Beardsley, Jensen and Von Wald
You can recover all of your damages after being injured in a car accident caused by somebody else's negligence – but, only once. You cannot recover twice.
In Fuentes v. Jednat, 229 P.3d 949 (2010), the plaintiff first sued the 18-year old drunk driver who rear-ended her. She was awarded a judgment against that driver for actual and punitive damages. Then, plaintiff brought an action against the 18-year old driver's parents and uncle for negligently entrusting their vehicle to the 18- year old. The Wyoming Supreme Court held that plaintiff was barred proceeding for the alleged negligent entrustment because
she had been awarded a judgment for all of her damages in her trial against the 18-year old drunk driver. She could not recover twice. The Court stated:
In her action against [the 18-year old drunk driver], [plaintiff] presented evidence on all of her injuries ……, and damages resulting from the accident. The jury determined those damages and returned a verdict in her favor. [Plaintiff] fails to establish how the damages caused by (the allegedly negligently entrusting parents and uncle) differ from the damages resulting from [the 18-year old drunk driver's] fault…..
[Plaintiff] had her day in court. The jury in her case against Jonathan awarded her damages and she was thus made ‘whole.' …She collected all of the damages available to her in her claim against [the 18-year old drunk driver].
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1. You see yet another car accident at a spot where there have been many accidents in the past and will be more accidents in the future?
2. You learn another person is hurt using a machine that has injured others in the past and will injure others in the future?
3. You watch a dangerous practice – like where a school bus parks – you know is a disaster waiting to happen?
What should you do?
Try to prevent the next accident, injury, and catastrophe from happening.
How can you do that?
Send a letter or email to those responsible – the highway department, the owner and operator of the machine, the school district - putting them on notice of the danger.
Your letter or email will either prompt a "fix" or help the next innocent victim establish liability against those who failed to act.
Taking a few minutes to write a letter or email can have a huge impact; you can be a difference maker.