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Denny’s Sign Falls on Vehicle Killing Two in Elizabethtown:What is considered an automobile accident under Kentucky law?

Jan. 24, 2023

On January 19, 2023, at approximately 1:30 pm, an auto accident occurred when a Denny’s restaurant sign fell on a vehicle in a parking spot next to the restaurant in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The police determined that wind played a role in the falling of the large sign. Three people were in the vehicle and two of them died from their injuries. It seems clear to me that Denny’s will bear responsibility for this accident for not making sure their sign was secured to the pole. The wind involved in the accident was not an unusual wind and the owner of a sign would be required to make sure the sign was secured to the pole in a way that it could endure winds nor uncommon for the area.

Is the falling of the sign on a parked vehicle considered an auto accident under Kentucky Law?

KRS 304.39-020(6) defines “use of a motor vehicle” as “occupying, entering, alighting from” a vehicle but not ‘repairing or servicing” a vehicle on business premises or “loading or unloading” a vehicle. Based upon the terms of the statute, it would seem that the falling of a restaurant sign on a vehicle while people were sitting in the vehicle would constitute an auto accident under Kentucky law.

As you might imagine, there have been some unusual circumstances over the years where the Kentucky courts have had to determine if the circumstances constituted an auto accident. Here are some of the unusual circumstances where the courts determined the event was an auto accident:

Attaching a tow chain to a disabled vehicle.

Being struck by an object propelled by a lawn mower as the victim drove by in a vehicle.

Walking to a parked vehicle and being struck by rolling unattended vehicle after helping start disabled vehicle.

A drive by shooting if use of vehicle was integral part of the shooting.

Explosion in vehicle injures person entering vehicle where vapors were inside the vehicle.

Here are some of the unusual circumstances where the courts determined that the event was not an auto accident:

Standing in a trailer when accident happens.

Unfastening chain holding logs and a log rolls off and strikes the victim.

What is the importance of determining whether a particular event is an auto accident under Kentucky law? The importance lies in the insurance available to the victims. If the accident is considered an auto accident under Kentucky law, then the victims are entitled to Kentucky no-fault benefits, uninsured motorist benefits, underinsured motorist benefits and the other coverages we buy for our vehicles. Also, if the accident is considered an auto accident and the victims have access to Kentucky no-fault benefits, then the time limit for filing the claim is longer. If the accident is not considered an auto accident and/or there are no no-fault benefits available to the victims, then their claim will expire in one year. Otherwise, they will have 2 years or more before their claim expires.

Contact Kentucky Auto Accident Attorney Matthew Troutman

The circumstances, in this unusual auto accident in Elizabethtown, will require the services of an experienced Kentucky auto accident attorney to investigate the cause of the accident and maximize all benefits available to the victims and their families. Matthew Troutman, a Kentucky auto accident lawyer, of the Troutman Law Office has been handling auto accident claims, almost exclusively, since 1986 and has the experience and talent to obtain the best result for the victims in the above car accident.

If you need legal assistance due to a motor vehicle accident, contact Kentucky auto accident attorney Matthew Troutman directly at 859-696-0001 or 502-648-9507 and he will meet with you in the hospital, your home or wherever is convenient for you. He will give you direct access through his cell phone and guide you through the difficult process necessary to obtain the best result possible for you in your car accident claim. To learn more about Kentucky car accident attorney Matthew Troutman and the Troutman Law Office, click here.