On February 8, 2005, a 77-year-old man was talking with two Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) workers who were part of a crew cutting down a 55-foot sugar maple tree in a strip of lawn between the sidewalk and the street. While he stood between the two workers, both of whom were wearing hard hats, a 10-foot-long trunk segment was cut and fell to the ground. It struck a 25-inch-long log propelling it through the air and striking the man in the forehead. The man fell backward and struck his head on the sidewalk. He was transported to the hospital where he died the next day.
After waiting over two years for the Connecticut Claims Commissioner to grant permission to sue, the man’s widow filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that state workers failed to ensure that the man was a safe distance from the work site. Under state statute, lawsuits brought against the state need the permission of the state to go forward. She was awarded over $1.3 million in January 2012 after a non-jury trial, a judge who ruled that the accident was foreseeable and the state liable, but attorneys for the state appealed stating that the accident was unforeseeable. The defense argued that the DOT work crew met the standard of reasonable conduct and the man was kept a reasonably safe distance from any and all reasonably foreseeable dangers. The decision was overturned by a panel of three justices of the Connecticut Appellate Court in August 2013.
An appellate lawyer for the plaintiff asked the state Supreme Court to hear the case and argued that the DOT didn’t even have a written policy or regulation concerning the appropriate distance to stand from a fallen tree. He also noted that no Connecticut court has ever held that an industry has the last word on the standards governing its own liability.
We all have the right to expect that our state and local government does everything possible to keep us safe on our roads, at construction sites, and more. We expect they have written policies and procedures and all employees are properly trained to protect the community. When the government and/or business fail to do so, lawsuits almost always result in safety improvements. Shielding corporations and government entities from liability or damages is not a solution. Holding those who create dangerous conditions (or allow known dangers to continue without public warning) accountable for their actions improves safety, saves lives, and prevents future harm.
Now, almost 10 years later, the suit is nearly finishing its journey through the state courts. We will wait and see the Supreme Court decision.
This case is a perfect example of the all-to-often, lengthy litigation process especially with an appeal. The death of a loved one leaves many not only in emotional turmoil, but financial distress. Burial costs are expensive and can costs thousands of dollars. The loss may also put a strain on regular monthly expenses like mortgage/rent, car payments, and ongoing monthly expenses. As a result, some people turn to litigation funding.
Legal funding companies offer pre-settlement funding and post-settlement funding to help plaintiffs survive financially while they wait for their awards. Pre-settlement litigation funding is provided by a lawsuit funding company to a plaintiff before a settlement or award, with the expectation that the plaintiff will ultimately receive compensation from the suit. Funding provides immediate access to money so the plaintiff can cover expenses while in litigation. Post-settlement funding occurs after an award has been made or a settlement reached in a lawsuit, but before the award or settlement is paid out. Some plaintiffs find that they require financial assistance because even when a settlement is reached, it can still take time for the payment to be made. A defendant could also appeal the court’s ruling, resulting in a long time before the award is paid out.
If you are involved in a wrongful death lawsuit and are considering litigation financing, Litigation Funding Corporation may be your solution. We understand that waiting out the long litigation process can be devastating especially with bills stacking up. Our legal funding services are based on a non-recourse base, meaning that we are only repaid if you win your case. Credit score and employment history are not factors in the funding decision; only the strength of your case matters. Even if your case is in appeal, we can help. Don’t struggle financially during your pending claim and don’t settle for less than you deserve when our services may be a valuable asset to you. Once we receive an application, most requests for cash advances are approved within 1 to 2 days after case documentation is received from your attorney. Don’t delay; call today!