This is an Advertisement

Articles Tagged with Kentucky Supreme Court

Published on:

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has found that Virginia law applied in an uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage dispute arising out of a Kentucky tractor-trailer crash. In an unpublished opinion, a Virginia truck driver sued the insurance carrier for another motorist who struck his big rig head-on. The tractor-trailer wreck occurred on Interstate 65 in Jefferson County, Kentucky, in 2009. At the time of the collision, the other motorist was allegedly intoxicated and traveling in the wrong direction on the freeway. Following the accident, the truck driver settled with the at-fault driver’s liability insurer for the full policy limits of $25,000.

After that, the semi-truck driver’s motor vehicle insurer waived its subrogation rights against the other driver.  The trucker then sought $25,000 in UIM benefits from his own auto insurer. The truck driver’s UIM insurer denied his claim because the at-fault driver was not an underinsured motorist according to the definition included in his insurance policy. In addition, the company claimed that Virginia law allowed it to offset the $25,000 payment the truck driver received from the other driver’s insurer against his potential UIM benefits. Because of this, the trucker’s insurer claimed that he was not entitled to receive additional payment as a result of his UIM coverage.

Continue reading

Published on:

In Wright v. Carroll, a woman who was seriously injured in a tractor-trailer crash filed a lawsuit in Elliott County Circuit Court against the driver of the big rig that struck her automobile. In her complaint, the woman accused the semi-truck driver of negligently maintaining the vehicle. She also alleged that the wreck occurred because the truck driver operated the vehicle in a negligent manner when he lost control of the 18-wheeler and entered her driving lane after navigating a blind curve in the road. In the initial trial, the jury sided with the tractor trailer operator, but that verdict was overturned by the Kentucky  Court of Appeals due to improper jury instructions.

According to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, the jurors should not have been instructed on the sudden emergency doctrine, since the tractor-trailer collision did not constitute an emergency that the driver could not have anticipated. As a result, the personal injury case was remanded for a new trial. Following a second trial, jurors again entered a verdict in favor of the truck driver. The trial court denied the woman’s motion for a directed verdict, and she appealed the jury’s decision. The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that the trial court should have granted the woman’s motion and ordered the lower court to hold an additional trial only on the issue of damages. The tractor-trailer driver then sought review by the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Continue reading

Published on:

Earlier this year, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky in Bowling Green refused to certify a question of law to the Kentucky Supreme Court in a tractor-trailer accident case. The case was Meherg v. Pope. The case centered on a semi-truck accident in which the tractor-trailer allegedly struck a stopped car from behind on Interstate 65 in Hart County. The force of the impact apparently caused the stopped car to hit another vehicle that was carrying three people. As a result of the crash, five individuals were reportedly injured, and a child was killed.

About one year after the big rig collision, several of the injured victims filed a gross negligence claim against the truck driver and a respondeat superior claim against the trucking company that employed the truck driver. The doctrine of respondeat superior allows an employer to be held responsible for the negligent acts of an employee when the acts were performed during the course of the worker’s employment. In addition, the plaintiffs accused the trucking company of negligent hiring, training, and supervision of the driver. Three years later, the federal court held that the driver did not commit gross negligence and stated the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate he was reckless. The court also ruled that punitive damages were not warranted in the case. Punitive damages are normally awarded by a court in an effort to punish particularly egregious conduct. They are also designed to deter others from acting similarly in the future.

Since the driver admitted to acting negligently, and the trucking company admitted to respondeat superior liability, the Western District of Kentucky stated a trial would be held on the sole issue of any personal injuries sustained by the plaintiffs as a result of the 18-wheeler accident. The federal court also refused to allow the plaintiffs to offer evidence related to the trucking company’s alleged negligent supervision or hiring of the trucker. According to the federal court, most Kentucky courts had previously refused to hold that a negligent training and supervision claim could survive an employer’s admission of respondeat superior liability. The doctrine of respondeat superior allows an employer to be held responsible for the negligent acts of an employee when the acts were performed during the course of the worker’s employment.

Continue reading

Published on:

Insurance policies can be difficult for a layperson to interpret. There are a number of additional principles that govern insurance contracts, which insurers know, but their insured do not always understand. An experienced personal injury attorney can help make sure that you are not tripped up in a personal injury settlement with an insurer due to confusing policy terms or principles of which you may not be aware.

In a recent case, the Kentucky Supreme Court reviewed an appellate court’s opinion agreeing with the insurance company and against an injured person. In the case, the lower court’s grant of summary judgment dismissed a man’s claim for underinsured motorist coverage on the grounds that the underinsured motorist coverage was the result of a mutual mistake in making the insurance contract. Mutual mistake is a defense that an insurer may raise to show there is no coverage for an accident.

The man argued that the “mutual mistake” defense wasn’t available because the insurer failed to present clear and convincing evidence proving it mistakenly issued underinsured motorist coverage. He also argued that the insurer hadn’t plead mutual mistake with particularity and therefore it waived the defense. He also claimed the trial court should have permitted him to amend his complaint to include statutory bad faith. Continue reading