Every farmer and rancher knows their business is dangerous, and even with the utmost care, accidents happen. When the accident is fatal a subsequent wrongful death lawsuit may not only affect the bottom line but can also bring emotional and social turmoil that a farming or ranching operation is not prepared for. Fatal accidents can happen anytime, but here in Nebraska and Iowa, these cases tend to occur more regularly during harvest season when farmers are working harder and faster and taking chances they probably wouldn’t take if they had more time. We have seen two wrongful death cases involving farming operations filed in Nebraska in the last two months. The most recent involved a man who was accidentally hit by a combine while the other involved a man who suffocated when engulfed in a grain bin. Read about them here and here.
The following is a list of five important details you should know about wrongful death cases in Nebraska and Iowa:
(1) In Nebraska and Iowa, wrongful death cases must be brought within 2 years of death.
(2) The wrongful death action is brought by a representative of the decedent’s estate for the exclusive benefit of the spouse, children or parents.
(3) Recovery is allowed for the the medical and funeral expenses resulting from the wrongful death plus any economic loss of the decedent’s services and support suffered by the spouse, children or parents. Parents may also recover for the loss of society, comfort, and companionship of a deceased minor child. Iowa allows recovery for the loss of society, comfort, and companionship of an adult child as well.
(4) Recovery is also allowed for pre-death pain and suffering the decedent incurred as a result of the accident. In Nebraska the claim for a pre-death pain and suffering is a separate claim from the wrongful death claim and can be filed within 4 years of the date of the accident.
(5) Mental suffering, bereavement, or solace of the widow or next of kin is generally not a recoverable damage.
Please realize the above 5 points are general rules with exceptions depending on the facts of circumstances of each case. Hopefully, as the reader, you never have to go through one of these lawsuits. However, if a fatal accident does occur in your farming or ranching operation you should call your attorney who can help prepare you for a possible suit.
When the wrongful death was really murder or withholding of aide to my trapped son who had chased the people who were harrassing us because I had refused to allow them to channel water to drain Wetland down a line of sinkholes in Mitchell County Iowa the Mitchell County attorney refused to even answer my Request to Prosecuet is it still 2 years in Iowa? Mark Walk and Judge Bryan McKinley made sure I could not get the supeonas answered for Adam’s autopsy report and spread it around that Adam was drinking when he wasn’t. Poet Adam’s employer wanted the autopsy report, and I knew Adam had not been drinking, the car that Adam chased set at the Mitchell County Sherriff’s Office after Adam’s death, but the first 911 called in report and who Adam was chasing at 11:30 on the night of 7-12-2008 was never given in answer to that supeona either. Then the 911 call of 2 other passer-bys got St Ansgar Rescue and Judge Bryan McKinley to the scene. After laying there with his legs trapped under the dash for 7 hours the rescue people put down on the report No Aide given as the pictures show and they proceded to lift and drop Adam’s truck smashing his legs further since the motor mounts were broken. As Adam tried to pull himself out they dropped the truck another time taking his head off at the C-2 vertebra. Judge Bryan McKinley is in those pictures taken over an hour after St Ansgar Rescue got to the scene. They refused to give me the breathilizer report to since they tried to say he died at midnight even though the coroner that was called to the scene wrote down about 7am. The web site in my son’s memmory has a paper he wrote for an environmental science course he took at the U of Iowa about the issue this Mitchell County Group was attaching us about. It’s in the last file on the Documents Page of http://www.lack-family.net/adam . That paper explains how this group wanted the very limited drainage outlet that I had gotten from the Corps of Engineer’s in 1995 as long as I maintained the conservation practices suggested by NRCS. That group had been denied a Huge Drainage Ditch because they could not get a permit or an Outlet for it and weren’t allowed to dig through the former Head of Farm Bureau’s, Dean Kleckner’s, line of sinkholes in 1991. The IDNR, USDA-NRCS and FSA refused me financial and other conservation help over the years because these Good Old Boys who inherited and or purchased cheap wetland perferated with sinkholes wanted to switch from pasture to big dollar corn. They saw me as a weak woman that had what they wanted and they just took it, saying I was a woman and didn’t know anything and with my family first losing our livestock from their channeling to the sinkholes and then my families multiple concurrent multiple health issues we did not look strong. When I complained about the ghroups channeling and ditching to sinkholes in 1993 the IDNR denied us our well test reports and lied and said those well tests were fine, but when I finally got the IDNR letters telling me to drill to a deeper aquifer in 2004 after my husband had died, those DNR geologists wrote they had known that noone not even animals should have been drinking that aquifers water since they had drilled the polluters new wells in 1993 and had told them to close the sinkhole drain. Dale Adams the IDNR agent that tested my well and others downstream, told me if I didn’t shut up I would get my neighbors in trouble. That group should never had been called neighbors, Mike Hayes at the Corps of Engineer’s said to call them a group of Renegade Farmers.
Mitchell County’s NRCS designed channels and ditches to sinkhole drainage systems are affecting downstream well users as shown in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier article information. Look at the comparison of the rankings of the County’s Health of Mitchell County to Downstream Floyd County. If a county gets to drain its aquifer recharge areas down into our aquifer and those fertilizers pollution plumes are flowing south east as ours was it looks as a likely major scource of the difference in Mitchell County’s being ranked 5th and Floyd County being ranked 71st.