations benefits (BRB), thus discouraging lawsuits.

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liability insurance coverageIt is not usual for a company car to be used for purposes that go beyond official work for the employer’s business. But what if the employee doesn’t work for the company any longer, but still has the vehicle? Who is responsible if the former employee gets into an accident in that vehicle? Is the business obligated to provide liability insurance coverage?

In a recent case, a dispute arose as to whether the vehicle owner’s insurance company owed liability coverage for an accident that occurred when the automobile was being used by a former employee for non-business purposes.

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industrial-plant-300x217Mesothelioma can take several forms:  pleural (affecting the lungs), peritoneal (in the abdominal lining), or pericardial (developing in the heart). The prognosis is not good – most people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma have only six months to two years to live.

All three forms of the disease are believed to be caused by the victim’s exposure to asbestos. If you are considering filing an asbestos case, know that exposure even as far back as 50 years ago can still cause mesothelioma today. Most often, exposure occurs in an industrial setting. Asbestos can be found in construction materials, buildings, and other products. Firefighters, mechanics, shipyard workers, pipe fitters, and demolition crew members are common victims of mesothelioma.

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horse

Those who lack familiarity with the inner workings of the civil justice system may be under the impression that a lawsuit is either settled or it goes to trial in front of a jury. However, the fact is that not everyone who files suit gets their day in court, so to speak.

Many cases are decided by a judge via a process known as summary judgment. When a judge grants summary judgment, he or she is essentially saying that, even if the plaintiff is given the benefit of the doubt as to questionable evidence, the law will not allow him or her to be successful at trial.

Usually, summary judgment terminates a civil case. However, a party against whom such an order is entered may appeal the trial judge’s decision, and the court of appeals could see things differently. Continue reading

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clock

Compared to some states, Tennessee has a very short statute of limitations for the filing of claims involving personal injury: just one year. If a claim is not filed within this time period, the plaintiff’s case will be dismissed regardless of its merits.

In addition to filing his or her claim in court within one year of the accident, the plaintiff must also serve a summons and a copy of the complaint on the defendant within a certain time period.

A recent Tennessee personal injury case illustrates the difficulties that a claimant faced when his opponent not only moved out of the county but also filed for bankruptcy protection.

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truck-on-highway-KY-300x225Generally, when someone is hurt due to another party’s negligence, the injured person has a right to seek fair compensation in a court of law. When the alleged breach of duty was by a governmental entity or government employee, however, different rules apply.

At common law, the government could not be held liable for injuries caused by negligence. This was because of the “sovereign immunity” doctrine, which held that “the king can do no wrong.”

While it is now possible to file suit against the government and be awarded money damages under some circumstances, such cases tend to be much more difficult than if the defendant had been a business or individual without government ties.

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mallThose who own or operate businesses that are open to the public have certain responsibilities to keep their premises safe for those who come onto the property for a business purpose, such as to shop at a store or eat at a restaurant.

When this duty is breached, an injured person has the right to seek monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering associated with the accident.

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