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Articles Tagged with truck

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

Chances are, we’ve all been stopped on a road by a person holding a brightly colored flag as roadwork commenced in front of us. It’s so common it’s unremarkable, and expected whenever there is construction on roads (which seems like most of the year in Kentucky).

In a recent case we handled in Edmondson County, a stopped truck didn’t have a spotter or flagger directing traffic around a cement truck blocking the roadway, and it nearly resulted in the death of our client. The general contractor did not have temporary traffic control devises in place and the concrete truck company did not train its drivers on what to do when the required devices are not present.

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delay sign

Some of the first concepts that law students are taught involve identifying the potential parties to a lawsuit and the appropriate court to file their claim. For instance, in order to seek relief in a court of law, a potential plaintiff must have standing. This means that the party has a sufficient connection to the issue to support that person’s participation in the legal proceedings at issue.

It’s a simple enough idea. But what happens when a plaintiff dies before the matter is resolved? Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure 25.01 states that, unless the claim is extinguished by the plaintiff’s death, another interested party (such as the successor or representative of the plaintiff) may file a motion to be substituted as the plaintiff.

A Tennessee appellate court recently had an occasion to review a trial court’s decision regarding this issue in a motor vehicle collision case.

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A close up of a tractor trailer as it speeds down a road. The bottom of the truck and two tires are shown.

In lawsuits involving motor vehicle accidents, it is not unusual for there to be multiple defendants. Sometimes, this is because two or more drivers’ negligence may have contributed to the accident. It can also happen when a driver was on the job at the time of the accident. In this tractor-trailer accident case, just getting to the heart of who was responsible was difficult.

Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer can be held liable for the tortious acts of a servant, agent or employee. This includes negligent driving. Discovering all of the possible defendants in a case can be a complex endeavor that may take some time. This is one of the reasons that it is best to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.

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433203_traffic_light sxchu username brokenartsIn an unpublished opinion, a couple was apparently injured in a Warren County car accident case that involved three vehicles. According to the couple, they were hurt when their truck was struck from behind by a minivan that was rear-ended by another car while stopped at a traffic light. As a result of their harm, the couple filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver of the minivan and the car operator in Warren County Circuit Court.

Prior to trial, the couple resolved their claims against the driver of the car through mediation. Because of this, the motorist did not participate in a subsequent jury trial between the couple and the minivan driver. Still, jurors were provided with apportionment instructions related to both the minivan operator and the car driver at the close of trial. Following trial, the jury issued a verdict stating the driver of the car breached his duty to maintain reasonable control of his vehicle. In addition, the jury absolved the minivan operator of liability. The Warren County Circuit Court then issued a final judgment dismissing the couple’s complaint against the minivan driver.

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19435_spare_tyre sxchu username crondeauIn Helton v. Lelion, a couple sued a driver who was operating a vehicle in which a tire became loose and hit their vehicle. The couple initially filed a negligence lawsuit in Wolfe County Circuit Court against the driver who lost her tire. The allegedly negligent motorist with the loose tire apparently did not carry liability insurance when the accident occurred. Because of this, the injured driver also demanded the full policy limits of her uninsured motorist coverage from her own auto insurer, as well as attorneys’ fees and interest.

The defendants removed the uninsured motorist case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in Lexington based on diversity of citizenship. Under 28 U.S.C. Section 1332(a), a federal court may exercise such jurisdiction when the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 and the parties are citizens of different states. In response, the couple filed a motion to remand the case back to a Kentucky state court. Although the plaintiffs agreed that the parties were diverse, they claimed that federal jurisdiction was improper because the amount in controversy did not exceed the statutory minimum. The injured driver also signed a stipulation that the entirety of the damages she sought were less than $75,000.

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Legal News GavelFinding out what insurance coverage is available for you after a motor vehicle accident can be challenging and complex. In a recent unpublished case, a Kentucky court had ruled an insurance company had no duty to defend or indemnify a man under a liability policy issued to a construction company. The construction company did highway mowing and landscaping, and its entire fleet of trucks was insured under a Tower liability policy. This policy excluded coverage for injuries that could be subject to worker’s compensation or a similar law.

An accident happened when an employee of the construction company fell from one of its pick-up trucks and died from his injuries. The truck was being operated by Brent Horn. Horn was not an employee of the company, but he had permission to operate the vehicle.

Afterward, the decedent’s estate filed a wrongful death action against Horn, who believed the liability policy for the trucks covered this type of action. He asked the insurance company to defend and indemnify him, which means paying any damages awarded by the jury. The insurer filed a complaint asking the court to decide whether it had to defend and indemnify Horn. The Court ruled that the insurance contract created coverage for Horn, however, because Horn was not an employee there was no coverage. Continue reading