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Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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Varellas & Varellas has settled a personal injury and wrongful death case for the full homeowner’s policy limits after the Plaintiff suffered head and brain injuries at the home of the Defendant which subsequently led to her death. The Defendant’s homeowner’s insurance company initially offered no settlement and then only offered 10% of the available insurance proceeds with a take-it-or-leave-it offer, contending it would secure a complete dismissal of the claim for insurance based on exemptions in the policy. The Plaintiff rejected the low offer and proceeded to secure a judgment of liability against the Defendant and then secured a judgment finding that the various exclusions claimed by the insurance company did not in fact apply to the Plaintiff’s claims. The full amount of insurance proceeds were then offered and recovered as compensation for the Plaintiff’s injuries and wrongful death.

Contact us locally at 859-252-4473 or 502-595-7955 or call us toll free at 877-634-1519. You can also use our online form to talk with one of our experienced trial lawyers about your potential claim involving wrongful death, dog attack, car or truck wreck, nursing home neglect or abuse, medical malpractice or other personal injury.

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After a 5-day trial, a jury in Lexington, Kentucky has awarded the Estate of a Lawdeceased man a total of more than $2.4 million, including $2 million in punitive damages, as a result of his wrongful death. After an apportionment, the verdict was reduced to a final amount of $2.269 million. The verdict was one of the largest awarded in Lexington or Fayette County in many years, and the jury was unanimous in finding that the Estate was entitled to collect compensatory and punitive damages due to the wrongful death.

The case was litigated by attorneys from Varellas & Varellas, including Sandra M. Varellas, D. Todd Varellas, and James J. Varellas (“Jay”) III.

Sandra has been selected for membership in The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers as one of the top 100 civil trial lawyers in Kentucky and has been selected as one of the Top 100 Litigation Lawyers in Kentucky by the American Society of Legal Advocates, a selective membership which comprises less than 1.5% of all licensed lawyers nationwide. She has extensive litigation and trial experience and represents clients in areas including personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and neglect, tractor trailer accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and wrongful death.

Todd has been selected by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys as one of the Top 10 Personal Injury Attorneys in Kentucky under the age of 40, and was previously selected by The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40, as one of the top 40 trial lawyers under the age of 40 practicing in Kentucky. Using his litigation and trial experience, Todd represents injury clients in areas including nursing home abuse and neglect, medical malpractice, wrongful death, defective products, and motor vehicle wrecks, including semi and truck accidents. Before joining Varellas & Varellas, Todd clerked on the Supreme Court of Kentucky and worked in the area of trial defense in Washington, D.C.

Jay joined Varellas & Varellas after practicing as an attorney at law firms in New York City and San Francisco. Jay has spent much of his legal career litigating large-scale class actions and other complex litigation disputes around the country. While an attorney practicing in New York, he was part of the trial team that tried a multi-billion-dollar class action to a jury verdict in a four-month trial in federal court. He also has trial experience involving claims of bad-faith denial of insurance claims and medical malpractice, and represents clients in cases involving personal injury and wrongful death, including nursing home abuse and neglect, tractor trailer and trucking accidents, motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, products liability as well as other areas.  Immediately after law school, Jay clerked on the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky.

To discuss your potential personal injury, wrongful death, nursing home abuse or neglect, motor vehicle wreck, medical malpractice or trucking accident claim with one of our experienced trial attorneys, contact us at 877-634-1519 or via our online form.

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In Kentucky, as in other states, personal injury lawsuits may seek compensation for another person’s negligence that causes injury. However, these compensatory damages are not meant to punish the negligent person. Punitive damages may be awarded only where a party is found to have acted with “gross negligence.” It is not sufficient to show merely that someone failed to exercise reasonable care. It must also be shown that the person displayed gross negligence or reckless disregard for other peoples’ lives, safety or property.

In a recent case involving a fatal accident, the Supreme Court of Kentucky considered punitive damages in the context of a coal trucking accident. A coal truck flipped over in 2004 while it was being driven on Highway 80. From the opposite direction, a man was driving a pickup truck with a seventy-eight year old passenger. Because coal had spilled all over the highway, the man was not able to stop and crashed into the coal truck. His passenger was injured and died.

The man driving the pickup and the passenger’s estate sued the employee who had been driving the coal truck and its employer for ordinary negligence. They also sued the employer for gross negligence in failing to properly maintain the coal truck. The pickup driver settled his claims, but the estate went to trial against the employer and employee. The employer asked for a directed verdict from the trial court, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to find it had conducted itself with gross negligence. The trial court denied the motion for directed verdict. The jury awarded the estate $2,121,371.31 in compensatory damages, as well as $2 million in punitive damages against the employer for the wrongful death of the passenger.

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Due to the vulnerability of nursing home residents, Kentucky has enacted statutes aimed at protecting them from nursing home abuse and neglect. Kentucky law mandates in KRS 216.515 that all residents shall be free from mental and physical abuse, and they must be free from restraints by physical or chemical methods except in emergencies or other specific circumstances specified in writing by a physician.

Kentucky statutes further provide in KRS 216.515 that residents whose statutory rights are deprived or infringed upon shall have a cause of action against the facility responsible for the violation. In a lawsuit brought under the nursing home statutes, the nursing home resident or legal representative can recover actual and punitive damages for denial or infringement of the resident’s rights as well as attorney’s fees and the costs of the lawsuit.

In a suit brought photo_5255_20080312under the Kentucky nursing home statutes, a jury in Louisville awarded an $8 million verdict for nursing home abuse to the estate of a retired surgeon whose sustained broken bones while he was in the care of Treyton Oak Towers. Dr. Griffin’s legs were broken when he was improperly transferred from his chair to his bed and, due to a previous stroke, he was unable to tell anyone about the pain he was suffering. After his legs were broken, the staff put him back in bed and pretended it didn’t happen.

The nursing home initially denied any wrong doing and even tried to cover up the nursing home neglect that eventually led to the patient’s wrongful death less than two months later. There was also evidence presented that the nursing home was understaffed and failed to properly evaluate and train its staff. Continue reading

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As lawyers who handle wrongful death as well as other car accident cases, we are keenly aware of the effect that motor vehicle accidents can have on insurance premiums. Every motor vehicle owner is required by Kentucky law to carry insurance for each vehicle owned, or severe penalties will be assessed. Insurance premiums are a necessity and they will likely increase if you are involved in an accident. To reduce your premiums, you may be considering new options being offered by insurance companies.

1204516_14487555More and more insurers are offering discounts to drivers that agree to install a device in their car that will monitor their driving style. Progressive offers Snapshot, State Farm offers Drive Safe & Save with In-Drive, and Allstate has Drive Wise. The company sends you a device, called a telematic device, that you plug into the vehicle’s diagnostic port, usually under the steering wheel, and the company monitors your driving habits. The cautious driver who drives fewer miles would likely pay lower insurance premiums since they’re less likely to be involved in an accident. However, the device becomes an electronic snoop and wirelessly transmits information to your insurer detailing not only how far you drive, but also when you drive, how fast you accelerate and turn, and how hard you accelerate, brake and corner. The drawback to using these devices is a loss of privacy and possible use of the information against you.

It appears that many drivers are willing to install the telematic devices and transmit detailed driving data to their insurer in the hopes of receiving a discount, and a recent study commissioned by Ford may explain their willingness since the study found that 99 percent of drivers believe they are good drivers. Of the participants in the study, however, 76% admitted they eat or drink while driving, 55% admitted to speeding, 53% talk on handheld phones, 37% drive even when they’re too tired and 25% use their phones to search contacts. So, even though you may think you’re a safe driver, the information sent to your insurer may paint a different picture and may not get you the discount you hoped for. Continue reading

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