This wrongful death case was most unusual. A man was killed in his own front yard.
The day started out in a normal way for the couple in this story: They ate breakfast, talked about their plans for the day, and the man then went outside to spend some time in his front yard. He enjoyed puttering about. His wife later found her 71-year-old husband dead on the front lawn, perhaps not an unusual discovery, given the gentleman’s age. However, it was clear that he had been run over by a vehicle of some sort.
When the shock of the discovery wore off, the wife contacted an injury lawyer about filing a wrongful death lawsuit. As it turned out, the suit was filed against a city worker who had been driving a sewer truck at the time the elderly man was killed. The 46-year-old driver was charged with felony hit-and-run, resulting in death, and misdemeanor death-by-a-vehicle once the police department had completed an accident scene reconstruction.
The evidence in the police report indicated the truck driver had hit the elderly gentleman with the right front portion of the sewer truck, and although the initial charges were significant, the man had the charges reduced subsequent to a plea bargain. Ultimately he was charged with unsafe movement and failure to yield to a pedestrian – a fact that did not go over too well with the dead man’s wife, as the man only had to pay a $50 fine and less than $200 in court costs.
This was a difficult situation for the plaintiff, as the trucker did not even stop at the scene of the accident. He kept driving, while the man lay on the lawn, dying. The wrongful death lawsuit stated that the sewer truck driver knew, or should have known the accident had happened, as he failed to pay attention to what he was doing while driving. Since the driver was a city employee, the city was also named as a defendant in the case.
Was the driver negligent? Was the city negligent in entrusting the driver with their vehicle? These are all questions that the court will entertain when the case moves forward. The plaintiff is asking the court for expenses for her husband’s funeral and for punitive damages from the driver and the city. The main question will be whether or not the city was negligent in hiring the trucker and whether the trucker was incompetent or inexperienced to safely operate the sewer truck. The court will also need to determine if the truck driver’s actions were so egregious as to merit punitive damages.
Cases like this are complex and best handled by an experienced Atlanta injury lawyer. Typically, in situations such as this, there is more than one party named to the suit, depending on the circumstances of the case, and what insurance companies may be involved. Of concern will also be the details surrounding how the man was hit while on his front lawn. It raises a number of questions the court will want answers to before reaching a decision.
Tim Anderson writes for Atlanta Personal Injury attorney, Stephen M. Ozcomert. The firm specializes in personal injury, malpractice, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. To learn more about Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Stephen M. Ozcomert, visit Ozcomert.com.