Kansas City
Over $1 Billion in Verdicts and Recoveries
Accident Killed 4-Month Old and Parents
Ruth E. Igoe
The Kansas City Star

The plaintiffs were the parents of a 29-year-old husband and 30-year-old wife who were killed along with their 4-month-old daughter in an accident with a drunk driver. They sued the driver.

The accident happened on Interstate 435 in Kansas City on Dec. 25, 1998. The decedents were heading home from a Christmas celebration at approximately 10:00 p.m. The defendant’s auto crossed the median of I-435 and struck the decedents’ car head-on, killing all three occupants. The defendant survived and attempted to flee, but was apprehended by a Jackson County detention officer who happened on the scene. The defendant later measured .16 VAC, .06 over the legal limit.

The plaintiffs claimed the defendant was driving while intoxicated, was speeding, and crossed the center line. A Kansas City police department accident investigator determined from the skid marks that the defendant was traveling at a minimum of 85 mph, and an eyewitness estimated that he was driving approximately 100 mph and weaving in and out of traffic just before the accident.

The defendant did not put on evidence. Defense counsel pointed out that defendant told police on the night of the accident that he was cut off by another vehicle.

The jury returned a compensatory damages verdict of $9.9 million and a punitive damages verdict of $13.5 million.

Prior to the civil verdict, a Jackson County jury convicted the defendant of involuntary manslaughter in the three deaths, and of second-degree assault for injuring two persons in another car involved in the crash. That jury recommended a sentence of 23 years, although sentence had not been imposed as of the civil trial.

Type of Action: Negligence

Type of Injuries: Three deaths

Court/Case Number/Date: Jackson County Circuit Court/99CV208562 / Dec. 17, 1999

Caption: Henderson, et al. v. Fields

Judge, Jury, or ADR: Jury

Name of Judge: Thomas C. Clark

Special Damages Claimed: $3,380,000 lost future wages

Verdict or Settlement: $23.4 million verdict.

Allocation of Fault: N/A

Last Offer: Not disclosed

Last demand: Not disclosed

Attorneys for Plaintiffs: Gary C. Robb and Anita Porte Robb, Kansas City

Insurance Carrier: confidential

Plaintiffs’ Experts: Dr. Sam Gulino, Kansas City (medical examiner); Timothy Harms, Kansas City (accident reconstruction); William Newhouse, Kansas City (blood alcohol analysis); John O. Ward, Kansas City(economist)

Defendant’s Experts: None


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Personal Injury Lawyers - Kansas City, Missouri

Personal injury is an area of law that pertains to the injury of an individual. Both physical and emotional injuries fall into this branch of tort law. A personal injury lawyer is generally involved in cases where an injury has occurred due to the negligence of another party.

Examples of cases that a personal injury lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri can assist with include workplace accidents, falling or other accidents in the home, premises liability, defective and hazardous product cases, and dental and medical malpractice cases. If negligence on behalf of another party can be proved in court, compensation may be awarded.

Personal injury attorneys can also assist with industrial disease cases that may include respiratory diseases or a decline in health due to hazardous occupational conditions. These and other medical cases are often very complex, and it is advised that all aspects of the claim be handled by an experienced attorney.

Wrongful Death Lawyers - Kansas City, Missouri

Wrongful death falls under the common law jurisdictions wherein a person may be held liable for a death. It is important to note that wrongful death is the only course of legal action in which a company, rather than an individual, is at fault for a death.

In Kansas City, Missouri, cases involving wrongful death accidents require a preponderance of evidence as the standard of proof. Generally, the suit is filed by close relatives.

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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