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ARTICLE ID 8687

$________ GROSS Wrongful death - Motor vehicle collision - Tractor-trailer collided into the rear of the automobile causing the roof to collapse - Auto driver killed - Contributory negligence of decedent.

Sedgwick County, Kansas

The plaintiffs are the six children of the decedent. The decedent was the driver of a Chevrolet Cavalier that was struck in the rear by the defendant’s semi tractor-trailer. The truck rode onto the roof of the vehicle, collapsing it and causing the death of the driver. The defendants maintained that the plaintiff’s decedent was traveling too slowly on a highway.

The 65-year-old male decedent was driving a Chevrolet Cavalier automobile at approximately 35 miles per hour on the highway. The defendant semi tractor trailer was being driven at approximately 65 miles per hour. The defendant came up upon the decedent’s vehicle and struck the vehicle in the rear. The force of the impact drove the truck onto the top of the motor vehicle, causing the roof to collapse on the driver, killing him.

The plaintiffs maintained that the defendant failed to make proper observation and take evasive action to avoid colliding with the decedent’s vehicle. The plaintiffs maintained that there was no evidence that the defendant driver made any attempt to slow his truck down or change lanes on the highway. The plaintiffs alleged that the driver of the vehicle was negligent.

The defendant driver testified that he had ample time to slow or stop his vehicle and could have changed lanes to avoid colliding with the decedent’s vehicle. He testified that he failed to do so because he believed that the decedent would speed up or move out of his way.

The defendants maintained that the decedent was at least partially responsible for the collision since the decedent’s vehicle was traveling too slowly on the highway and was swerving from lane to lane. Both the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ experts agreed that the decedent’s vehicle was traveling at approximately 35 miles per hour at the time of impact and the defendant’s truck was traveling at approximately 65 miles per hour. The plaintiffs presented expert testimony that the decedent’s vehicle was struck while it was in the middle of its lane with no evidence of swerving as alleged by the defendants.

The trial in this matter lasted four days. The jury found that the plaintiffs’ decedent was 18% liable for the happening of the accident and that the defendant truck driver was 82% liable. The jury awarded the sum of $________ for past non-economic damages and $________ for future non-economic damages. The recovery however was capped by state law at the sum of $________. The p 7 3 defendants have filed a motion for a new trial which is presently pending. The defendants offered to forego their appeal for a settlement less than that which was won at trial, however the plaintiffs declined that post-trial settlement offer.

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