June 2012 Archives

June 25, 2012

Kentucky Bus Crash Lawsuits Filed

1119802_bus.jpgOn June 6, 2012, a tour bus carrying over 50 children and adults crashed in Hart County, Kentucky on its way to Washington DC. The driver had only traveled about seven miles with the passengers on board when the bus accident occurred. While the accident investigation has not been completed, it appears that the driver was speeding and lost control of the bus around a tight curve. The bus rolled over, causing multiple injuries that were fortunately not life-threatening.

Why would a driver speed around a tight curve, especially in a large tour bus? Some passengers said he was overconfident, refusing to slow down even when several of them warned him to reduce his speed because of the curvy road. Others said he had been drinking energy drinks that may have clouded his judgment. Another reason may have been because he had already driven eight hours from Chicago and he may have been too tired to realize how fast he was traveling.

Whatever the reason, it appears he was speeding, risking the lives of at least 50 other people. As a result, three families have joined together and filed a lawsuit. One child from each family was involved in the bus crash and their families believe someone should be held accountable. They have sued the driver of the bus, the bus company - Southwestern Illinois Bus Company - and Worldstrides International. The claim against the driver is fairly self-explanatory since he was the one that was operating the bus when it ran off the road and his negligence most likely contributed to the accident.

The bus company may be partially liable for the accident for a couple of reasons. It could be responsible if it is determined that the driver lacked enough experience to be driving the bus. Also, if any maintenance issues played a part in the accident, the company could be held accountable. The lawsuit alleges that the driver had already driven eight hours from Chicago to Kentucky and was setting out to drive an additional eight hours to Washington DC. If this is true and the company asked him to drive both routes without resting, it would be in violation of the federal law that states commercial bus drivers can only drive 11 hours at a time. Worldstrides International is the company that organized the trip. Its website ironically claims it is "the nation's largest and most respected accredited travel organization" and that its "programs are marked by exceptional service, a superior safety record, and a personalized approach to educational travel that is unmatched in the field." If they contracted with the bus company that employed the driver that caused the accident, they could be partially liable for the accident too.

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June 11, 2012

Dentist Allegedly Drops Tool down Patient's Throat, Kentucky Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Filed

1237145_dentiststs_tools.jpgFor those who already dread a trip to the dentist, here is one more reason to avoid making the appointment. According to a woman from Jessamine County, her dentist dropped a tool in her mouth and she reflexively swallowed it.

According to a medical malpractice lawsuit filed in Fayette Circuit Court in Kentucky, the woman was having part of her dentures cleaned when the tool allegedly slipped out of the dentist's hand. The dentist encouraged her to attempt to regurgitate it, which she was unable to do. The patient claims the dentist told her to have a chiropractor take and x-ray, so she did and brought them back to him. The dentist then told her to eat a lot of fiber and allow the tool, which the lawsuit describes as a screwdriver, to pass naturally.

About 30 days later, the tool had still not appeared and she was experiencing some pain, so the woman went to Saint Joseph's hospital and ended up having to have an appendectomy to have it removed. The lawsuit filed on her behalf claims the dentist was negligent because he did not have the tool secured in any way and he allowed it to drop down her throat. The dentist's response to the lawsuit says the tool was not a screwdriver, that he did not lose control during the procedure, and that he encouraged her to go to the University of Kentucky emergency room, but the patient refused.

The lawsuit, which the dentist would obviously like to have dismissed, is asking for damages for several reasons. Compensation for pain and suffering is commonly requested in medical malpractice lawsuits. The patient in this case had to endure abdominal pain, surgery, and a recovery that all would not have occurred if the tool had not been dropped into her during the procedure. Her suffering may also include mental distress from worrying about the tool being lodged in her and what damage it might be causing. She has also requested money to cover the medical bills that resulted from having the x-rays done and her surgery and stay in the hospital. The lawsuit also claims that her ability to work and make money was also affected by the dentist's negligence. Even though she was 71 years old when the suit was filed, it is entirely possible that she was still working at the time of the incident because she needed the income.

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June 6, 2012

Two People Killed in Kentucky Single-car Accident, Stopped Traffic Causes Second Accident

Two people lost their lives in a tragic Memorial Day accident in Ohio County, Kentucky. The driver of the car that held six other passengers left the road to one side, then swerved and left the other side of the road. The car rolled over and landed in the median. Two of the passengers were thrown from the vehicle during the car wreck and were pronounced dead at the scene. The other people were taken to several different hospitals by ambulance or helicopter. The driver, who was intoxicated when the car accident occurred around 7:00 a.m. Monday morning, faces numerous charges including DUI, two counts of manslaughter and four counts of assault.

It was determined that the two passengers who died at the scene were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of the car crash. While it cannot be proven, it is highly possible that they may still be alive today, like the other passengers in the car, if they had been wearing their seatbelts. Also, if their families decided to file a claim with the driver's insurance company or wanted to take legal action against the driver, the fact that they were not wearing their seatbelts could affect the amount of compensation they received. If someone is found to be partially responsible for their own injuries or death, the percentage of the fault determined to be theirs may be deducted from any damages awarded by a court or claim money from an insurance company. So it is in your best interest to always wear your seatbelt when on the road.

While this accident was being cleared and investigated, traffic was stopped on William Natcher Parkway for some time. Unfortunately a driver who was approaching the scene didn't realize traffic was stopped because he allegedly fell asleep at the wheel. He rear-ended someone in front him, pushing that car into a police officer assisting with the original accident. The officer was taken to the hospital with what were hopefully minor injuries.

While not nearly as tragic, this second accident illustrates a couple of driving issues. First, falling asleep at the wheel can be very dangerous both for the drowsy drivers and those around them. If you are feeling fatigued, pull over and let someone else drive. Or if you are driving alone, stop and take a rest before continuing on the road. Fortunately no one appears to have been seriously injured by this sleep driver, but that is not always the case.

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