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Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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By Kurt Maier, Partner
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley LLP

amusement park Who hasn’t enjoyed a great ride at an amusement park in the summer months? It’s a staple of summer fun and entertainment for children, teens and adults. Your trip to an amusement park should be free of worry about accidents and injuries, but it’s becoming all too common to see serious injuries inflicted because of careless operation of amusement park rides.

There certainly are well-maintained amusement parks, and there are also those that are not. You probably won’t be able to tell which one you’ve chosen by looking at them.

Kentucky amusement parks have certainly had cases of serious injuries. The one that almost everyone remembers is the 2007 incident at Six Flags in Louisville (which has since closed). A 16-year-old girl was riding the Superman Tower of Power ride when a cable wrapped around her feet and severed them. The girl’s family sued the park.

At the Louisville Zoo, a small train designed for parents and their children crashed. One man had his leg pinned under the train and had a series of eight surgeries to repair the damage. He had missed 18 months of work at the time of the lawsuit. A small child had disfiguring face injuries, and many others were injured in other ways. The claims were eventually settled.

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By J.A. Sowell, Attorney
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

Snow is beautiful when you’re tucked inside with hot chocolate and have nowhere to go. But that’s not the case for most of us. You may have a doctor’s appointment, work duties or errands to run that demand you leave the house before the snow is gone.

In most cases, businesses do a nice job of getting out and clearing snow and ice from sidewalks and steps to keep their own employees and customers safe. You might wonder what your own duties are at home or at your business. Are you required to clean your sidewalks? What about your steps?

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street-building-construction-industry-300x200When a person who is injured due to another party’s careless conduct files a lawsuit, he or she may expect the matter to be concluded either by a jury trial or by a settlement.

However, a significant number of Kentucky personal injury cases – especially premises liability lawsuits arising from slip and falls, trip and falls, and fall down accidents – are resolved via a motion for summary judgment.

By granting summary judgment, a trial court is saying, in essence, that even if everything the plaintiff says in his or her complaint is true, the defendant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Summary judgment is only appropriate in situations in which no genuine issues of material fact must be resolved in order for the issues to be decided.

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city streetFiling a personal injury lawsuit against a city can be very tricky. If certain rigid procedural requirements are not met, a plaintiff’s case can be dismissed even if a city was clearly negligent.

This is one of many reasons why it is best to consult an attorney as soon as possible after being involved in an accident. Unlike the average citizen, experienced Kentucky premises liability attorneys are well-versed in the area of negligence litigation, including the special rules that apply in cases involving a city.

Facts of the Case

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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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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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picnic table

Under Kentucky law, a person who is injured on the job is entitled to benefits such as temporary and permanent disability payments and medical expenses. Usually, these benefits are less than what the worker would have received in a negligence case against someone other than his or her employer.

Thus, an employee who is hurt at work may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party whose negligence contributed to an injury at work. Of course, the third party has an incentive to assign as much fault as possible to the employer, even though the employer is immune from liability in the negligence case.

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gas station

Attorneys who routinely handle personal injury cases often tell clients that it can take anywhere from a few months to several years for their case to make its way through the courts or settle.

Typically, however, the litigation process does not take anywhere near as long as it did in a case decided in March by the Kentucky’s highest court. In that case, a decade passed between the plaintiff’s initial injury and the court’s decision.

One factor that extended the case’s time in the courts was a change in the applicable law while the case was pending. Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, the court’s decision required their case to, once again, be remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

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wet floor

Places of business owe certain duties to visitors. One of those duties is safe and secure surfaces for walking. Spills can cause hazardous conditions, and businesses owe it to their visitors to clean up spills and similar hazardous conditions as soon as possible.

When a business or property owner breaches the duty of care that it owes to a visitor, the visitor has a right to seek monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the accident. This gas station fall case went to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which sided with the injured person in the lawsuit.

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vicious dog

There is no question that some dogs are more dangerous than others, or that almost any dog is capable of an attack under the right circumstances. What responsibility should the owner of a dog with dangerous propensities – or the owner of any dog, for that matter – have toward the general public?

A Kentucky appellate court addressed this issue recently in a case in which a woman was severely injured by a pack of dogs during a hunting trip.

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