Visitor Question

Son hit and killed while mowing grass for employer…

Submitted By: James (Olathe, KS, USA)

My son worked for a landscaping company. He was riding a large stand up mower, blowing grass off the street, when he was struck by a car and killed instantly. Is the driver and/or employer at fault? What should I do now? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear James,

We are certainly sorry for your loss. Let’s proceed in answering your questions by breaking them down into two (2) parts…

A. As to the driver of the car… Kansas Civil Statute Section 60-258 sets out Kansas negligence law, when negligence may be imputed to one or more parties.

In Kansas, if the victim contributed to an accident in any manner up to 50%, the victim’s compensation will be decreased proportionate to his or her contribution to the accident. If the victim’s contributory negligence exceeds 50%, the victim is entitled to no compensation.

Riding lawn mowers are not certified by Kansas motor vehicle statutes to be operated on the road. From the facts you present, your son was negligent when riding in the street.

The next issue is whether or not the driver could, or should have seen your son, and if so, why he didn’t avoid striking and killing your son. In this case, it appears both your son and the driver may have contributed to the accident.

It will be up to the insurance companies, and ultimately the court, to determine the percentage of the contribution of each party to the accident. If your son’s negligence exceeded 50%, his estate is not entitled to receive compensation. If his negligence was 50% or less, the estate’s compensation will be reduced accordingly.

B. Whether or not the employer was negligent, and therefore subject to a claim for compensation based on that negligence, will depend on whether the employer directed your son to operate the mower on the road or not.

If he did direct your son to do so, the employer may be liable. If not, and your son decided on his own to ride in the street, the employer will likely not be liable.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2014

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