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wrongful death Archives | Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C.

Wrongful death claims may be brought in pedestrian-car accident

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Sunday, May 11th, 2014

Everyone that gets behind the wheel of a car in New York and beyond must recognize and appreciate their duty as a driver. After all, cars are very powerful pieces of machinery that are capable of inflicting a great deal of damage and injuries to other motorists and even pedestrians in some cases. While all the details concerning the tragic incident had yet to be disclosed, concerns were being raised over how and why an elderly driver killed one pedestrian and inflicted multiple personal injuries recently.

The fatal incident occurred one evening in California and resulted in numerous people being hurt. Two adults, along with two teenage girls and an 11-year-old boy, required medical treatment at an area hospital for injuries they sustained while standing outside a local ice cream parlor. The fatal accident victim, a 73-year-old woman, succumbed to her injuries after being pinned beneath the vehicle.

According to law enforcement, the fatal incident happened when the driver of an SUV mistakenly accelerated in the direction of the people standing outside the ice cream shop and struck a gate. The gate then fell on the pedestrians. The man driving the SUV is reportedly around 80 years old, and he was accompanied in the vehicle by his wife at the time.

While no word had been given as to whether or not the driver of the SUV may confront charges or wrongful death claims for his role in the fatal incident, it was confirmed that authorities had questioned him. Not only are they likely to investigate whether or not he was driving on a valid license but law enforcement may seek to determine if the elderly man experienced a medical crisis prior to wrongly accelerating into the crowd.

Source: abclocal.go.com, “Buena Park crash: Elderly driver hits group outside restaurant; 1 dead,” Robert Holguin, April 25, 2014


Settlements may not be the end of wrongful death cases

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Saturday, April 12th, 2014

In the tragic event that a family loses a loved one in a fatal accident in New York, they are often in desperate need of answers and closure. Understanding how and why the incident occurred is an important step in coming to terms with the loss and moving forward. Two separate families came to personal injury settlement agreements with a major American automaker only to now suspect that the cause of the car accidents that took the lives of their loved ones was known by the defendant for years. Now they’re both considering undoing those settlements.

Each and every wrongful death settlement is unique because it depends on several factors, such as particular state laws and the details of the incident. And given that so many wrongful death cases are settled outside of court, it can be increasingly difficult to legally nullify such agreements once they are confirmed. Even so, two families are claiming that their settlements with General Motors (GM) over the deaths of their loved ones should be void because GM achieved them on fraudulent grounds.

Despite the fact that one couple agreed to a settlement with GM in 2006, they are hoping to gain the right to sue the automaker because they believe the defendant knowingly withheld information regarding the real cause of the car accident that took the life of their adopted daughter in 2005. Like another family that lost someone in a car crash in 2009, the couple claims that GM knew the accidents were caused by faulty ignition switches but failed to disclose the information during the settlement process.

While the process of undoing the settlements may be difficult, the two families are accusing GM of fraud at a time when the automaker is facing several investigations and multiple other private lawsuits.

Source: Reuters, “Exclusive: GM crash victims’ families who settled may revisit deals,” Jessica Dye, Julia Edwards, Paul Lienert, March 29, 2014


Major automobile recall may result in wrongful death claims

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

When people invest in a new car in New York, they typically assume that the vehicle is in good working condition. After all, vehicles that come from the factory should be equipped with undamaged and high-quality parts. Unfortunately, however, some vehicles are outfitted instead with defective components that can have a serious impact on driver safety. While it has yet to be seen how consumers, victims and their families will respond to the mass recall conducted by one leading automaker, it’s possible that a series of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits may soon be presented.

General Motors began a massive recall on more than 1 million vehicles in February of this year, which has taken place in two stages. Several models of vehicles were involved in the recall, including the Saturn Sky, Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion. The primary cause for the recall is that all of the models cited feature faulty ignition switch devices. Dozens of complaints have reportedly been filed with safety regulators over ignition-related issues within the past decade even though the recall is only now taking place.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received documentation regarding problems and incidents relating to the recall from General Motors on two occasions. Though, the most recent report suggests that some of the information that was given before may not be correct. For example, ignition issues are now recognized in more than one car model. And even more startling is the fact that General Motors was reportedly aware of ignition switch issues long before it originally stated.

So far, it’s believed that ignition switch problems contributed to more than 30 accidents and 12 fatalities within the past 10 years.

Source: New York Times, “G.M. Reveals It Was Told of Ignition Defect in ‘01,” Danielle Ivory, March 12, 2014


Wrongful death claims may follow multi-fatality accident

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Friday, February 21st, 2014

Thousands of alcohol-related accidents occur in the state of New York each year. Unlike many other types of car accidents, drunk driving incidents are entirely preventable and often result in serious injuries and even death. And for the individuals and their families that are subjected to the reckless actions of drunk drivers, the consequences can be permanent and life altering. If it is found to be true that one suspect was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the fatal incident, she may face personal injury and wrongful death claims in addition to the criminal charges already placed against her.

Following the fatal, multi-vehicle car crash, the 21-year-old woman suspected of causing the incident was admitted to a Los Angeles, California, hospital under police monitoring. The suspect sustained major injuries in the accident, and was reportedly being treated for a ruptured bladder and broken bone. And despite the fact that she was admitted to the hospital, the young woman faced felony charges of manslaughter and drunk driving.

The suspect is accused of causing a major car accident that involved three vehicles and took the lives of six people recently. The incident allegedly occurred when the suspect drove into oncoming traffic on a westbound freeway and struck a vehicle, which was then hit by another car. The accident occurred early in the morning on a Sunday, and only one other individual besides the suspect survived with moderate injuries.

Few details were provided specifying which victims were in each vehicle, but two female victims reportedly died after being transported to hospital. Two other females that were in the suspect’s vehicle succumbed to their injuries at the site of the incident, and a male and female victim who were both ejected from their cars died as well.

Source: USA Today, “6 die when driver goes wrong way on Calif. freeway,” John Bacon, Feb. 10, 2014


Wrongful death lawsuit ends with justice

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Most people that drive commercial vehicles in New York take their jobs very seriously. After all, observing proper road safety rules is crucial to protecting oneself and others. Unfortunately, however, factors like inexperience and recklessness can cause some professional drivers to make very unprofessional decisions. One tractor-trailer driver was recently found guilty in a personal injury lawsuit filed by the family of a man that died as a result of the defendant’s poor judgment.

In the early morning hours of one fall day in 2009, the fatal accident victim was driving down a Pennsylvania interstate with another person in his car when a tractor-trailer pulled out in front of them unexpectedly. The victim’s truck struck the commercial vehicle and he and his passenger both succumbed to severe burns they sustained in the crash. The tractor-trailer driver caused the fatal accident when he attempted to merge back onto the road after being parked. He allegedly didn’t turn on his safety signals or check for oncoming traffic before commencing.

Later, the wife of driver killed in the accident file a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck company and driver involved in the incident. However, the case didn’t go to court until late last year. The truck company was accused of not properly training the driver or taking into account his lack of experience on the road. For his part, the truck driver was accused of not knowing how to use the communication equipment on his vehicle and not being familiar with his truck route.

Both defendants in the lawsuit were ultimately found guilty by the court. The truck driver and the truck company were held liable for compensatory damages to the victim’s family equaling more than $2 million each. Furthermore, the truck company was found to owe punitive damages as well.

Source: courthousenews.com, “Rookie Trucker Owes Millions for Fatal Crash,” Rose Bouboushian, Jan. 13, 2014


Wrongful death suits may follow tragic train accident

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Thursday, December 12th, 2013

As the investigation continues into the fatal train derailment incident that occurred in the Bronx, New York, more information is beginning to be released regarding all the factors that may have contributed to the accident. Two days after the incident, authorities and representatives with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority indicated that human error on the part of the train conductor could have played a major role in the derailment. If negligence and/or error are linked to the fatal crash, personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits may be filed on behalf of the victims and their families.

The train involved in the fatal derailment accident was approaching the Spuyten Duyvil station when the incident occurred. It’s reported that the train entered a turn at excessive speeds, which allegedly caused the train to derail. Now, authorities are investigating why the locomotive was going 82 mph in a 30 mph zone.

Following the incident, officials confirmed that the brakes on the train functioned correctly prior to the incident. However, the train conductor initially claimed that the brakes had malfunctioned. As a result, the conductor’s state of consciousness prior to the incident is being investigated. Multiple sources claim that the conductor confessed to dozing off before the crash. If that is the case, the question over why safety features installed on the train failed still remains.

A device known as a dead man’s pedal was allegedly installed on the train. Authorities had yet to determine whether or not the device was triggered before the crash. The tragic train accident may also raise questions over why a safety system known as positive train control technology has not been fully integrated into railroad operations.

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the train conductor involved in the incident is on unpaid leave.

Source: CNN, “Train engineer ‘was nodding off and caught himself too late,’ union rep says,” Shimon Prokupecz, Mike Ahlers, Ray Sanchez, Dec. 3, 2013 


Wrongful death suit settled in murder case

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Friday, November 1st, 2013

In the state of New York and beyond, an incident that results in serious injuries and/or death can lead to a series of grievances. Depending on the nature of the incident, criminal charges may be brought and can be accompanied by personal injury complaints. A recent case involving accusations of murder and wrongdoing illustrates how a wrongful death suit can play into a criminal trial.

Four people now face criminal charges for allegedly strangling two individuals to death in an Illinois home at the beginning of the year. One of the defendants in the murder case apparently lived at the house where the deadly incident occurred. As a result, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the defendant and her parents on behalf of one of the alleged murder victims. The victim’s mother initially sought over $10 million in the suit.

Because the alleged murders took place when the defendant’s father and wife owned the house, they too are identified as liable in the wrongful death suit. The suit accuses the owners of the house of allowing illegal activity like drug use to take place on the premises, compromising the safety of visitors to the property. It also claims that the homeowners wrongfully allowed the two alleged murder victims to come in contact with unpredictable and potentially violent drug users on the premises.

While the lawsuit called for millions of dollars in damages, the wrongful death case was recently settled and approved by the court for $150,000. The victim’s family will receive a large portion of the settlement, which is covered by the homeowners’ insurance coverage.

Source: Southtown Star, “Murder victim’s family OKs partial settlement in lawsuit,” Janet Lundquist, Oct. 22, 2013


Wrongful death suits against carmakers prove challenging

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Major car accidents happen throughout New York and other states around the country all the time. And while serious and even fatal automobile collisions are not uncommon, the specific circumstances surrounding individual crashes can be extraordinary in some circumstances. A recent case illustrates how personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed against carmakers can be incredibly complicated and difficult to win when the exact cause of a collision is not identified.

In 2009, a 66-year-old woman died when her Toyota Camry accelerated at high speeds, striking a tree and telephone pole after first colliding with another vehicle. The fatal incident prompted the victim’s family to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Toyota. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant was liable for the crash because they did not install technology in the car to prohibit unintended acceleration. The jury found, however, that the defendant was not conclusively responsible for the woman’s death.

The ruling in that particular case may have been influenced by the defendant’s argument that human error, not an equipment malfunction, may have caused the vehicle to accelerate after the initial collision. Those familiar with the series of lawsuits recently filed against the defendant note that any doubt over the exact cause of a car accident can result in a non-guilty verdict for defendants. The fact that the incident involved another collision may have also raised doubts over why the car would accelerate again.

It’s estimated that the odds are extremely low that unwanted acceleration is due to some kind of software malfunction. However, the defendant now faces hundreds of lawsuits around the country claiming that such glitches have caused serious injuries and death to motorists, adding credence to plaintiffs’ accusations.

Source: stlttoday.com, “Toyota riding momentum in wild acceleration cases,” Justin Pritchard, Oct. 11, 2013


Investigations into major car accidents stalled by funding cuts

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Saturday, October 12th, 2013

When there is a serious multi-vehicle accident in New York and elsewhere, an investigation by authorities is typically conducted right away to determine how and why the collision occurred. State and federal agencies may even be involved in the inquiry. A timely and thorough investigation is key to ensure evidence isn’t compromised and authorities have access to all relevant details of the scene. The investigation into one recent tragic accident is being hindered by several factors, raising concerns over victims’ abilities to pursue personal injury claims later on.

The deadly crash happened near Knoxville, Tennessee, and involved a church bus, 18-wheeler semitruck and van. Initial reports suggest that the accident occurred when the bus was rendered out of control and struck the truck and van after crashing through the road median. Apparently, an issue with one of the front tires on the bus contributed to the incident; though, an exact cause is not yet provided.

The serious collision caused injuries to 14 people and killed 10 others. Six of the fatality victims were bus passengers, three were riding in the van and the last was the truck driver. Of the 18 passengers in the bus, it’s not known how many were wearing seatbelts when the collision occurred.

Several factors, including the fact that the truck burned upon impact and investigators have yet to identify some of the victims, may be contributing to serious delays in the accident investigation. The situation is further compromised by National Transportation Safety Board staff furloughs implemented by the government shutdown, which has prohibited the agency from conducting its own investigation.

It’s difficult to say whether poor bus maintenance or human error contributed to the fatal accident. And without a proper investigation into the incident, personal injury and wrongful death suits may be difficult to file.

Source: USA Today, “IDs of bus crash victims hampered by ‘horrific’ scene,” Doug Stanglin, Oct. 3, 2013


Lack of relationship cited by NY judge in thrown out lawsuit

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Sunday, September 15th, 2013

When a New York citizen calls 911 and is told that help is on the way, they expect the help to arrive promptly and in time to help the injured or ill person. Without rapid response and quick treatment, a person injury may end in death or have serious effects on the health of the person. With the new modernization of the state’s 911 procedures, many citizens have complained of longer than normal wait times after reporting an emergency that requires immediate attention.

Because she felt the woman did not have a special relationship with the city, a judge recently tossed out a family’s wrongful death lawsuit after she died of a heart attack while awaiting help from an ambulance. The judge claimed that because the woman did not call 911 herself, and the call was not made by an immediate family member that the city did not have a responsibility to her.

The call was made by the woman’s boyfriend after she fell twice in the snow and told him she thought she was having a heart attack. Her family claims he did not take her to the hospital because he thought help was on the way, although the ambulance did not arrive until two hours after the original phone call.

It may have been possible to treat the woman’s injuries had the boyfriend known he needed to get her to the hospital.Citizens often pay taxes to fund 911 programs, and it may be determined by another court that the city is responsible for the woman’s death and the city owes her family money.

Source: Daily News, “Wrongful death lawsuit by family of woman who died waiting for ambulance thrown out because she did not make 911 call herself,” Barbara Ross, September 6, 2013