Wrongful death cases involve personal injury claims when the injury is fatal. If another party’s negligence or intentional act kills someone, their estate may be able to file a wrongful death claim. The deceased’s next of kin would benefit from the case.
The situations that lead to these cases can involve virtually any negligent or purposeful act that causes someone’s death. Here are some cases to illustrate these types of cases.
The Federal Government Causes the Death of a National Park Visitor
The federal government will pay the family members of a Ugandan woman killed in a 2020 accident at Arches National Park more than $10 million in damages. The decision by a federal judge was made in January, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Esther Nakajjigo, 25, and her husband, Ludovic Michaud, were in eastern Utah, visiting national parks after their wedding. A usually locked metal gate on the edge of the Arches was open. As the two headed out of the park, strong winds pushed the gate around and cut through their car’s passenger side door. The gate decapitated Nakajjigo as her husband sat in the driver’s seat.
Neither the US nor Nakajjigo’s family disputed the facts of the case, so the trial focused on what damages should be awarded. Attorneys for her widower and parents sought $140 million. The government argued an appropriate award would be about $3.5 million.
Nursing Home Neglect Led to Man’s Death
A California jury ordered a Roseville nursing home to pay $30.9 million to the family of a man who died because of injuries suffered there, reports the Sacramento Business Journal. The January verdict was against Pine Creek Care Center and its parent company, Plum Healthcare Group, by some of Sam Rios, Jr.’s surviving family members.
Rios was a professor at California State University Sacramento. He came to the facility in 2017 to recover after treatment for a hip fracture. The lawsuit alleges the deceased developed bed sores on his feet, which worsened to the point they reached his bones. They prevented him from completing physical therapy, he didn’t recover from his hip fracture, and they caused him constant pain until he died a year later at 87.
The lawsuit claimed the facility was understaffed, and those who worked there were not sufficiently supervised or trained. The plaintiffs blamed the problems on the defendants’ desire to cut costs.
Eleven-Year-Old Girl Killed While Crossing Street
A Nevada state court jury in 2021 decided garbage disposal company Republic Services was liable for the death and awarded her next of kin $38.8 million after a trial in a wrongful death case.
Eleven-year-old Jazmin Espana was killed by a garbage truck driven by Julio Cortez-Solano in 2017. The ten-day 2021 trial featured expert accident reconstruction testimony from both sides. Plaintiffs claimed Republic was responsible for the driver, who was fired from the company due to safety problems but re-hired shortly thereafter.
The truck failed to stop before turning right onto the crosswalk, according to the Courtroom View Network. Republic claimed the deceased entered the crosswalk before the traffic signal showed it was safe and the truck’s driver had the right of way.
The plaintiffs’ attorney stated Republic initially offered $250,000 to settle and increased that to $1 million before the trial started. The plaintiffs asked the jury for $65 million.
Distracted Truck Drivers Cause the Death of 18-Year-Old College Student
A Jacksonville, Florida, jury in 2021 reached a $1 billion verdict in the case of the 2017 death of a University of North Florida freshman stuck in a traffic jam. Two trucking companies were defendants, reports WTLV.
Connor Dzion was driving on I-95 when he stopped due to a truck accident caused by an AJD Business Services, Inc. truck driver. He was distracted by his cell phone, driving beyond the hours permitted, and lacked a commercial driver’s license. An investigation into the crash found that AJD didn’t look into its driver’s fitness for the job before putting him behind the wheel of a commercial truck.
More than an hour later, another distracted truck driver, working for Kahkashan Carrier, Inc., was driving on cruise control at 70 miles an hour when the truck rear-ended Dzion’s car, killing him. The truck driver didn’t apply the brakes until a second before the collision.
After a five-day trial, the jury handed down a verdict against Kahkashan for the victim’s parents of more than $100 million for pain, suffering, and the loss of their son. They awarded $900 million in punitive damages against AJD for the negligent employment of a dangerous driver.
Kahkashan has appealed the verdict while AJD and its insurance company are litigating who will pay the punitive damages award.
Was a Family Member Killed by an Intentional Act or Negligence?
If a loved one is killed by another party’s negligence or intentional actions, you may have legal rights to compensation. Call The Fleck Firm at (270) 446-7000 to schedule a free consultation. We’ll discuss what happened, how Kentucky law may apply, and your best options to proceed. Insurance companies have lawyers. You should have one too.