Pike County Vehicle Wreck Kills One
A 24-year-old man is dead after a pickup truck and a large gravel truck collided on Kentucky State Highway 194.
The wreck occurred near Kimper Elementary School just north of town. Kentucky State Police released few details about the incident, aside from the fact that both vehicles were probably moving at freeway speeds, because they were almost completely destroyed. Jerry Leedy, the pickup truck driver, was ejected from his vehicle and died the next day at a nearby hospital; authorities say he was not wearing a seat belt. Another pickup truck passenger, whose name was not released, was seriously injured but is expected to survive.
While investigators have ruled out alcohol, they continue to look for a cause.
Truck drivers, Uber drivers, and all other drivers who transport people and/or cargo for profit are common carriers under Kentucky law who owe a high duty of care to other motorists and anyone else on the road. As a practical matter, facts that may constitute an understandable accident among non-commercial operators re clear evidence of negligence in common carrier cases.
Common carriers are nearly always employees who are acting within the course and scope of their employment, so third party respondeat superiror (“let the master answer”) liability nearly always applies. Kentucky courts define both these elements very broadly. For example, most judges use the Department of Labor’s definition to determine who is an “employee,” and that definition is “suffer or permit to work.” According to this standard, regular employees, independent contractors, and even unpaid volunteers are all employees, for negligence purposes.
Damages in vehicle wreck cases normally include compensation for both economic damages, such as lost wages, and noneconomic damages, such as loss of enjoyment in life. Additional punitive damages are available as well, in some extreme cases.
Insurance Company Defenses
Despite what television commercials often imply, the insurance company is not “on your side” if you are a victim in a car crash case. In fact, these lawyers will do almost anything to reduce or deny compensation to victims, because insurance companies make money by collecting premiums and not by paying damages.
Insurance companies often try to shift part of the blame to victims through contributory negligence laws. In many states, seat belt non-use is admissible to prove that the victims caused their own damages, at least to a certain extent. But Kentucky lawmakers have expressly overruled the seat belt defense, so it is not admissible in court. Insurance companies can still use some such evidence, but it must pertain to fault in the car crash, i.e. the victim was speeding, was intoxicated, etc.
Car crash victims are normally entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Morgantown, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon. Attorneys can arrange for victims to receive ongoing medical care, even if they have no money and no insurance.