Wrongful Death Suit Will Soon Be Filed in Fatal Hit-and-Run Accident
A 22-year-old man will soon be facing a wrongful death lawsuit in a hit-and-run accident that occurred on May 3, 2012. A 24-year-old pregnant woman had been called by a friend to come help her on the side of the road with her car that had stopped running around 1:30 a.m. While they were investigating the car, a 45-year-old neighbor came home from working a late shift and offered to get some gas from his lawnmower to put in the car’s gas tank. The three people got the car running again and were hugging goodbye when the 22-year-old hit the pregnant woman and the neighbor in an SUV. Both adults and the woman’s unborn child were killed.
To make matters worse, the driver that caused this fatal car crash did not stop at the scene. Witnesses say they saw him stop further down the road to look at the damage on the front of his car, but he got back in and drove away instead of returning to the accident scene. He abandoned the SUV and a little while later and told his roommates that he had hit someone with his car. Police were able to match hair and blood on the front of the SUV to the victims and they traced the vehicle back to the driver’s parents, who own the car.
Much to the dismay of many, the police did not arrest the driver immediately. Instead they waited for a grand jury to indict him. The attorney for the female victim believes that was the right thing to do because it gave police more time to interview witnesses and collect information that might have been harder to obtain if the suspect had been arrested sooner. The driver has now faces numerous charges including three counts of vehicular homicide due to intoxication and reckless conduct and leaving the scene of the accident.
Although this accident occurred in Tennessee, some aspects of the case are also relevant to victims of Kentucky car accidents as well. The attorney for the pregnant victim said they will be filing a wrongful death lawsuit soon because there is a one-year statute of limitations on this type of lawsuit. Kentucky residents who wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit have two years from the date of death or one year after a representative has been appointed to file in court.
Because the vehicle was owned by the driver’s parents, it is possible that they could be held partially responsible for the car accident. Called “negligent entrustment,” this theory also applies to Kentucky car owners. If the owner of the vehicle gives permission to someone to drive their car, they may be held partially liable for any damages or injuries that occur in an accident. For instance, the man who caused the accident in the case above had been charged with driving under the influence in 2009, so his parents were aware there was a possibility he would drink and drive again. Because they knew this might happen and let him drive the car anyway, negligent entrustment would most likely apply to this case if the car accident had occurred in Kentucky.
Steve Frederick, an Indiana and Kentucky car accident attorney, has helped numerous people who have been injured or lost a family member in a car accident. He can handle insurance claims for property damage and personal injury losses as well as any legal action that may become necessary.
Family of hit-and-run victim preparing wrongful death suit; wbir.com; Brittany Bailey; June 7, 2012
Man accused in fatal hit-and-run had previous DUI arrest; knoxnews.com; Matt Lakin; June 7, 2012