May 13, 2013

Fiery Kentucky Truck Accident Results in Fatalities, Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Earlier this year, six people from Wisconsin were tragically killed in a truck accident involving an SUV and a semi. The crash occurred on I-65 near Elizabethtown, Kentucky, about 15 miles from where a 2010 truck accident killed 11 people in a van. In the most recent accident, the SUV caught fire after being rear-ended by the semi, and only two children survived.

In April, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed by an attorney representing four of the victims who were killed. Even though the victims were all from Wisconsin, the lawsuit was filed in Kentucky because that was where the accident took place. While this arrangement seems very inconvenient for those affected by the accident, it is fairly standard across the U.S. for any legal action to be taken in the same state in which the accident occurred. Because most people do not have connections with out-of-state attorneys, many personal injury law offices can recommend someone in another state. If the referring attorney stays involved in the case, they may act as co-counsel to the other firm.

The lawsuit named both the driver of the semi and the company he works for as defendants. The lawsuit alleges that the truck driver had been on the road without a break longer than federal regulations allow, and that he kept two sets of log books to keep regulators from finding out. The lawsuit most likely claims that the company he worked for knew he was doing this and perhaps even encouraged the behavior to decrease his downtime. Their claim is certainly strengthened by the fact that the company and the driver have both been declared imminent hazards by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and are prohibited from moving freight. An investigation by the agency in March determined that the driver was indeed driving longer than he should and that the company knew about it and didn’t stop him.

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April 3, 2013

Are Your Surgical Procedures Being Determined by Salespeople?

When consulting a surgeon about an upcoming procedure, you assume that he is making decisions with your best health in mind. The method of surgery to be used should be the safest, most effective one available. However, according to a recent medical malpractice lawsuit, this may not be the case.

In Washington, a 67-year-old man went to a medical center for a prostatectomy and was told he would be having the latest and greatest robotic surgery. He ended up with a surgery that took more than twice as long as it should have and numerous complications, including incontinence, damage to his kidney and lung, and a blood infection. It wasn’t because the surgeon opted not to use the new technology. It was because the surgeon had never used the new technology by himself. The widow of the patient, who died four years later, has sued the company that made the robotic surgical device for her husband’s injuries, and apparently she is not the first one.

Just like all other for-profit companies, the goal of medical device manufacturers is to make money. The difference is that their products can injure or kill people if they are sold to those who don’t know how to use them. And that seems to be what happened in this case. Sales representatives are commission-based, so the more devices they sell, the more money they make. Therefore their interest lies in making the sale rather than making sure the doctors are properly trained on how to use the devices. Emails from the manufacturer’s sales staff seem to point to this fact. In one email, a sales manager wrote “Don’t let proctoring or credentialing get in our way,” which means he wants his staff to keep selling the products and not worry about training the surgeons who would be using them. While the responsibility of making sure surgeons can perform their duties ultimately lies with the hospital that employs them, it seems that sales representatives have more influence on the amount of training given than they really should.

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February 4, 2013

Recent Bus Crashes Highlight Potential Dangers of Chartered Traveling

Within the last few days, there have been two bus accidents involving charter buses that injured numerous people. The first happened in Boston, Massachusetts, and involved a bus filled with high school students returning from an outing at Harvard. The bus driver allegedly got lost and was attempting to use his GPS when the bus crashed into a low-hanging overpass, injuring 35 people. The second accident happened a day a later and across the country in California. In that accident, a speeding charter bus hit a car, flipped over, and landed on a pickup truck. Eight people have been confirmed dead, and the total may rise to ten as the wreckage is cleared and additional victims are found. About 36 others were injured.

When you hire a charter bus for an excursion, you assume that the drivers are well-trained, the buses have been properly maintained, and that you will arrive at your destination and back home safely, without the hassle of driving yourself. Unfortunately this is not always the case. In the first accident the driver admitted he was lost and was paying attention to his GPS instead of watching the roads. As a result, he missed the signs warning of the low overpass and many people were injured. Investigators say the driver will most likely face charges in the accident and they will try to determine if he was driving longer than federal laws allow. If that is the case, he may be liable for the injuries his passengers sustained, and the company may be partially at fault if they scheduled him to drive longer than allowed.

It appears that speed was a major factor in the fatal California accident. Investigators are still trying to determine why the bus was going so fast. The driver, who survived the accident, said there was something wrong with the brakes, so that will definitely be considered. A brake issue could mean that the bus company may be partially responsible for the crash if the bus had not been maintained properly; or a product liability issue might make the manufacturer of the bus at least partially liable if there was a defect that caused the brakes to malfunction.

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October 1, 2012

Indiana City Worker Will Not Go to Jail for Fatal Truck Accident

In May, 2010, traffic was stopped on State Road 60 near Sellersburg, Indiana. The cause, as is often the case in spring and summer, was ongoing road construction. Unfortunately, one driver did not stop. To make matters worse, he was driving a large garbage truck. He crashed into five cars, killing one 19-year-old girl.

The truck driver, Roger Crum, faced criminal charges because of the truck accident, including multiple counts of felony criminal recklessness and homicide. When questioned by police about the accident, he told them he did not see the flagger or the road work signs. He admitted to police that he had taken prescription pain killers before getting behind the wheel of the truck. However when he was tested for driving under the influence, no drugs or alcohol were found.

Rather than going to trial, Mr. Crum pleaded guilty to the felony criminal recklessness counts and the homicide charge was reduced to misdemeanor criminal recklessness. He avoided jail time with his guilty plea and reduced sentence. He will be on probation for four-and-a-half years. Family members were very dissatisfied with the sentence, and grudgingly agreed to the deal. Because the drugs were not found in the driver’s system, they were afraid if they went to trial that he wouldn’t receive any punishment. In addition to the probation, Mr. Crum’s commercial driver’s license was suspended for the duration of his probation. He also lost his personal driver’s license for one year.

In addition to the criminal charges that were brought against Mr. Crum, a civil lawsuit was filed on behalf of the deceased victim against the City of Jeffersonville, who employed Mr. Crum at the time of the accident. The city had already terminated Mr. Crum shortly after the accident because he failed to notify them that he was taking the prescription pain killers, which may have prevented him from being allowed to drive the truck at the time of the accident. Even though the city claimed they were unaware that the driver had taken the drugs before driving a city vehicle, they still agreed to settle with the victim’s estate for an undisclosed amount. The wrongful death lawsuit allegedly had asked for $700,000 in damages.

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September 24, 2012

FDA Believes Product Designed to Help Infants may be

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has amended its warning regarding a product that has now been linked to the deaths of seven infants. The product, manufactured in St. Louis, MO, is called Simply Thick. Simply Thick, as the name implies, is an additive used to make liquids thicker. It was created for use in breast milk or baby formula to help infants who have trouble swallowing.

In May 2011, the FDA warned that the product should not be used for premature infants born before 37 weeks who were still hospitalized or had been recently released because it could cause inflamed intestines, or necrotizing enterolocolitis (NEC). NEC can result in an infant requiring surgery to remove part of the intestine, a narrowing of the intestine that may cause blockage, or even death. At the time of the 2011 warning, two premature infants had died from NEC after being sent home from the hospital with the recommendation to use Simply Thick. Since then, 22 more infants have become ill, including one full-term infant, and five more have died, prompting the FDA to review their previous warning. As of September 18, 2012, the FDA is now advising that the product not be given to any infant, premature or full-term.

One wrongful death lawsuit has been filed claiming Simply Thick caused the death of a 17-week-old infant. The lawsuit alleges that the infant was being given Simply Thick as prescribed by the neonatologist when he fell into a coma. He died two days later. This tragedy occurred one day after the FDA had issued their warning in 2011. The FDA has said that further testing needs to be done to determine if there is a link between Simply Thick and NEC, and if so, what that link is.

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August 2, 2012

Medical Malpractice Claims for Spine Injections Partially Settled for over $33 Million

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a pain management specialist was performing numerous procedures on patients with back issues until his voluntary departure in November, 2008. He was injecting a cement-like substance between the disks of patients with spinal pain. While the product had been approved to treat spinal fractures, it was never meant to be injected in between the disks. And the man was not even qualified to be doing some of the procedures. Yet he convinced a surgeon that the method was appropriate, and between the two of them they treated so many patients that they ordered a second set of instruments and were one of the busiest departments in the hospital. The pain management specialist also allegedly performed back surgeries that he was unqualified for.

Unfortunately, over 80 of their patients have suffered serious injuries and pain as a result of their procedures. Medical malpractice lawsuits filed on their behalf state that the cement moved into other parts of the spine before it hardened or it cracked into pieces that migrated to other places in the spine. Injuries reported include partial paralysis, loss of bladder and bowel control, and excruciating pain. One patient has died and some attribute his wrongful death to the procedure.

How can this type of medical malpractice occur in the first place? And how was it able to continue? According to the deposition of the surgeon involved, the other doctor showed him numerous x-rays of patients who had supposedly had this procedure done and were doing well. He also had several articles that he claimed proved the process was used very successfully in Germany. Of course, the articles were in German, so the surgeon was not able to read them. He simply took the other man at his word. When a nurse tried to tell a supervisor that she thought the doctor had overstepped his bounds, she was told to keep quiet. An insurance company questioned the doctor’s credentials when one of their customers filed a claim regarding loss of motor skills, immobility and incontinence after one of his surgeries. The hospital defended the doctor and threatened to take the insurance company to court for its damaging remarks against him and the hospital. It appears that the hospital was more concerned with protecting its reputation and bottom line than with patient safety.

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July 18, 2012

Lawsuits Claim Stores Responsible for Two Indiana Car Accident Deaths

The Kentucky dram shop law was discussed in one of our 2011 posts. Indiana also has this type of law. A dram shop law may make a bar, restaurant, or other establishment partially liable for a car accident caused by a drunk driver. This doesn’t mean every time someone has a drink at a bar and wrecks his car that the bar is responsible. Employees of the establishment serving alcohol to a patron have to be aware that the patron is intoxicated, continue to serve alcohol to the patron, and allow the person to drive away instead of providing alternate transportation in order to be considered partially liable. If an underage drinker is served in a bar or restaurant and causes an accident, the bar or restaurant could be liable as well because it should not have served any amount of alcohol to a minor.

In an interesting twist to this law, an attorney has filed two wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of families who lost loved ones in car accidents in Muncie, Indiana. But the targets of the lawsuits are not the drivers that caused the accident. In fact, one of the victims was driving the car himself when he was killed. And there was no alcohol involved in either accident. Instead, these lawsuits have been filed against two convenience stores and the owners of the stores. How were they supposedly involved in these victims’ deaths? The lawsuits claim both of the stores sold illegal drugs to the individuals that caused the accidents that killed the victims.

In the first incident, the victim allegedly bought bath salts at one of the stores on May 25, 2012. Bath salts have an effect on the user similar to cocaine or LSD and it is illegal to possess, make, or sell them in Indiana. The lawsuit claims that the victim ingested the bath salts sold to him by the store and crashed on his motorcycle as a result of the drug’s effect.

In the second incident, which occurred on February 1, 2012, the victim purchased spice, which is like synthetic marijuana, from the second store named in the lawsuit. He and a female friend took some before getting in a car with her at the wheel. The driver crashed the car into a tree and the victim was killed.

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June 30, 2012

Parents of Louisville, Kentucky Drowning Victim File Wrongful Death Suit

Backyard pools are known for being dangerous because children can fall into them unnoticed if they do not have a locked fence around them. Just in the last two weeks of June, a 1-year-old died after falling into a backyard pool in southern Kentucky, and a toddler is in Kosair Children’s Hospital after he was found unresponsive in the above-ground pool at his grandparents’ house.

Pools that are run by a city, the YMCA, a country club, or a community theoretically should be safer for kids because they are managed by someone who should be knowledgeable about pools and they typically have at least one certified lifeguard on duty when the pool is open. After hours, the pool is locked up so children cannot access it without an adult present. Unfortunately, these types of pools are not completely safe either. Whenever people are in or around water, there is the chance of injury.

In June 2011, a six-year-old boy was drowning in the Woodhaven Country Club in Fern Creek, Kentucky. A lifeguard pulled him from the water and a nurse began administering CPR. He was transported by an ambulance to Kosair Children’s Hospital, where he died the next day.

On June 12, 2012, the victim’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Circuit Court in Jefferson County, Kentucky. The suit names Woodhaven Country Club and two EMS workers as defendants. Wrongful death lawsuits are generally filed when someone loses his or her life allegedly due to the negligence of someone else. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care that can result in property damage, personal injury, or death. This case is no different. The suit claims the pool employees were negligent because they allowed the boy to be under water for an unknown period of time. It also says the EMS workers were negligent because they supposedly got lost on the way to Kosair and passed closer hospitals that would have allowed the victim to be treated sooner if they had stopped.

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June 27, 2012

Family of Kentucky Woman Files Wrongful Death Suit for Car Accident

On June 30, 2010, a woman from Thomasville, Kentucky was killed in a car accident in High Point Kentucky. She was driving a minivan when she was struck by a car pulling out of a parking lot. Police did not file charges against the driver who allegedly caused the accident, but that does not mean a civil lawsuit cannot be filed, which is what the estate of the victim did on June 15, 2012.

The wrongful death lawsuit names both the driver of the vehicle and a paving company as defendants. The suit claims the driver of the vehicle was negligent because she did not look in all directions before turning across five lanes of traffic. The suit also states she did not stop or turn her car or to avoid the accident or honk her horn to alert the victim that she was in harm’s way. This part of the lawsuit is pretty straightforward.

One might wonder how a grading and paving company could be blamed for an accident when none of their trucks were involved and the accident was not blamed on road conditions. The lawsuit claims one of the company’s signs caused the accident, stating "The sign was constructed of inadequate materials and was placed too close to the ground." Because the company’s employees did not consider the placement of the sign, it obstructed the view of the drivers trying to enter the intersection of the highway. This caused the other driver to run into the victim because she couldn’t see around the sign, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit requests a trial by jury and is asking for over $10,000 in damages. The amount of damages is often left to the jury to decide in a jury trial. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the victim – or in this case the victim’s estate – for lost income, medical bills, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and mental distress of both the victim and her family. Another type of award called punitive damages is sometimes requested as well. This amount is meant to deter the defendant from acting in the same manner again. Oftentimes people think jury awards in personal injury or wrongful death trials are excessive, but that is not usually the case. This victim in this case was only 29 years old and had children. When one considers the amount of income she would have made throughout the rest of her life and how much will be needed to care for her children, the amount of damages seems more reasonable.

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June 15, 2012

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.

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June 13, 2012

Kentucky Day Care Van Accident Kills One Adult, Injures another and Several Children

In a scene out of every parent’s worst nightmare, a van carrying children from a day care center crashed on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 during the evening rush hour. Fourteen children ranging in age from five months to nine years old were in the van with two adults. The van accident occurred when the driver of the van swerved off the road and hit a tree on Algonquin Parkway near Wingfield Avenue. What caused the driver to swerve is still unknown. Unfortunately, what is known is that the van crash killed one adult, left the driver in critical condition, and injured all 14 kids aboard in varying degrees. All of the children were admitted to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky and the adults were taken to University Hospital in Louisville. As of Wednesday morning, June 13, 2012, it appeared that four of the children had been released from the hospital, three were in the intensive care unit (ICU), and nine were still in the hospital on a regular floor. A spokeswoman for Kosair said the children in ICU were stable and the injuries of all the children ranged from bumps and bruises to head trauma and broken bones.

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May 25, 2012

Intoxicated Teen Driver Causes Kentucky Single-Car Accident

A very tragic Kentucky car accident claimed the life of a nine-month-old infant on Saturday in Carroll County. Two teens and one adult were in a car with the infant. The driver was only 17 years old. According to the Kentucky State Police, the teen driver ran off the road at a curve and hit a tree. The infant was killed and the other two passengers were taken by helicopter to University Hospital in Louisville with very serious injuries. The driver was not injured.

There are so many factors that could have prevented this horrible accident. First, the driver of the car had no driver’s license or insurance, so he should have never been behind the wheel of a car in the first place. Second, he was drunk when the accident occurred, which is doubly concerning since the crash happened at 9:15 in the morning. Third, the only person allegedly wearing a seatbelt was the driver. No one else, including the infant, was properly restrained in the car.

Needless to say, all of these young lives have been changed forever. If the passengers survive, the one who was the mother of the infant will have to live with the fact that she got in a car with a drunk driver and did not put her infant in a car seat. The other passenger may likely have lifelong issues from his injuries because he decided to ride with an unlicensed drunk driver. The driver of the car faces a laundry list of charges including driving without a license, driving under the influence, wanton endangerment and manslaughter. Even though he is only 17, he may be tried as an adult, which makes all of the charges more serious with stiffer penalties.

Even though all of the people involved made bad choices, one can’t help but feel bad for what they and their families have gone through already and what they will continue to go through in the upcoming days and months. If you have teenage children, please remind them of the dangers of riding with an inexperienced or intoxicated driver. As seen in the above accident, a combination of the two can be deadly. And reiterate the importance of wearing a seatbelt, even it isn’t cool and no one else is wearing theirs. It could save their lives.

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May 18, 2012

Kentucky Truck Crashes on I-75 Kill One and Injure Four Others

I-75 near Williamsburg, Kentucky was tied up for hours on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 when two accidents occurred within three miles of each other. The first truck accident was caused by one commercial truck rear-ending another semi at mile marker 1 in the southbound lanes. The truck driver that allegedly caused the accident was seriously injured and taken to a hospital in Tennessee by helicopter.

The second accident involved five vehicles including two semis, an RV with a trailer, a pickup truck and a van. Four of the five vehicles had slowed down due to the accident mentioned above. However the fifth vehicle, one of the tractor-trailers, did not stop and crashed into the pickup truck. This set off a chain reaction, resulting in the RV and one semi catching fire. One person was killed in this accident and three more were injured, including two who were taken to the University of Tennessee Hospital by helicopter.

Several factors will be involved in figuring out who was responsible for what in these accidents, particularly the second one. Because multiple vehicles were involved, investigators will need to determine who caused which part of the accident. Currently it appears that the second semi caused all of the damage in the second crash because news reports state that it hit all of the other vehicles involved. However, police and investigator reports will have to be reviewed before a final conclusion can be made. If more than one driver was at fault, separate claims or lawsuits may need to be filed against multiple drivers and their insurance carriers.

In both crashes, commercial trucks were involved, which means the companies that employed the drivers could be liable for part of the damages as well. If a truck was not properly maintained by the company and there was a mechanical malfunction, it may have contributed to the crash. Inexperienced drivers or drivers who have been driving longer than allowed by the law may cause truck accidents in which the company could be partially responsible. An inexperienced driver may not have learned how to respond in a situation involving slowed or stopped traffic. A driver who has not had enough sleep or had a break from driving may be drowsy and not able to react as quickly as necessary. The weight of the load being hauled by the truck could be a factor as well. Loads that are over the weight limit can make a truck harder to stop in an emergency situation.

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May 11, 2012

Indiana Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed for 12-Year-Old Car Accident Victim

Teen and pre-teens hanging out at a friend’s house is commonplace on the weekends. Often lacking money to go out, they congregate at a home to visit, play video games, or listen to music. That is probably how the evening of December 9, 2011 started for a group of Indiana kids. Unfortunately, a few people made some bad decisions, and the night ended in tragedy.

Somehow, a 14-year-old boy obtained the keys to a car and took a 13-year-old and 12-year-old for a joyride around 1:00 a.m. A combination of inexperienced driving, a slippery road, and perhaps speed caused the driver to lose control of the car. It slid off the road, rolled over, and landed in a deep ditch. The 12-year-old passenger was killed. The driver and other passenger had some broken bones, but no life-threatening injuries. No one in the car was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

The parents of the deceased victim have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver, both to request damages and to find out what really happened that night. Because the investigation is still open, the victim’s parents do not have access to any police information about the car accident. Their attorney states, “No one really knows the truth. There’s so many different stories about what happened that evening.” Once a lawsuit is filed, witnesses can be called to testify as to how the 14-year-old ended up with the keys to a car and what happened in the moments leading up to the crash.

While no charges have been filed against the driver or the owner of the car, it is possible that both may be charged when the investigation is complete. The driver was operating a car without a valid license, and if speeding was a factor, that could lead to another charge. If it is discovered that the owner of the car knowingly gave the keys to an unlicensed driver, he could be charged with “permitting a violation” under an Indiana state statute.

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May 1, 2012

Parents Awarded over $2 Million in Kentucky Wrongful Death Case

After four days of opening and closing arguments and testimony, a Kentucky jury took only four hours to determine that a church and its former youth minister were mostly responsible for the death of a 13-year-old boy. His estate was awarded over $2 million. How much of that they receive remains to be seen.

The 13-year-old was killed in 2009 in a single-car accident. The wreck occurred after 10 youths had gone on a camping trip with Derek Coulter, their youth minister from Big Springs Assembly of God. At first Mr. Coulter stated that he was driving with the victim and another passenger in his SUV when he swerved to hit a deer and ran off the road. Later, another teen passenger told authorities that Mr. Coulter had allowed the victim to the driver the SUV, and he caused the accident when he lost control of the vehicle and crossed the road. Mr. Coulter then recanted his initial story, leaving the victim’s loved ones to wonder if anything he told them about that day was true.

The boy’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Kentucky requesting compensation for the death of their son from Mr. Coulter and the church. Church officials denied any responsibility, saying it was not a church function and that Mr. Coulter was not acting as an employee when the car accident occurred because it was his day off. The plaintiff’s attorney argued that the church was liable because every person who attended the camping trip was a church member, Mr. Coulter referred to it as church event during the victim’s funeral, and the kids were told they were not allowed to swear on the trip because it was a church outing. Also, statements showed that Mr. Coulter had allowed several other teens to drive his car in the church parking lot on various occasions, so the church should have known it was occurring and intervened.

The jury agreed with the plaintiff and awarded the estate $2.15 million. Part of this amount will be reduced because the jury found that 20 percent of the fault went to the victim because he knew he shouldn’t have driven the car but did it anyway. Mr. Coulter’s portion, which is about half of it, may never be awarded because he has no way to pay. The church carries insurance of at least $1 million, so the estate should receive at least part of the award, unless the church appeals the decision.

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April 26, 2012

Nursing Home Settles Wrongful Death Suit, Daughter Still Wants Answers

Wrongful death lawsuits are not always about the money. When her mother passed away in 2009, Ms. Garrett was left with her grief and a host of unanswered questions. A resident at a nursing home, her mother had some health issues and would easily choke when eating. One time when she was eating, she began to choke and a maintenance person saved her life with the Heimlich maneuver. After that, Ms. Garrett was promised by the nursing home staff that her mother’s food would be cut up small enough that she would not choke.

Then in 2009, the nursing home contacted Ms. Garrett to tell her that her mother had died. After receiving conflicting stories about how it happened, she looked at the death certificate. It listed the cause of death as several things including heart disease and kidney disease. But when the nursing home administrator was questioned by her, he stated that her mother had choked once again, but this time she did not survive. A disagreement ensued regarding whether or not anyone at the home attempted to help or resuscitate the victim since there was not a signed “do not resuscitate” form on file.

Ms. Garrett ultimately filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home. The home settled the suit for $35,000, some of which was paid back to the home for her mother’s stay. The settlement amount may seem to be a small amount to receive for the death of one’s parent. But Ms. Garrett says she was not looking for financial compensation and didn’t even want to file a lawsuit in the first place; “I don't want people to lose their jobs because we need the home.” So why did she do it?

“I just want answers” she said, and she did not see any other way to get the information she was looking for. Understandably, when a wrongful death occurs, those who were close to or involved in the situation may not want to share any of their knowledge about what happened for fear of being held responsible or getting someone else in trouble. You can ask as many questions as you like, and they may still refuse to answer. Ms. Garrett had asked for answers and even contacted the state Department of Health, which started an investigation. She still did not know exactly what caused her mother’s death.

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April 21, 2012

Widow Files Wrongful Death Suit for Husband Killed by Lightning on Job Site

In Indianapolis, tragedy struck at the Indiana State Fair when numerous people were killed or injured by a stage collapsing in stormy weather. This incident sparked a large number of lawsuits blaming various individuals and companies for the death and injury of innocent concertgoers. With so many people involved in the fair and the concert, determining who was ultimately at fault could prove to be challenging.

In a more recent tragedy, one man was killed and two others were injured in September 2011 when they were struck by lightning while working at a construction site. The two surviving victims remember watching the lightning approach the site and becoming nervous. But they were told to keep working, so they did not take shelter right away. They did finally leave the site, caring more about their safety than their jobs. But it was too late. As they were headed toward shelter, a bolt of lightning struck an 800-foot-tall crane, sending electricity through all three men. The victim who did not survive was hit the hardest because he was holding a metal bucket of concrete in his hands.

The victim’s wife has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against two of the construction companies involved in the project. The suit claims that the companies should have had the victim take shelter because of the dangerous weather that was evident both in the forecast and the lightning that was flashing through the sky. The companies are denying responsibility, saying they cannot control Mother Nature.

One of the companies has responded verbally to the lawsuit saying “We were not cited or found to be at fault by any entity investigating the incident last year, including OSHA." Even if this is true, that still does not mean filing the wrongful death lawsuit is a lost cause. If the case makes it all the way to trial, the judge and maybe a jury will hear the facts from both sides and will draw their own conclusions as to whether or not this tragedy could have been prevented. It is true that no one can control the weather, but it may be determined that there were enough warning signs to warrant bringing the workers off the site and into a safe place to ride out the storm.

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April 17, 2012

Family Files Indiana Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Son’s Drowning Death at Church Day Care

Stating they want to find out the truth about how their 22-month-old son died, the family of the little boy has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against an Indiana church. The child was in day care at Praise Fellowship Assembly of God Church in February 2012 when he drowned in a baptismal pool. The wrongful death lawsuit gives the family the ability to subpoena employees of the day care and the chance to ask those who were at the church that day exactly what happened. According to the family’s attorney, “They can’t get any closure. They can’t finish the grieving process until they have some idea what happened to their son.”

Both parents, and probably many others, were surprised when criminal charges were not brought against any of the workers. But the prosecutor stated that while their actions were perhaps reckless or negligent, the workers did not act criminally, and the case would have to be fought in civil court.

In addition to finding out what happened, the parents would also like to have the responsible parties held accountable for their actions and would like to ensure that no others parents suffer through this type of tragedy in the future. Unfortunately, it does not appear they are going to get much help from the State of Indiana.

Shortly after this tragedy, Senator Greg Taylor of Indianapolis presented draft legislation that would require church-run day care centers to meet the same standards as licensed day care centers. Under current Indiana law, licensed day care centers have to meet 192 standards while church day cares only have to meet about 21 standards. Even in-home licensed day care providers have to meet 94 of the standards. Some of the standards that church day cares are not required to meet include staffing ratios and ages and training requirements. But the Senate voted 30-19 against the proposed amendment.

Continue reading "Family Files Indiana Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Son’s Drowning Death at Church Day Care" »

April 4, 2012

Man Who Killed Girl in Kentucky Hit-and-Run Accident Sentenced to 15 Years

A tragic car accident took the life of a 13-year-old Kentucky girl in March 2010. She was walking along a road near Philpot, Kentucky around dinner time. An SUV hit her from behind and she sustained critical injuries. The story would be bad enough if it ended there, but it gets worse.

The man who hit her fled the scene, making the crash a hit-and-run accident. He proceeded to wash his car and even created a one-car accident with it two days later to cover up the evidence. So not only did he not stay to help the child that he hit, he also tried to pretend that he was not at fault by tampering with the evidence.

The victim unfortunately died four days later at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Would she have survived if the man who hit her stopped to help instead of running away to hide his guilt? No one will ever know. What is known is that the driver was charged with three class D felonies, reckless homicide, leaving the scene of an injury accident, and tampering with evidence. After being found guilty on all charges by a jury, on March 27, 2012, he was sentenced to five years in prison for each count, making a total of 15 years that he should remain behind bars. Throughout the entire process, the driver never took responsibility for his actions or showed any remorse.

For the family of the victim, it is at least fortunate that the guilty driver was found and justice was done. It is often difficult to locate the driver who caused a hit-and-run accident. How they proceed next is up to them, but if they have filed, or decide to file, a wrongful death lawsuit, they would most likely be awarded financial damages. This money would never replace the child they lost, nor is it meant to, but it may provide assistance in paying the medical bills and funeral costs they incurred. It may also help them to support any surviving children they may have and give them peace of mind financially so they can grieve and hopefully heal.

Continue reading "Man Who Killed Girl in Kentucky Hit-and-Run Accident Sentenced to 15 Years" »

February 10, 2012

Kentucky Car Accident Fatality caused by Drunk Driver

On Sunday, February 5, 2012, Robert Kempf was driving on I-71 near the Watterson Expressway in Louisville, Kentucky when a fatal accident occurred. Based on a preliminary investigation, this tragic car accident could have been avoided.

Robert Kempf and his friend had been watching the Super Bowl that Sunday, visiting with friends, drinking some alcohol. Later that night, Mr. Kempf got in his 1995 white Corvette with his friend. Once on I-71, he started speeding and lost control of the vehicle. Investigators are unsure if he ran off the road and rolled the car or if the car rolled over until it left the road. Either way, his 49-year-old passenger was killed when the car rolled onto its roof. How Mr. Kempf survived the crash is a mystery.

What is not a mystery are the factors involved in this crash. First, Mr. Kempf was driving over the posted speed limit, which makes it more difficult to control a vehicle. Second, Mr. Kempf had been drinking prior to driving the vehicle. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol seriously hinders a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Apparently this was not the first time Mr. Kempf had driven while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He has been charged with DUI at least three times in Louisville since the 1980s and had his license revoked at some point. He also faced drug-related charges in the past, which may mean some of his DUIs were drug-related instead of alcohol-related.

Unfortunately, this accident adds to the death toll on Kentucky roads that so far this year has exceeded 2011. According to Kentucky State Police, 64 people have died on the roads since the beginning of the year. This is an increase of five deaths over last year. Nine of the victims were killed in crashes caused by drunk drivers.

Continue reading "Kentucky Car Accident Fatality caused by Drunk Driver" »

February 5, 2012

Kentucky Pedestrian Killed by Drunk Driver may be at Fault

On Monday, November 28, 2011, a Kentucky woman was crossing National Turnpike in Louisville early in the morning when she was struck by a pickup truck. She was seriously injured and was taken to University Hospital. Four days later, she died from her injuries caused by the truck accident, making her the 18th pedestrian killed by a vehicle in Louisville.

The 33-year-old driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene and was given a sobriety test. She tested at more than twice the legal limit and admitted to drinking 10 beers. She also had an open beer in the truck at the time of the accident and did not have a driver’s license. She was charged with driving under the influence, having an open container of alcohol in the truck, and driving without a valid license.

One would think that with all of the above charges brought against her, the driver would also be responsible for the death of the pedestrian, but that may not be the case in this particular accident. Preliminary investigations show that the pedestrian stepped into the road in front of the pickup truck, which would mean she caused the accident. “Someone walking in front of you, stepping in front of you, you can’t charge somebody for something that wasn’t their fault and was an accident,” according to LMPD Traffic Unit’s Lt. Doug Sweeney.

As of the end of January, the driver had only been charged with the issues listed previously, which carry a penalty of up to one year in jail. The pedestrian’s family does not think this is anywhere near harsh enough for the woman that killed their relative. They would like to see a wrongful death lawsuit filed. But the Jefferson County Attorney’s office, which is handling the case, said that is the strongest charge they can bring against her. The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office may be able to press felony charges, but will need to review the case to make that determination.

Continue reading "Kentucky Pedestrian Killed by Drunk Driver may be at Fault" »

January 24, 2012

Black Boxes Help Investigators Determine Kentucky Car Accident Causes

Most people are aware of the event data recorder devices, or “black boxes,” that are found in airplanes. They frequently provide clues to what may have gone wrong in a plane crash. However, many people do not know that this type of device is also found on many automobiles, particularly those manufactured more recently. These black boxes are constantly processing information regarding the operation of the vehicles the entire time they are running. If an airbag deploys, the information 15 seconds prior to deployment is saved.

This 15-second snippet of information can be very helpful in determining what happened just before and at the time of a car accident. The data recorded includes the rate of speed, whether the accelerator or brake was being applied, the steering direction, and if the seatbelts were in use. Because these data recording devices were originally installed in vehicles as a way for manufacturers to track their performance and diagnose any issues, some manufacturers claim they own the recorded data. However, the data can often be obtained through legal channels to be interpreted by a qualified forensic accident reconstructionist.

This type of information was used in a Louisville, Kentucky wrongful death case that stemmed from a car accident in 2011. Bryan Lee was test-driving a new Dodge Challenger when he ran into a Mercury Sable, killing both passengers on impact. After the accident, Mr. Lee stated that he was only going 60 mph in the 45 mph zone. However, data from the black box showed that the car had reached 102 mph just before the accident and hit the victims’ car at 86 mph.

Another recent case involved Lt. Governor Timothy Murray from Massachusetts. After totaling a government-owned vehicle at 5 a.m. in November, he passed a sobriety test and the police concluded the accident was caused by ice on the roads. When people continued to question him about the accident, Mr. Murray had the data pulled from the black box. Not only did it show that he was driving 10 miles over the speed limit initially, but it also showed that he pushed the accelerator and was traveling 106 mph when the accident occurred. Mr. Murray then changed his story and said he must have fallen asleep at the wheel. He was charged with speeding and not wearing a seat belt, another fact that the black box brought to light.

Continue reading "Black Boxes Help Investigators Determine Kentucky Car Accident Causes" »

December 16, 2011

Family Files Wrongful Death Suit after Construction Worker is Fatally Injured in Fall

On October 25, 2011, a construction worker who was installing sheeting on a roof fell more than 40 feet to his death. Two of his brothers who were also working on the site witnessed the accident. The victim’s wife and brothers have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a number of entities involved with the job site. While an exact amount has not been given, the attorney for the family said they are seeking a large award.

While the investigation is still ongoing, it appears that strong winds caused the victim to lose his balance and plunge to his death. Initial reports said he was not wearing a safety harness when he fell. Stamford police Captain Richard Conklin later stated the victim was wearing a safety harness, but it was not attached to anything to keep him from falling.

While this accident did not occur in Kentucky or Indiana, the potential legal issues would be the same if the accident had been local. The victim’s family is suing several parties for wrongful death. The lawsuit alleges that the general contracting company overseeing the job was negligent in allowing the workers to be on the roof in the windy weather. This case is similar to the stage collapse in Indianapolis that killed several people. The Indiana State Fair Board and Sugarland, the band scheduled to perform, have been sued because they were allegedly the ones responsible for deciding if the severe weather made the area too dangerous for concertgoers. Negligence does not always result from an intentional act; it can also be unintentional.

The general contracting company in the construction accident is also being accused of not confirming the qualifications of the subcontractor, the victim’s actual employer. While the general contractor didn’t directly hire the company that employed the victim – that was done by another construction company – the lawsuit still holds the general contractor responsible because it oversees the entire job site. The lawsuit also alleges that it was negligent in allowing the workers to be on the roof without the proper safety equipment. Other defendants in the suit also include the victim’s actual employer and the owners of the building on which the work was being done.

Wrongful death suits arise from a variety of situations including car accidents caused by drunk drivers, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse or neglect, negligence, or faulty products. This type of legal action is filed by the victim’s relatives seeking compensation for lost income, medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship. In the construction case, the victim’s wife is seeking compensation for lost income and loss of companionship and the victim’s brothers want compensation for their emotional distress caused by witnessing their brother’s pain and eventual death.

Continue reading "Family Files Wrongful Death Suit after Construction Worker is Fatally Injured in Fall" »

December 8, 2011

$210 Million Settlement Reached in 2010 West Virginia Mine Blast

In April 2010, 29 miners lost their lives and two more were injured in a blast at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. The former owner of the mine, Massey Energy, sold the mine to Alpha Natural Resources earlier this year. The record-setting settlement will be paid by Alpha, which in return will not face any criminal charges in the explosion.

The settlement will be divided in three parts. Families of the 29 miners killed and the two injured miners will split $46.5 million as compensation for the wrongful deaths and personal injuries that resulted from the explosion. Fines for safety violations at all of the Massey mines that Alpha acquired will be paid with $35 million of the settlement. The remaining $128 million will be dedicated to safety issues, including upgrading equipment, training of employees, and research into future mine safety. Kevin Crutchfield, CEO of Alpha, expressed satisfaction with the settlement, stating, “we’re particularly pleased that a substantial portion of the settlement is going toward furthering miner safety.”

Some families of the miners who were killed were not quite as satisfied with the settlement. One family wanted to know what charges were going to be brought against specific people. Another family member said he wants executives at Massey to be charged rather than just middle management, and he also believes the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) should be held accountable. While MSHA representatives said they will review their own handling of the situation, one administrator said they did what they could by shutting down the mine 48 times in 2009. Because MSHA cannot permanently shut down a mine, inspectors had to allow the mine to reopen once the violations were fixed. Families who receive their $1.5 million portion of the settlement are still able to pursue lawsuits, but will have the settlement amount subtracted from any award or additional settlement.

There are multiple parties that could be sued in this situation. The company that owned the mine at the time of the blast, Massey Energy, could be sued as a whole, as well as any of its employees that were involved in the situation. The report issued by MSHA shortly after the settlement showed there were 369 safety violations at the mine in April 2010, 12 of which directly contributed to the blast. A large amount of methane gas and coal dust was built up in the mine, and a spark from unsafe cutting equipment ignited the two. The disaster was made worse by the lack of functioning water sprayers, which could have kept the fire from spreading throughout the tunnels.

Continue reading "$210 Million Settlement Reached in 2010 West Virginia Mine Blast" »

November 9, 2011

Deadline Has Passed for State Negligence and Wrongful Death Claims in Indianapolis Stage Collapse

On August 13, 2011, high winds caused a stage to collapse at the Indiana State Fair, killing seven people and injuring dozens more. Multiple personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits have been filed as a result of this tragedy, including 100 claims filed with the State of Indiana. Although the deadline for filing with the state was November 1, 2011, a few more claims that were postmarked on that date but arrived late may be added to the total.

The state of Indiana has a cap of $5 million on what it will pay for the accident, which sounds like a large sum of money, except it has to be divided among numerous victims. The maximum payout per person is $700,000. If this amount is paid out to the seven families whose relatives were killed, that adds up to $4.9 million, leaving only $100,000 for all of the other victims to split, including those who were seriously injured. The state has not decided how the money will be split, only that families of those who were killed and those who were seriously injured will be compensated first.

One of the attorneys representing some of the victims is fighting the $5 million cap with a lawsuit and is questioning whether someone other than the state should be deciding how to divide the money. He thinks having individual cases heard by judges and juries would be fairer to the victims. Another attorney cautions victims to read the fine print if they receive part of the settlement from the state. She says accepting the money may preclude them from pursuing lawsuits against other parties.

In addition to the $5 million from the state of Indiana, a State Fair Relief Fund was established for victims of this accident. This fund is made up of money donated by the public to assist those victims that were hospitalized. Unfortunately, not all injured victims qualify for aid from this fund. An overnight hospital stay before October 2, 2011 is a requirement to receive money from this fund, which Kenneth Feinberg, a compensation specialist said is “a pretty good indicator of seriousness of injury.” Not all victims are seeing it that way. One woman who suffered a head injury and is unable to work for at least 2 ½ months does not qualify because she did not stay overnight. Another man who required knee surgery after October 2nd also does not qualify, even though he is unable to work and is only receiving two-thirds of his pay through workers compensation. The deadline to file a claim for part of the $500,000 remaining from this fund is November 14, 2011.

Continue reading "Deadline Has Passed for State Negligence and Wrongful Death Claims in Indianapolis Stage Collapse" »

May 13, 2009

Kentucky Wrongful Death Plaintiff Seeks to Amend DUI Lawsuit

The widow of a man who was killed in a 2008 Kentucky drunk driving accident wants Madison Circuit Court to consider her motion to amend her wrongful death lawsuit against driver Elmer Ray French.

French is accused of crossing the center line of a road on December 3, 2008 and hitting head-on the vehicle that Jason Isaacs was riding in. The 71-year-old motorist was indicted for driving under the influence (with a BAC of over .18%) and murder for his alleged role in causing the deadly Kentucky car accident. His arraignment is scheduled for Friday. If convicted of these charges, he could end up serving a life prison sentence.

Now, Sandra Marie Isaacs wants the court to let her amend her Kentucky wrongful death complaint to include claims made for her two children with Jason Isaacs. She wants to claim loss of parental consortium for her 9-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter.

Sandra Isaacs is seeking compensatory damages plus interest for funeral costs, medical bills, loss of spousal consortium, and loss of future income and earning capacity. She is also seeking punitive damages.

Loss of Parental Consortium
In Kentucky, a claim seeking compensation for loss of parental consortium can be filed for the time that a child loses with his or her mother or father because of the parent’s death. This claim is limited to the period between the parent’s death and when the child turns 18.

The death of a parent is never easy. Losing one’s mother or father in a tragic car accident when one is very young can scar a person for life. While no amount of money can bring a parent back or make up for time that is lost, there are ways to hold the liable party responsible for your child’s loss.

Hearing set to amend DUI death lawsuit, Richmond Register, May 4, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Kentucky Revised Statutes, Kentucky Legislature

Car Accidents Overview, Justia

May 8, 2009

Louisville Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed by Parents of Two Girls Killed in Kentucky Hit and Run Accident

In Jefferson Circuit Court, the respective parents of Claudia Wadlington, 5, and the Riley Lawrence, 4, have filed a Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit for the girls' hit-and-run deaths. The two girls were killed in Louisville on July 25, 2008 as they were walking to swim class. They were holding hands with Claudia’s mom, Angela, as they crossed Floyd Street when a Pontiac Grand Am hit them. The driver of the car, Kenielle Finch, also hit Louisville Metro Police who attempted to apprehend him following the deadly hit and run accident.

Named as defendants in the Kentucky pedestrian accident complaint are Kenielle Finch, who was charged with their murders (in addition to 12 other related charges) and Keynisha Butler, who lent Finch the car that hit the girls. Finch entered a not guilty plea to the criminal charges and will stand trial.

The families’ Louisville wrongful death lawsuit seeks to recover hospital expenses, burial costs, and other accident-related expenses, including Angela’s hospital expenses for her injuries, as well as punitive damages from both men.

Reasons Why Motorists Hit and Run
Not only is it considered negligent conduct to cause an auto accident, but so is leaving an auto accident site after causing a motor vehicle crash—especially if someone was seriously injured. Staying at a crash site to provide assistance and contact emergency medics to let them know that someone has been hurt can determine whether an auto accident victim lives or dies.

Some reasons why people hit and run:
• Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs.
• Driving without a license or proper insurance or documentation.
• Driving a stolen vehicle.
• The driver may have just committed a crime.
• The driver is scared of the legal consequences.

If you were seriously hurt in Kentucky hit and run accident and the driver has not been apprehended, an experienced Louisville car accident law firm can help you pursue your uninsured motorist claim and make sure that you receive a settlement from your insurer that takes as much of your accident-related expenses and recovery costs into consideration. If the driver has been apprehended, then your Kentucky personal injury lawyer can push to recover from the negligent party.

Slain girls' parents sue accused hit-and-run driver, Courier-Journal, May 5, 2009

Kenielle Finch indicted, charged with murder after alleged hit and run, Newsnet14, September 1, 2008


Related Web Resources:
Hit And Run Drivers Kill Nearly 1500 People Annually With Pedestrians At Greatest Risk, According To AAA Foundation Analysis, AAA, May 17, 2004

Pedestrians, Safekids.org

April 1, 2009

Kentucky Wrongful Death Attorney: Parents Sue Basketball Coaches for Middle School Son’s Fatal Collapse During Practice

In Kentucky, Michael and Amy Walker are suing two veteran basketball coaches for their son’s wrongful death. Keith Michael Walker, 13, died during the first day of practice in October 2008 while running a drill at Grayson County Middle School.

The couple’s Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit accuses coaches George Meredith and Bill Lee of “acting with reckless disregard” toward their son’s safety and contends that they did not exercise reasonable or normal care. The complaint contends that the two men’s negligent actions contributed to the younger Walker’s wrongful death.

Walker collapsed about 30 minutes into basketball practice. He reportedly had passed physicals to participate n the tryouts. Autopsy results show that sudden cardiac arrest was the 7th grader’s cause of death.The Walkers’ Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive damages, in addition to damages for lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and funeral costs.

Grayson County Schools says they believe the two defendants will be exonerated. The coaches’ attorney says heat did not contribute to the teenager’s death and that the two men did not place the teenager at risk of injury.

Personal Injury to Minors
Schools, youth camps, daycare centers, athletic teams, and others charged with the care and supervision of minors can be held liable for personal injury to minors or wrongful death if inadequate supervision or other negligent acts results in a person getting hurt or dying.

In an unrelated incident, the parents Jeffrey Dean Gilpin and Glenna Michele Crockett filed a Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit against the head coach and a number of assistant coaches at their 15-year-old son’s high school after he collapsed during football practice last year. They are accusing the defendants of negligence and reckless disregard contributing to his death.

Recently, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed legislation making it a requirement for high school athletic coaches to undergo sports safety training related to cold emergencies, heat stroke, face, neck, and head injuries, and emergency planning. Beginning the new school year, a trained supervisor must attend all athletic practices and games.

Middle school athlete's death sparks lawsuit, Kentucky.com, March 30, 2009

Parents of Max Gilpin suing football coaches after son's death, WHAS, September 26, 2008

High School Sports Safety Bill Becomes Law in Kentucky, MomsTeam.com

Related Web Resource:
High School Sports Safety Law Passes Kentucky Legislature But Could Have Done Much More, MomsTeam.com

Grayson County Middle School

March 27, 2009

Kentucky Truck Accident Lawsuit: Father Sues Pepsi and Trucker for Wrongful Death

In Johnson County, the father of one of three men who was killed in a Kentucky truck accident involving a Pepsi delivery truck is suing the cola maker and the truck driver for his wrongful death. Eddie Lee Patrick Sr. is seeking unspecified damages from Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. and trucker Rick Brown. The deadly Kentucky truck accident occurred last month when the pick up truck that 21-year-old William Anthony Patrick and two other men were riding were involved in a motor vehicle crash with the truck on US 460.

Also killed in the truck crash were 19-year-old Daniel Pennington and 21-year-old Dustin Lee Rodriguez, 21, who was thrown from the vehicle. Both Patrick and Pennington were burned so badly that they had to be identified using dental records.

Patrick’s Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit accuses Brown of driving the Pepsi truck in a reckless and negligent manner, which caused it to cross over the center line and hit the pickup truck. The truck driver, who also sustained serious injuries in the traffic crash, claims it was the pickup truck that drove into his lane. Also according to the complaint, William Anthony Patrick and Pennington very likely experienced severe suffering prior to their deaths and the younger Patrick might have survived the Kentucky auto accident if the pickup truck didn’t catch fire.

2007 NHTSA Large Truck Accident Facts
• 413,000 large trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds were involved in US traffic crashes.
• These large vehicles made up 8% of the motor vehicles involved in deadly accidents.
• They made up 4% of vehicles involved in motor vehicle crashes resulting in property damage or personal injury.
• 4,808 died in large truck accidents.
• 101,000 others were injured.
• Of the 1,188 deadly Kentucky motor vehicle accidents that occurred that year, 103 of them involved large trucks.

Father Files Lawsuit After Son's Deadly Crash, WKYT.com, March 12, 2009

NHTSA


Related Web Resources:
Truck Accident Laws, Justia

Pepsi Bottling Group Inc.

March 18, 2009

Kentucky Nursing Home Abuse Attorney: Winchester Nursing Home Sued for Wrongful Death

The son of a Winchester nursing home patient is suing the Winchester Centre for Health and Rehabilitation for Kentucky wrongful death. William Baker died on January 31, 2008 after he developed breathing problems while staying at the long-term care facility.

The 54-year-old nursing home resident had been admitted to the home on January 5, 2008 after suffering a brain aneurysm. According to the Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit, the nursing home neglected to monitor his respiratory condition and failed to suction him, which resulted in his breathing problems. He died at Lexington hospital.

The Kentucky nursing home neglect complaint accuses the long-term care facility of not giving Baker enough medical care and attention while maintaining staffing levels that resulted in incredibly high nurse/resident ratios that could be considered reckless. Among the other allegations against the Winchester Centre for Health and Rehabilitation:

• Failure to properly train and supervise nursing home workers and residents.
• Failure to care for Baker with dignity and respect.
• Failure to properly evaluate his medical needs.
• Failure to provide the patient with the necessary services he required.

Baker’s son says that the nursing home’s negligence lead to his father experiencing serious trauma and ultimately caused his death.

The Winchester nursing home has received a lot of negative publicity lately. It nearly lost its Medicare and Medicaid funding until it achieved compliance last month. It has been sanctioned by both federal and state officials for alleged Kentucky nursing home neglect and abuse citations. It even received a Type A citation, which is the most serious one that the state of Kentucky can issue to a long-term care facility for abuse or neglect.

Winchester nursing home sued in man's death, Kentucky.com, March 5, 2009

Kentucky Nursing Home Abuse Attorney: Winchester Care Facility to Lose Medicare and Medicaid Funding After Receiving Type A Citation for Alleged Abuse and Neglect, Kentucky Injury Lawyer Blog, January 19, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Read the Complaint (PDF)

Winchester Center for Health and Rehabilitation

March 9, 2009

Louisville Accident Attorney: Kentucky Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Local Restaurant for Husband’s Death

In Kentucky, the wife of a Louisville man who died after eating at a popular Shelbyville restaurant is suing the eatery for her husband’s wrongful death. David, 72, Maupin died two days after Easter in 2008.

His wife’s Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit accuses the Claudia Sanders Dinner House of serving Maupin tainted food for Easter Dinner. Following the alleged incident, the restaurant shut down for a few days. The North Central Public Health Department found that the hams that were served that day were contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause food poisoning.

The plaintiff’s wrongful death lawyer says what may have happened is that a kitchen worker or a cooking utensil was carrying the bacteria, which lead to it spreading to the hams. He claims that the Kentucky restaurant is responsible for Maupin’s wrongful death even if they were not aware that the bacteria had found its way into the restaurant's kitchen.

Staphylococcal Food Poisoning
According for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Staphylococcus aureus can produce seven of the different toxins that can cause food poisoning. Staphylococcal food poisoning is a type of gastronomical sickness. The leading ways that food becomes contaminated with the bacteria is through food workers who are carrying the bacteria or from other contaminated food products or cooking tools. Staphylococcus aureus is known to grow quite well in foods with salt, such as ham. As the germ grows in the food, it creates toxins that can make people sick.

A person who ingests Staphylococcal toxins can become ill within 30 minutes of eating. Food poisoning symptoms can show up as early as one hour after someone eats the contaminated food product. Symptoms may include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Although usually this type of food poisoning is treatable and recovery frequently occurs within a few days, sometimes, the illness can be serious.


Premises Liability

Restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, fast food chains, and other eateries are supposed to properly prepare their food and make sure that there are no unsanitary conditions on the premise that could contaminate the food and make their patrons sick. Failure to exercise this duty of care could be grounds for a Kentucky premises liability or wrongful death lawsuit.


Wrongful death lawsuit filed against popular eatery
, Wave 3, February 18, 2009
Staphylococcal Food Poisoning, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Related Web Resources:

Claudia Sanders Dinner House

February 20, 2009

Kentucky Wrongful Death Attorney: Parents Seek to Add More Plaintiffs to Lawsuit Involving Teen Louisville Football Player Who Collapsed During Practice

In Jefferson Circuit Court, Jeffrey Dean Gilpin and Glenna Michele Crockett have filed an amended complaint to their Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit over the death of their 15-year-old son Max Gilpin. The Pleasure Ridge Park football player died in August 2008 after collapsing during a practice session.

His parents are already suing head coach David Jason Stinson and five assistant coaches. Stinson has pleaded not guilty to criminal charge of reckless homicide in Max’s death.

His parents’ original Kentucky wrongful death lawsuit, filed last year, accused the coaching staff at Pleasure Ridge Park High School of reckless disregard and negligence leading up to his son’s death. Now, they want to add athletic director Craig Webb, principal David Johnson, assistant and coach Josh Ligthle as defendants.

Gilpin and Crocket claim that the three men are just as negligent in Max’s death as the original defendants. Their Kentucky wrongful death lawyer says that Web, who was at the practice where the 15-year-old collapsed and is the school’s athletic director, should have known what was going on and shouldn’t have waited 15 minutes after the incident to call an ambulance. Their attorney says Johnson, as principal, failed to properly supervise the athletic director and Stinson. Ligthle is another assistant coach who was at the football practice.

On August 20, 2008, Max, a sophomore, collapsed from heat stroke during the practice session. According to witnesses who were on the field that day, coaches refused to give the high school football players water and made them run extensively even though the heat index hit 94. Max reportedly worked out hard for two to three hours. The Louisville teen died three days later.

Listed as the teenagers' causes of death are multiple organ failure, septic shock, and heat stroke complications. The Jefferson County coroner’s office said Max’s body temperature had hit 107.

More PRP staff may be added to lawsuit, Courier-Journal.com, February 19, 2009

Ky. coach pleads not guilty, SI.com,January 26, 2009

Lawsuit filed in death of PRP football player, Wave3.com, September 25, 2008


Related Web Resources:
Pleasure Ridge Park

Heat Stroke, Medicine.net

February 5, 2009

Kentucky Wrongful Death Attorney: Coal Miner’s Widow Sues Arch Coal Inc for $37 Million

In Kentucky’s Letcher Circuit Court, the widow of a coal miner who was killed in a work accident is suing Arch Coal Inc. for his wrongful death. Susie Sturgill, who is Roy D. Sturgill III’s widow, is accusing Arch Coal, one of the country’s biggest coal mining companies, and Cumberland River Coal Co., its subsidiary, for committing safety violations that led to her 29-year-old husband’s death.

On January 8, 2008, Sturgill sustained fatal injuries when the truck he was operating fell down a slope and he was ejected from the vehicle. At the time of the deadly accident, the eastern Kentucky coal miner was working for Bates Contracting. He had only been a rock-trucker driver for a short period of time.

The Office of Mine Safety and Licensing conducted an investigation and determined that the work accident could have been avoided if the Arch Coal subsidiary had been in compliance with Kentucky law. According to investigators, the high wall, which serves as a safety barrier, at the edge of the dump site that Sturgill had backed over in his truck should have been taller and stable enough so that the wheels of the rock-truck could back up against it, rather than rolling on top of it and down the slope some 140 feet. Federal and state regulators issued a citation for the inadequate berm.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration also accused the operator of failing to make sure that equipment operators were using their seat belts. An examination of the truck cab following the work accident shows that Sturgill had not been using a safety belt when the accident happened.

The MSHA posed a $60,000 penalty while accusing the Arch Coal subsidiary of negligence.

Third Party Lawsuits
Third party lawsuits allow Kentucky workers to sue liable parties that are not their employers for their work-related injuries. Kentucky employees cannot sue their employers for personal injury. They can, however, file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. There may be more than one third party that can be held responsible for your Kentucky personal injury.

Miner's Widow Seeks $37M In Damages, MSNBC, February 3, 2009

Coal Miner's Family Files Wrongful Death Suit, January 31, 2009


Related Web Resources:
Read the Mine Safety & Health Administration's Report About the January 8, 2008 Accident, MSHA.gov

Arch Coal Inc.

January 12, 2009

Family of Teen Leukemia Patient Sues Cigna for Wrongful Death After Insurance Company Refuses to Pay for Her Liver Transplant

The family of a 17-year-old leukemia patient who died in 2007 while waiting for a liver transplant is suing CIGNA Corp. for wrongful death. Nataline Sarkisyan’s family says the insurance company’s initial refusal to pay for her liver transplant caused medical delays that lead to her death.

Following a public protest, Cigna eventually agreed to pay for Nataline’s procedure, but by then, the lawsuit contends that it was too late. She died within hours after the insurer agreed to pay for the transplant.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs are accusing Cigna of unfair business practices, breach of contract, delaying and rejecting legitimate claims, and purposely inflicting emotional distress.

Cigna, however, says the company was never obligated to pay for the transplant because the treatment was experimental, unproven, and not covered under the family’s insurance plan. Cigna says that if Nataline had survived and the procedure had taken place, the insurer was going to pay for it out of the company's own pocket.

Diagnosed with leukemia since age 14, Nataline underwent a bone marrow transplant in November 2007. Complications following the procedure, however, caused liver failure. Nataline’s family asked Cigna to cover her liver transplant, but the insurance company rejected their request. Four doctors appealed to Cigna to reconsider.

Insurance Bad Faith
If you believe that your insurance company was unjustified in rejecting a claim, you may have grounds to file a “bad faith” claim. A Kentucky unfair claims practices lawsuit allows you to pursue damages owed to you under your insurance policy, as well as personal injury compensation and punitive damages.

Calif. teen's family sues Cigna over transplant, Associated Press, December 26, 2008

Leukemia Victim's Family Blames CIGNA For Delays, Courant.com, December 30, 2008


Related Web Resources:

Cigna

Cancer Girl's Lawyer Blames CIGNA For Her Death, CBS, December 20, 2007

December 9, 2008

Kentucky Accident Attorney: Woman Dies in Hit-and-Run Accident Involving Louisville Dentist

A Louisville dentist is pleading not guilty to charges of leaving an accident and reckless homicide following a deadly hit and run auto accident on Friday. Dr. Michael B. Mathis claims that he did not know he hit his ex-girlfriend until he got home.

According to his criminal defense attorney, Mathis’s ex-girlfriend Pamela Fay “attacked” his client at the Clark County Casting and Conservation Club on Friday. Mathis then tried to leave a parking lot in his pickup truck but she attempted to block his vehicle.

One witness says that Fay continued pounding on the truck hood as Mathis tried to drive around her. Fay, who was conscious after the auto accident, told police that Mathis struck her with his vehicle. She later died from internal injuries.

While Mathis says he never intended to “hit and run,” the local prosecutor says investigators are looking into whether the Louisville dentist purposely left the accident site. If evidence surfaces to show that the Kentucky dentist intentionally struck Fay with his car, more serious criminal charges could be filed against him.

Hit and Run Accidents
• According to AAA Foundation for Safety in 2006, 11% of all auto crashes reported to police in the US involved a hit and run accident.
• 60% of hit and run fatalities are pedestrians.
• Between 1994 and 2003, 14,914 people died in hit and run crashes in the US.

Leaving a crash scene is against the law and considered negligent behavior—especially when someone is injured or killed in an auto collision—and could be grounds for a Kentucky personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Motorists involved in traffic crashes are supposed to stop at the crash site and exchange contact information, as well as take reasonable action to help anyone who is injured.

Police seek information on fatal hit-and-run, Courier-Journal.com, November 25, 2008

Louisville dentist charged in death of southern Indiana woman, December 6, 2008

Hit And Run Drivers Kill Nearly 1500 People Annually With Pedestrians At Greatest Risk, According To AAA Foundation Analysis, AAA Foundation for Safety


Related Web Resources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Car Accidents Overview, Justia

Continue reading "Kentucky Accident Attorney: Woman Dies in Hit-and-Run Accident Involving Louisville Dentist" »

August 25, 2008

Kentucky Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Lexington Condo Complex After Girl Gets Stuck in Pool Drain

In Fayette Circuit Court, the mother of Kiah Milsom, the 14-year-old girl who died of a severe anoxic brain injury after drowning in the pool of a condominium complex in Lexington, Kentucky, is suing Aintree Condominiums Inc. for wrongful death.

Kiah and her friends had trespassed onto the condo complex property on July 20, and they were swimming in the pool at around 4am when her arm got sucked into the pool’s drain. Kiah reportedly was underwater for about 20 minutes until emergency workers, who were summoned, were able to free her. She sustained a traumatic brain injury from the accident and died several days later at the University of Kentucky Hospital.

In her lawsuit, Kiah’s mother Lisa Ann Scott accuses the condo complex owners of negligence and states that they either knew or should have known that the pool drain pump was dangerous. By law, a pool drain is supposed to have a properly secured cover, and the lawsuit contends that the pool’s drain cover was missing.

Premises Liability
Property owners are supposed to make sure that there are no unsafe conditions on a premise that could lead to serious injuries or death. Failure to fulfill this duty of care can be grounds for a Kentucky premises liability lawsuit if someone is injured or dies.

Dangerous Pool Drains
Pool drains have been known to cause serious injury or death if they are not properly covered and secured. Over the past three decades, there have been reports of a number of incidents where children, in particular, have gotten stuck in a pool drain and have been unable to release themselves. Serious injuries have included intestines being pulled from the trapped person’s body, near drownings, traumatic brain injuries, and deaths. It is important that you speak with Kentucky personal injury lawyer to determine whether you have grounds to file a claim against any negligent parties.

Mother of drowned girl sues condo owners, Bluegrassbeat.com, August 22, 2008

Teen dies of injury from pool accident, Kentucky.com, July 27, 2008


Related Web Resources:

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act

'She Died in My Arms': A Mother's Mission for Safe Pools, ABC News, July 23, 2008

August 20, 2008

Danville Motorcyclist Dies in Kentucky Motor Vehicle Crash Collision on US 27 Near the Jessamine-Garrard County Line

On US 27 close to the Jessamine-Garrard County Line, motorcyclist David Ballard died on Monday morning after being struck by a car. Kentucky State Police say that Danville resident Rita Pradhan, 24, lost control of her vehicle before striking the oncoming motorcyclist. Her car then spun around before striking the vehicle following her.

Ballard, a 52-year-old Danville resident, was declared dead at the accident scene. Prior to his death, there were 57 reported motorcycle fatalities in Kentucky so far this year.

Motorcyclists are prone to serious injuries whenever they are involved in traffic collisions. Even when a motorcyclist does wear a helmet and protective clothing, he or she does not have a great deal of protection to act as a buffer from the impact of colliding with a car, bus, or 18-wheeler truck.

Many motorcycle accidents can result in catastrophic if not fatal injuries that may include road burn injuries, broken bones, severed limbs, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. The medical and recovery costs can be very expensive.

Unfortunately, many people attribute motorcycle accidents to the “recklessness” of the motorcyclist. It is important, if you are a motorcyclist who was injured in a traffic accident caused by another driver’s negligence in Kentucky, that you speak with an experienced Louisville motorcycle crash law firm that can inform you of your legal rights and advocate for your right to financial recovery.

According to the “Hurt” Report:

• About 75% of motorcycle collisions involve another motor vehicle.
• 2/3rds of all motorcycle accidents involving multiple vehicles resulted in a driver violating the motorcyclist’s right of way.
• Defective roadways is the cause of about 2% of all motorcycle crashes.

Garrard Co. Accident Victim Identified, Action News 36, August 19, 2008

The "Hurt" Report (PDF)


Related Web Resources:

Motorcycle Safety, Kentucky Government (PDF)

Kentucky Motorcycle Laws, DMV.Org

Continue reading "Danville Motorcyclist Dies in Kentucky Motor Vehicle Crash Collision on US 27 Near the Jessamine-Garrard County Line" »