Who Will Most Likely Be Named in the Resulting Lawsuits?
On Saturday, May 18th, 2013 an elderly driver plowed his 1997 Cadillac into a crowd of dozens of people at the Hikers Parade at the Trail Days festival, an annual celebration of the Appalachian Trail held in Damascus, VA. The cause of the accident is believed to be the result of a medical condition of the driver.
The driver’s car was a part of the parade. The car accelerated up to about 25 mph on a two-way bridge on the town’s main road when it struck the parade participants. Some people were pinned underneath the vehicle and were rescued by quick thinking and rapid action of family members and friends who lifted the car off those pinned by the car. No fatalities were reported, but 50-60 people were injured — some critically and some superficially. Three of the worst injured were flown by helicopter to nearby hospitals.
A man who jumped onto the car’s hood to avoid immediate impact said the driver was staring blankly and probably had no idea there was a man on his windshield.
Whenever there is a public function, city and county officials who are overseeing the function have a legal obligation to ensure that participants and the public are safe. So, an experienced personal injury lawyer will negotiate with the insurance companies of the driver who caused the injuries as well as those public and civic entities’ insurance companies, and if settlements are not reached, file suit and proceed to trial.
Similar Cases in West Virginia
I represented one of the parties in a similar incident which happened in 2001 in Moundsville, WV during a Christmas parade. A handicapped individual unintentionally lost control of the van he was driving and crashed into the crowd, seriously injuring many onlookers. One of the critically injured was an eleven year old child whose heart stopped beating 14 times on the way to the hospital. This child went into a coma and spent months in the hospital and two years in therapy. The child survived, but now is a young woman who has undergone 36 surgeries to correct problems resulting from that incident. She is glad to be alive, and appreciating the little things as she manages a life wrought with medical difficulties.
In this case, insurance companies of the driver, as well as companies insuring the city officials and other entities which hosted the event were held financially responsible for past and future losses suffered.
A more recent WV injury case involved the driver of a truck who lost control of his vehicle and ran into a tent at the All Good Festival, killing one person and seriously injuring several more. Sizable settlements were eventually reached with the driver, the event sponsors and promoters, and a security firm who had been hired to maintain a safe environment for participants. For more information, see our blog about the event: Settlements Offered for Wrongful Death and Injuries from All Good Festival.
The Value of an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Some injury claims are so small they may not require legal representation, but my best recommendation as a former insurance defense lawyer is if you have suffered serious injuries from a collision, you need to promptly seek advice from an excellent personal injury lawyer who knows how to gain compensation for your past and future medical needs and lost wages.
An experienced trial lawyer whose focus is auto injury litigation knows how to preserve all your legal rights, not just some of them, against the attempts of the insurance adjuster and their defense attorneys to defeat or minimize your claim.
A lawyer whose focus is auto accident law has handled hundreds of claims for injured people. A skilled advocate will ensure you are not taken advantage of by the complexities of the insurance claim process and will receive the compensation due to you.
Retaining an attorney adds credibility to a client’s threat to file suit, to pursue a claim to trial, and to negotiate a larger payment. Thus, a client gains more experience, more knowledge, and more negotiating credibility and power in dealing with the insurance industry.
Morgantown WV Injury Lawyers
If you or your loved one has been injured due to negligence, whether intentional or unintentional, it is important to act quickly to protect your claim. Mr. Robinette has handled hundreds of cases involving serious injury and wrongful death and can provide the insight you need right now. Call Jeff Robinette today for a free evaluation of your case at 304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695 or visit our Robinette Legal Group, PLLC website: http://www.robinettelaw.com
For more information about determining when an elderly driver should hang up the keys, see our blog Ten Warning Signs for Senior Drivers.