This is an Advertisement

Articles Posted in Wrongful death

Published on:

rodeo riderThe obvious defendant in a motor vehicle accident case is the person whose negligent driving caused the wreck. However, for a variety of reasons, it is possible that other defendants may be named in some lawsuits. In a fatal drunk driving accident, the plaintiff may want to sue those besides the driver who the plaintiff believes is partially responsible for the state of intoxication the driver was in.

It is usually to the plaintiff’s advantage to name as many potential defendants as possible in order to increase the chances of a settlement or judgment, especially if some defendants may be be uninsured, underinsured, or immune from suit.

Continue reading

Published on:

Mother and her son looking outDepending upon the law of the state in which a person dies, it may be possible for his or her survivors to file a wrongful death lawsuit, a survival action, or both. Typically, state law also dictates who has the right to file suit, the appropriate lawsuit(s), the types of damages that may be sought, and how the proceeds will be divided among the various interested parties.

Difficulties sometimes arise in identifying the proper party to bring the suit. When this happens, it is up to the trial court judge to apply the law to the particular facts of the case. If any litigant is dissatisfied with the judge’s ruling, he or she may seek relief in the court of appeals, or thereafter the state supreme court.

Continue reading

Published on:

glass case, antiques, premesis liability, wrongful death, injuriesWhen a person is injured on someone else’s property, or when a loved one dies as a result of an accident on another party’s property, there is the possibility of filing a premises liability lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

However, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. Business and landowners are very resistant to a finding of liability and will fight hard for a dismissal of the case if at all possible.

Continue reading

Published on:

product liability lawsuit

Where do you file a product liability lawsuit?

Most of the time, the answer is simple. You file it where the actionable issue occurred. If you live in Kentucky and that’s where the accident happened, it’s easy to determine you file your lawsuit in Kentucky.

Sometimes, there are multiple possibilities for where to file a suit. If the opposing party doesn’t like the plaintiff’s choice of court, the opposing party can ask for a dismissal of the case or, in some situations, a transfer. If the plaintiff disagrees with the trial court’s order regarding jurisdiction or choice of forum, the plaintiff can file an appeal.

Once the proper court has been decided, another possible issue is that of choice of law. Typically, this question arises when an issue could possibly be resolved according to the law of two or more states. However, sometimes, the choice of law question involves the law of differing nations.

Continue reading

Published on:

Black and White empty intersection with crosswalks

By Kyle Roby, Attorney
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

At one time, a person injured by the negligence of a governmental entity was without a remedy, due to the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Basically a carryover from the English common law under which “the King could do no wrong,” the doctrine precluded a would-be plaintiff from asserting what might otherwise have been a meritorious claim against a state or local government.

Now, however, most governmental entities have consented to be sued through various tort claims acts. Such acts set forth the procedure for filing a claim, the statute of limitations, and the maximum damages that may be sought. It is important to note that, since such actions are purely statutory in nature, an injured person must strictly comply with all procedural requirements, or else his or her suit will likely be dismissed.

Even when all requirements are met, it is ultimately up to the courts to determine whether a particular claim is valid.

Continue reading

Published on:

traffic2Most drivers carry at least some uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, but many do not understand the difficulties that may arise when it comes time to make a claim under this coverage. Unfortunately, simply having an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist does not automatically result in a payout by the insurance company, even when the insured’s injuries are catastrophic or fatal.

Instead, the insured person (or his or her family, in the event of a wrongful death), must negotiate a settlement with the insurance company or proceed to trial against the uninsured person and obtain a verdict. Even then, the insurance company has a right to appeal the verdict on the grounds that it was improper or excessive. This is exactly what happened in the recent Tennessee case of Monypeny v. Kheiv.

Continue reading

Published on:

_damoiselle_recycling-bins morguefile damoiselleThe Kentucky case Estate of Ferrell v. J & W Recycling, Inc. involved a semi truck and car accident in which both drivers died. The two drivers were killed when an automobile and a tractor-trailer collided in Greenup County, Kentucky, in 2011. The driver of the semi-truck was apparently operating the commercial vehicle during the course of his employment for a recycling company. When the accident occurred, the recycling business carried commercial general liability insurance. Still, the company’s insurer refused to honor the policy and indemnify the business after the fatal accident.

Following the tragic wreck, the wife of the automobile driver filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the recycling business. According to her complaint, the accident resulted in part from improper truck loading by a forklift operator. After nearly two years of litigation, the man’s wife and the recycling company agreed upon a settlement in which the business admitted fault for the deadly collision. As part of the agreement, the decedent’s wife accepted the recycling company’s rights under its liability insurance policy. When she filed a petition with the court to “adjudge the existence of coverage” under the policy the insurer sought to move the case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky based upon diversity jurisdiction.

28 U.S.C. § 1332 allows a party to a lawsuit to remove a case from state court where the parties are residents of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000. The Federal Declaratory Judgment Act, however, allows a federal court to refuse jurisdiction where appropriate. After examining several factors, the federal court declined to hear the case.

Continue reading

Published on:

airbag2On Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report indicating that motorists who drive vehicles with airbags made by Takata could be in grave danger. The airbags are designed to inflate and protect motorists in the event of an injury, but instead, they can explode, causing the death of the driver. In at least four instances, motorists have been killed in accidents in which their airbag exploded, covering them in shrapnel. Others have been severely injured. The problems are so dangerous the NHTSA is asking people not to carry passengers in the front seats of the recalled vehicles – but you may not even want to drive these vehicles after reading about these problems.

Most of the vehicles are older models, some going back to 2001. Motorists should check their vehicles as soon as possible. The NHTSA recall affects about 4.7 million vehicles throughout the U.S., though safety experts have put the number at 12 million world wide. The recall includes vehicles made by  Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, BMW and General Motors. If you are unsure if your car has been affected by the recall, you can enter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on your registration paperwork and enter it at this web site to check: http://www.safercar.gov/. All drivers nationally can use this, including drivers in Kentucky and Tennessee who are concerned with this product recall.

You can read the full report and find specifics on the recall here.

Continue reading

Published on:

file451236551507 morguefile username jadeIn Big Spring Assembly of God, Inc. v. Stevenson, a youth minister for a church organized a camping trip with several teens. At one point during the trip, the minister took two children to his apartment in his personal automobile. While returning to the campground, the minister apparently allowed a 13-year-old to drive the vehicle. Sadly, the child lost control of the car and caused a wreck. The child died as a result of his injuries.

Before law enforcement officials arrived, the minister allegedly asked the surviving youth to state the minister was driving at the time of the fatal accident. The child initially complied with the minister’s request but later admitted to police that the deceased 13-year-old was behind the wheel when the crash took place. After that, the estate of the deceased child filed a vicarious liability lawsuit against the church that employed the minister and sought damages as a result of the organization’s alleged negligent hiring, retention, and supervision of the man. The decedent’s parents also sought damages for loss of consortium.

A trial court found that both the minister and the child committed negligence as a matter of law and asked jurors to apportion damages over the child’s death. Since Kentucky is a pure comparative fault state, the amount of damages an at-fault defendant is required to pay will normally be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the injured or deceased person. Although the jury determined the church was not vicariously responsible for the minister’s negligence because he was acting outside of the scope of his job duties when the deadly wreck occurred, it did hold the organization liable for its negligent hiring, retention, and supervision of him. As a result, jurors awarded the child’s estate $1 million in damages and attributed 80 percent of the fault to the minister’s actions. Since the jury found that the child was 20 percent to blame for his wrongful death, the damages award was reduced to about $800,000. The child’s parents also received approximately $60,000 for their loss of consortium claims.

Continue reading

Published on:

ambulance-822657-m-1In a 2013 unpublished appellate case, a woman’s estate appealed after the circuit court granted summary judgment on some of the estate’s claims and directed the verdict on the remaining wrongful death claims. The case arose from the death of Cheryl Powers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Before dying, Powers called 911. A dispatcher took the call. Powers couldn’t speak clearly, but she tried to give her address before the call was disconnected. The dispatcher called the number back, but it went to the woman’s voice mail. The dispatcher called the police dispatcher instead of an ambulance and explained that she thought the woman had given a particular address.

The dispatcher replayed the 911 call and called the police dispatcher again, saying that she thought that the woman had said “Vista Apartments.” The police dispatcher sent an officer to the first address, but the first address did not exist. The police dispatcher told the officer there was no additional information and thereby “cleared” the 911 call. Therefore, no emergency services responded to the woman’s 911 call, and she died. On the following morning, the woman’s boyfriend found her dead in the hallway. Continue reading