In April of 2013, the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky heard a case that involved a Louisville car accident where the issue was plaintiff’s demand for punitive damages. (See Zachery v. Shaw, 2013 WL 1636385 (W.D. Ky. 2013)). The Louisville car accident occurred on Interstate 65. Plaintiff alleges in this Louisville car accident case that the tractor trailer driven by the defendant crossed into her right of way and struck her. The car accident was severe and plaintiff’s car was pushed more than 100 feet until it ran off the road. Plaintiff is claiming injuries to her back, post traumatic stress, her car was totaled, he ability to work impaired, and she had difficulty sleeping and concentrating.
Defendant filed a motion to dismiss. “Under Kentucky law, punitive damages are available only if a defendant acted with oppression, fraud, malice, or gross negligence. KRS Section 411.184” (cites omitted). The level needed to satisfy the requirement of gross negligence is high. Not only do you have to show that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable are but that he did the action with a ‘wanton or reckless disregard for the lives, safety or property of others’. Id.
The Louisville Car Accident lawyer that plaintiff had hired had to show that the actions of the driver were truly gross negligence. If the driver of the tractor-trailer was just negligent then punitive damages would not be awarded, no matter how serious of an accident or how serious the injuries were.
In the Louisville car accident case at hand, the plaintiff, through her Louisville car accident lawyer, stated nothing more than conclusory recitations of the standard for assessing punitive damages. Id. The plaintiff did not allege anything that would lead the court to believe that the Louisville car accident caused by the defendant was because he committed gross negligence. Also, there was no way to hold the owner liable for punitive damages under a respondent superior type theory in that there was no proof that the owner had any knowledge that the drive had any dangerous propensities to the way he drives. The court accordingly dismissed the punitive damages claims against both defendants. The Louisville car accident lawyer for the defendant was able to have this part of the complaint dismissed but the main part of the car accident case was still viable and was to continue in the court system.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville Car Accident case, please call and speak to a Louisville Car Accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (888-275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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