Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

The Kentucky State Police and Butler County Sheriff’s office are investigating a deadly bus crash that occurred Monday afternoon near the intersection of Provo Road and Kentucky Highway 70 on Rochester Road.  The police say five-year-old Jaden Hawkins was struck as he was crossing the street just after getting off the bus.  Butler County Coroner Marty Jones says the boy was pronounced dead at the scene about 15 minutes later.  According to news reports, the bus stop was a scheduled stop regularly used by Jaden.  Butler County Schools released a statement around 6 PM which explains that the bus driver involved in this incident, Janine Dockery of Morgantown, has been employed with the school district for 18 years.  The School District is cooperating with the police and the bus has been confiscated for investigation.

If it is determined that the bus driver was not operating the vehicle with reasonable care in the circumstances, he or she may be liable under a theory of negligence for the child’s death and the damages caused.  A bus driver that transports students owes a duty of care to make sure that the students do not get injured.  Common carriers, such as bus drivers, are held to a higher standard of care than those operating normal motor vehicles.  Given KSP’s indication that the boy was struck during a scheduled unloading, it is possible that the driver breached the standard of care owed to the child.  Additionally, if the investigation reveals any negligence by the Butler County School District, the school district could also be liable for the child’s death.

If the bus driver is found to be at-fault for causing the collision that resulted in the death of Jaden Hawkins, it is possible that the boy’s relatives may have grounds to bring a wrongful death claim against the driver in addition to a negligence claim.  Wrongful death is a cause of action which enables a personal representative, such as a parent, to file a lawsuit against the party that negligently or intentionally caused their child’s death.  Potentially recoverable damages can include funeral and administrative expenses, loss of services, loss of consortium and loss of power to earn.  The statute also dictates how such damages, if awarded, are to be disbursed amongst the surviving family members.

We use our blog as a forum to educate the public using real life events. However, we are very sensitive to the fact that these real life events have resulted in a tragedy that will inflict great pain and sorrow on those involved and those close to the victim(s). As such, we understand that they may not approve, and we will immediately remove a post if a victim or their loved ones makes that request.

Kentucky State Police investigators say the Stanford Police Department officer who hit a pedestrian with his cruiser last winter was determined to be traveling at a high rate of speed at the time, but will not be facing criminal charges.

The Lincoln County coroner says Howard Robbins, 69, of Crab Orchard, was walking along KY150 on the night of Jan. 15 when Officer Travis Richardson hit him. EMS took Robbins to the Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

According to the Interior Journal, KSP say Richardson was traveling 90 mph when he hit Robbins. The speed limit is 55 mph in that area. While Officer Richardson was not on duty, he was on his way to work at the time of the collision. The cruiser’s dash-cam captured the wreck. This assisted the police with their investigation.

The Commonwealth Attorney said he would not file criminal charges against Richardson.

“I just don’t think there’s enough there to charge him as a criminal. There was speed but there was no alcohol or drugs. I don’t think there’s enough there to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt of a criminal offense. Now there might be a civil offense,” Montgomery told the Interior Journal.

It remains unclear why Richardson was driving so fast. What is clear, however, is that this person’s carelessness has resulted in death, and the family deserves answers.

It is quite obvious, due to the Officer traveling at almost double the speed limit; that he failed to operate his vehicle in a safe manner. Robbins’ estate could potentially have a wrongful death claim against the driver for hitting him. KRS 411.130 allows for a party with a qualifying relationship with the deceased, such as a spouse or child, to hold the party who negligently or intentionally caused their loved one’s death liable for damages. Robbins’ estate may similarly have an independent claim for negligence.

Stanford Mayor Eddie Carter said a hearing is scheduled June 30.

The attorneys at Bahe Cook Cantley & Nefzger represent accident victims and people seriously injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. Feel free to call and speak with one of our attorneys at (502) 587-2002.

A trial in South Georgia concerning the death of a four year old boy is renewing debate over Jeep safety. Remington Walden died in the backseat of his family’s 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee when the car erupted in flames after being rear-ended at an intersection. The family’s lawyers allege that the carmaker has long been aware of the fatal defects that caused the child’s tragic and painful death, including the fuel tank placement just 11 inches from the rear bumper.

BCCN reported in October of 2009 that the Jeep Grand Cherokee fuel tank was 400% more likely to cause a fire and endanger or kill the vehicle’s occupants than other SUVs.  The Center for Auto Safety had at the time asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall all such cars made between 1993-2004, asserting that data showed that these cars were 4 times more likely to result in a fatal fire during a crash than other sport utility vehicles. The government currently links at least 70 deaths to these vehicles’ defects.

Fiat Chrysler recalled more than 1.5 million vehicles, including all 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty models as well as the ones suggested years earlier by the Center, under government pressure in June 2013. The company continues to insist that the vehicles met safety requirements at the time they were built, and that they were not defective. Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO, stated in a deposition that the company believes that the cars are no more susceptible to fire than other SUVs.

BCCN is currently reviewing and accepting defective Jeep and SUV cases resulting in a fuel tank explosion on a nationwide basis.

GM announced yesterday that nearly 3.4 million more vehicles will be recalled in light of its review of ignition switch issues following the first set of recalls affecting 2.6 million cars earlier this year. This move brings the total number of vehicles recalled by GM this year over 20 million.

GM admitted in February that its engineers first knew of the ignition switch issues as early as 2004, leading to an investigation into the nearly 11-year delay in recalling the faulty vehicles. Less than two weeks ago, GM announced its decision to dismiss 15 employees, and to discipline 5 additional employees, in wake of the three-month investigation by former federal prosecutor Anton Valuka. While Valuka’s report did not reveal a conspiracy by the corporation to cover up relevant facts over the 11 year delay, it did point to “a pattern of incompetence and neglect” throughout the company, especially in regards to the 20 employees the report found to be the most at fault.

At least thirteen deaths have been attributed to the faulty ignition switch, which can fall out of the “run” position while the vehicle is in operation, shutting down crucial safety features such as airbags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has indicated that the number may, in fact, be much higher.

The company’s CEO, Mary Barra, has said that GM will voluntarily create a program to compensate those who have suffered injuries or death due to the defective cars, but she has not indicated how large that fund may be. According to GM president Dan Ammann, compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg will be in charge of determining who is eligible and to what extent. Feinberg will also be responsible for determining whether there have been more than 13 deaths caused by the defect.

GM is set to start accepting claims on August 1. Bahe, Cook, Cantley & Nefzger, PLC is currently seeking damages for a client who sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused by the faulty ignition and air bag deployment. We are also currently reviewing and accepting more of these claims.

Three passenger vehicles and two commercial vehicles were involved in a crash on I-71 in Oldham County, just north of the Jefferson County line, on Tuesday morning. According to Major Jimmie Laytham Jr. of the Oldham County Police Department, 48-year-old Sherri Bray of Pendleton, the driver of one of the passenger vehicles was killed in the crash when a box truck hit her sedan from behind, forcing it under the rear of a semi-truck. Initial investigation has indicated that traffic was slowing or stopped due to road work when the box truck failed to come to a complete stop. Three other people were transported to the hospital for injuries that were considered non-life threatening.

Southbound lanes at the location of the accident were closed well into Tuesday evening, allowing police to thoroughly investigate the scene. Investigators stated that there was no indication that drugs or alcohol were involved and that no criminal charges will be filed. Although traffic due to road construction was likely a factor, it is important to remember that drivers must adjust the operation of their vehicles accordingly. Lower rates of speed and heightened alertness are often necessary to comply with the appropriate standard of care.

If the driver of the box truck failed to operate their vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner given the road conditions, Bray’s estate could potentially have a wrongful death claim against that driver for hitting Bray’s car. KRS 411.130 allows for a party with a qualifying relationship with the deceased, such as a spouse or child, to hold the party who negligently or intentionally caused their loved one’s death liable for damages. Bray’s estate may similarly have an independent claim for negligence.

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Two vehicles were involved in an accident Friday evening when a pickup truck carrying four teenagers struck a stopped semi-truck off the side of Bluegrass Parkway. Witnesses stated that the pickup truck was drifting off into the left shoulder when it took a hard right into the back of the semi. The teens were returning from a basketball game across town when the accident occurred.

One of the teens was pronounced dead at the scene. A second, who had been airlifted to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, was pronounced dead after surgery. The driver and third passenger were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The semi driver also was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

The Anderson County Coroner has stated that drugs and alcohol are not thought to be involved in the crash. Investigators are still trying to figure out the exact cause; while driver error is always a prime suspect, things like mechanical error and product defects should be considered and ruled out. In any event, with a serious accident such as this, a full investigation should be performed, including an accident reconstruction, in order to figure out just what went wrong. No doubt, the friends and family of the victims will have questions and want answers.

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26 year old Bobby Jones received fatal injuries when the vehicle he was driving was side swiped by a vehicle driven by 27 year old Richard Taylor. The vehicle then flipped onto its top and was struck again by a vehicle driven by 62 year old Frank Berry. Jones traveled on U.S. 25 northbound and Taylor traveled southbound. The Jones and Taylor vehicles made contact close to the intersection of Frogtown Road. The Berry vehicle traveled northbound on U.S. 25 as well and collided with the Jones vehicle after it flipped on its top. Additionally, the Jones vehicle then struck 30 year old Chelsie Ketron as a pedestrian as she attempted to render aid.

The details are sparse right now and it is unclear who is at fault for the accident. The investigating police department should be performing a full investigation, including an accident reconstruction, as a matter of routine in such a serious accident. While driver error is always a prime suspect, things like mechanical error and product defects should be considered and ruled out by the investigation.

Hopefully, those who survived make speedy recoveries and all involved get answers to the questions they will certainly have regarding how this occurred.

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A five month old Louisville girl, Avani Ingram, sustained fatal injuries when a pickup truck driven by James O’Bannon ran a stop sign and crashed into the van she was riding in, according to Louisville Metro Police Department. The accident happened at the intersection of 18th Street and Cedar Street. Two other passengers, teenagers Tameka White and Dasia Frazier, were also in the van and injured, as was Avani’s twin sister, LaNiya.

Mr. O’Bannon was driving on a suspended license from a prior DUI. He has been charged with murder, DUI, driving on a suspended license, first degree assault, wanton endangerment and driving without insurance.

This is obviously a tragic accident, and it may only be compounded if Mr. O’Bannon truly did not have insurance that would cover the harms and losses suffered. Uninsured motorist coverage is available in Kentucky and covers someone who is hit and hurt by an uninsured driver, but it is not mandatory coverage, only optional. Unfortunately, far too many Kentuckians drive without insurance and leave those they cause damage and injury to without a way of remedying it unless they protect themselves by purchasing this type of coverage.

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Alexandra Bush, 17, of Grayson, Kentucky and a senior at East Carter High School, sustained fatal injuries when she was ejected from the Chevrolet Blazer she was riding in. Paige, as she was known, was a passenger in the Blazer driven by 41 year old Carmel Maggard. He and another passenger sustained severe injuries.

The wreck happened when a car traveling westbound on U.S. 60 crossed over the centerline and crashed into the Blazer. The crash sent the Blazer into a barrier wall, and then into the westbound lane of traffic where it overturned and was struck again by another car.

Although it is early on, it appears that driver error by the westbound car’s operator may be the cause of the accident. There is no indication of other causes at this time or what exactly caused the car to cross the centerline. In any event, with a serious accident such as this, a full investigation should be performed, including an accident reconstruction, in order to figure out just what went wrong. No doubt, the friends and family of the victims will have questions and want answers.

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37 year old Felipe Mata Fiscaya suffered fatal injuries after falling down an elevator shaft at the CEMEX plant in Louisville, Kentucky. Mr. Mata Fiscaya worked as a contract laborer for a company based in Alabama. He was performing work at the plant.

Details are sparse right now. The facts and circumstances surrounding this incident could have a significant impact on how any legal claims coming from it proceed. More than likely, Mr. Mata Fiscaya’s surviving family members will have a workers’ compensation claim, if the incident happened while he was within the scope and course of his employment. A workers’ compensation claim for death due to work injuries covers any medical expenses and provides a death benefit to the surviving family members.

His surviving family members may also be able to bring a civil claim, if someone or something outside of the employer-employee relationship was responsible for his death. A wrongful death and survival action, if possible, would pursue any damages not allowable in a workers’ compensation claim, such as loss of consortium and physical pain and mental suffering, if any.

A full investigation is necessary in order to determine exactly what happened and how it happened. Only then will the surviving family members be able to determine what claims they may pursue.

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