Most personal injury claims are brought against individuals who caused harm or damages to another person. However, individuals are not the only defendants who may be held responsible when serious injuries or death occur. Sometimes corporations can be held accountable when their employees are acting within the scope of employment, or when other individuals are performing as agents of the corporation. A recent case before the West Virginia Court of Appeals looks at the unique question of whether a trust can also be sued for personal injury or wrongful death if its trustee commits a tort that leads to an injury.
An Ohio County West Virginia Jury recently returned a $13.1 million dollar verdict for the wrongful death of a passenger of a motorcycle. The 16 yr old passenger was killed when the motorcycle she was a riding struck a vehicle at the intersection of 48th Street and Central Avenue in Wheeling.
The attorney in the case brought suit for the estate suit which was brought by Lauren Decker’s Estate and by her parents and brother Steve, will receive $600,000 for sorrow, $1 million for mental anguish, $300,000 for loss of society, $1 million for loss of companionship, $600,000 for loss of guidance. The Estate was award $750,000 for physical pain and suffering, $750,000 for emotional pain and suffering; medical bills in the amount of $314,588, funeral bills of $28,014.20 and $1.58 for loss of income. The defendants were also found to be responsible for $5 millions for punitive damages.
The suit was also brought against the owner of the motorcycle who was James Meintel who was living with the driver Lauren Decker age 21 at the time of the accident. Decker has previously pled guilty to the criminal charge of aggravated vehicular homicide for which she was sentenced with up to four years in the State Penitentiary.