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Johnson County, Kansas Law Firm Reaches Successful Settlement In Wrongful Death Litigation

Published June 29, 2016 | By admin

The law firm of Clyde & Wood, LLC announces the final settlement in the case involving the wrongful death of Hannah Deaver, a 17 year old female, who was killed July 31, 2010, when a car racing in the Lyon County Mud-A-Thon lost control, left the track, and landed on Hannah causing fatal injuries. The racing car was being driven by Marvin Jenkins of Wichita, Kansas. A Mud-A-Thon is a racing competition in which cars with very powerful engines and large tires race through a mud pit. The race was held on the Lyon County fairgrounds. The fairgrounds are owned by the Board of Commissioners of the County of Lyon and the Mud-A-Thon was organized and conducted by the Lyon County Fairboard. Security at the fair was provided by Silverson Security (Silverson), an outside firm.

The firm, through lead counsel, Dennis Clyde, first brought claims on behalf of Hannah’s parents against The Board of Commissioners of the County of Lyon (hereinafter "BOC") and Marvin Jenkins in September, 2011. After learning of the involvement of the Lyon County Fairboard (hereinafter "Fairboard") and Silverson, the plaintiffs later amended their pleadings to include the other two defendants.

In early 2013, Silverson entered into a confidential settlement with plaintiffs and was dismissed from the case. After two years of litigation, in the summer of 2013, the governmental entities, (Fairboard and BOC), filed motions for summary judgment claiming immunity under the Kansas Tort Claims Act. Because the incident occurred on property designed and used for recreational purposes, the plaintiffs were required to show the Fairboard and the BOC were culpable of more than ordinary negligence, but that their conduct rose to the level of gross and wanton, constituting a reckless disregard for spectators at the race. The defendants argued the plaintiffs could not meet the required burden of proof.

Plaintiffs argued the evidence clearly showed gross and wanton conduct on the part of the governmental entities. Plaintiffs were able to show the Fairboard and BOC deliberately undertook holding mud races with no experience or training on the part of any of the members in charge of the race. Further, the evidence showed the defendants conducted no research or investigation into safety considerations for "Mud- A-Thons." Although there were a number of guidelines and safety rules available from sanctioned racing organizations, the Fairboard never looked at them and never consulted with experienced racers or promoters.

Moreover, the only 2 rules the Fairboard had implemented for the safety of spectators were both ignored. No spectators were to be allowed past the finish line or within 25 feet, laterally, of the track. The Fairboard knew the mud racers were operating vehicles capable of 1,000 to 3,000 horsepower and with tires as large as 44 inches. The Fairboard failed to have any procedure in place by which to assure the rules were followed and allowed both rules to be violated by numerous spectators. Additionally, there was evidence the area from which Hannah Deaver was watching was supposed to have been roped off, but the Fairboard failed to do so. Evidence further revealed the Fairboard had failed to discuss and review its own rules for spectator safety for many years and, as a result, most of the members working the race were ignorant of the rules.

Perhaps most egregious was the fact there had been a prior incident of a race car losing control and leaving the track at the precise location from where Hannah was allowed to watch. Finally, immediately before the race, Monte Ross, a spectator familiar with mud racing, walked on to the track and told one of the officials the many spectators watching from past the finish line were in danger. The response was to tell Mr. Ross to get off the track.

Despite the evidence, in July, 2013 the district court in Sedgwick County, Kansas dismissed plaintiffs’ claims against the Fairboard and BOC, finding insufficient evidence of gross and wanton negligence. Thereafter, the plaintiffs appealed and in 2015 the Kansas Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, finding the evidence sufficient and sending the case back to Wichita for trial. The case was then set for trial in June, 2016. Shortly before trial, the plaintiffs successfully obtained confidential settlements from all three remaining defendants, Fairboard, BOC and Marvin Jenkins. The litigation is a showpiece for determination and stamina on the part of both Hannah’s parents and their attorneys, Clyde & Wood, LLC.1 Most cases against governmental entities for injuries or death occurring on recreational property (ball fields, swimming pools, fairgrounds, gyms, etc.) are thrown out because of the difficulty in proving the higher standard of gross and wanton conduct. This unique success came after years of hard work.

1 Clyde & Wood, LLC handles personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Kansas, including Johnson, Wyandotte, Miami, Linn, Douglas, Sedgwick and other counties. Firm cases include injuries and death from auto, truck, motorcycle, medical negligence and other claims. The firm, located in the Kansas City area, also handles cases in the Western District of Missouri and has co-counseled in numerous jurisdictions. For more information visit the firm’s website at www.clydeandwood.com or call 1-800-207-0149 or 913-663-4446 or email info@clydeandwood.com.

I Fell Going In The Store – Who Will Pay For My Medical Bills And Damages – What Should I Do?

Published November 13, 2014 | By admin

Winter is upon us and with it comes snow and ice. Every winter season thousands of people are seriously injured from falling on slick or icy surfaces. Many people are of the impression that if they fall on commercial premises, the business owner is always liable for their medical expenses and damages. The law, however, requires the injured person to prove a dangerous condition existed on the premises, further, that the owner knew the dangerous condition existed and failed to take action to make the premises safe despite having sufficient time and opportunity to do so. These cases compose a body of law known as "premises liability." The insurance industry likes to call them "slip and fall" cases. The phrase tends to infer the person who was injured was at fault because the injured party "slipped and fell." These case can be challenging since it is often hard to prove the owner had prior knowledge of the dangerous condition. If one falls in the middle of an ice storm or blizzard, the defense will obviously be that the owner had no opportunity to treat or remove the ice yet. Weather records are often important to show the precipitation was two or three days old and the owner should have treated and removed the ice before someone got hurt. The issues remain the same regardless of how the fall occurred. At Clyde & Wood, we have handled a very large number of premises liability claims including falls on ice, dangerous stairways, falls caused by defects in parking lots, slippery and wet floors in restaurants and stores, as well as falls caused by large uneven cracks in sidewalks. We represent injured people throughout the region, including Missouri and Kansas. If you are injured as the result of a fall, you need to have someone get photos depicting the condition of the premises at the time of your fall if at all possible. Do not talk to representatives of the owner or their insurance company without first consulting legal counsel.

How Do I Choose A Lawyer?

Published March 1, 2012 | By admin

Believe it or not, 35 years ago lawyers were not allowed to advertise. Advertising was considered unethical. Today, the public is bombarded with attorneys advertising for business in every form of media from billboards, to the yellow pages, to television. Be wary of grandiose claims in advertising such as "winningest trial lawyers," or a recitation of the amount or value of previous cases the lawyer claims to have settled. Every case is unique and different in its own way. The facts of each case are never the same. The witnesses are not the same and the claimants and defendants are not the same. Because of this, in Kansas it is deemed unethical to advertise the amount of past settlements or verdicts. The result in another case, good or bad, does nothing to foretell the likely result in your case, absent a detailed analysis and comparison of all aspects of your claim.

Most lawyers have websites which include biographical information of the lawyer and his or her experience. Other websites, such as "Lawyers.com" can help steer you toward this information. If the information is not available to you on line or elsewhere, then you should make inquiry of the attorney. Relevant questions include the attorney's years of experience, and particular experience in handling cases of the same type for which you are seeking advice. Lawyers tend to focus their legal practice in certain areas, such as commercial litigation, personal injury, medical malpractice, probate, workers' compensation, etc. You should feel comfortable and confident that your attorney is skilled and knowledgeable in the area for which you are seeking representation. Finally, you should be satisfied you will receive the kind of personal attention you deserve and content with the overall relationship between you and your lawyer.

I Was In An Automobile Accident – What Should I Do?

Published February 1, 2012 | By admin

As discussed in an earlier blog, when you are injured in an automobile accident, you should secure the advice of legal counsel as soon as practical. In the meantime, there are certain steps you should also follow to protect your interests.

  • Unless your vehicle is absolutely creating a traffic hazard, do not move your car until the police arrive. If you are not the one injured, make the injured person as comfortable as possible without moving him or her in a way that could cause additional harm. In any event, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Ask for the other driver's name, address, driver's license number, the name of their insurance company and policy number. Write down the license plate number of the other vehicle. Also, be ready to give this same information to the other driver. Likewise, obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses. Notify the police and obtain the investigating officer's name and ask for a case number to obtain a copy of the accident investigation report.
  • In this day and age of smart phones, it is generally very easy to obtain photographs of the accident scene. If you do not have a phone capable of taking such photographs, you should keep a cheap disposable camera in your glove compartment, or elsewhere in the vehicle for such a purpose.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for any pain, discomfort or other symptoms no matter how minor. You may be seriously injured without realizing it at the time. Any delay in seeking medical attention may be important.
  • Make notes as to how the collision occurred. You may have to recount specifics in testimony to prove your claim several months or even years later. Details are soon forgotten. Try to be precise. For example, noting exactly how fast you were going immediately before impact is better than simply saying "I was not speeding." Utterances and conversations immediately after impact while at the scene may be extremely important.

Report the accident to your own insurance company as soon as you can. If you have been injured, be sure to ask for a Personal Injury Protection application. If contacted by the insurance company for the other driver, be aware that your telephone conversation will most likely be recorded. Generally, you should only give statements to the police, your own attorney and your own insurance representative. Do not let anyone rush you into a quick settlement. Consult an attorney to determine your rights and protect your interest.

I Was Hurt In Auto Accident – Can I Recover For My Pain And Suffering?

Published January 1, 2012 | By admin

Another interesting aspect of the Kansas "no fault law" relating to car wrecks, is the requirement that you must either sustain a permanent injury, or incur more than $2,000.00 in medical expenses before you can make a claim for pain and suffering. In other words, unless you have a permanent injury or your medical bills exceed $2,000.00, your recovery for any injuries sustained in the automobile accident will be limited solely to the payment of your medical expenses and any lost earnings. Once you have met the threshold requirement of $2,000.00 or more of medical expenses, or you have been diagnosed with a permanent injury, you can then make a claim against the responsible party for pain, suffering, mental anguish and other non-economic loss.

Although many states have very similar laws, your right to recover payment for medical expenses and other losses will depend on the particular law of the state in which the auto accident occurred. For example, Missouri insurance policies have "Medical Pay" coverage and not the Personal Injury Protections benefits required in Kansas. Furthermore, Missouri does not have a threshold requirement of medical expenses which must be incurred before you can make a claim for your pain and suffering. First and foremost, you should always contact legal counsel as soon as possible to determine your rights and protect your interests if you have been injured in an automobile accident.

I Was In An Automobile Accident – Who Pays My Medical Bills?

Published December 3, 2011 | By admin

This is a very common question. The answer varies depending upon where you reside. Kansas residents are often very surprised to learn their own automobile insurance company is responsible, at least initially, for the payment of their medical bills when they are hurt in a car wreck. Kansas is a so-called "no fault" state. People are often surprised to learn that a part of the Kansas "no fault" law requires that every policy of automobile insurance issued in the State of Kansas must include coverage for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. The minimum PIP coverage is $4,500.00. Some people purchase higher coverage as a part of their auto policy. Regardless of whether you were at fault or not in the accident, your own automobile insurance company must pay for your medical treatment until all of your PIP coverage has been exhausted. The only exception is when you are involved in an accident while on the job, which then falls under worker's compensation. Once your PIP coverage is exhausted, then you can submit the remainder of your medical expenses to your own health insurer. The insurance company for the driver causing the wreck (referred to as the "tortfeasor") is not required to pay for your medical bills unless and until such time as you either reach a settlement resolving your claim in its entirety, or obtain recovery by way of a jury verdict or judgment. If you are hurt in an automobile collision, you should immediately contact your own car insurance company and request an application form to apply for your Personal Injury Protection benefits. Your PIP benefits will also include some coverage for lost wages.

Clyde and Wood’s New Website

Published June 17, 2011 | By admin

Thank you visiting our new website. We also have moved to a new office location across the street from our old location. The new address is:

Clyde & Wood, LLC
11225 College Boulevard , Suite 110
Overland Park, Kansas 66210

We still have the same phone and fax numbers. They are:

Tel: (913) 663-4446
Fax: (913) 663-5335

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Compass Corporate Centre Front Entrance

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Compass Corporate Centre Front View

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Compass Corporate Centre