North Carolina Wrongful Death Settlement Reached Between City of Charlotte and Family of Woman Fatally Struck by Fallen Tree

December 9, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A Charlotte, North Carolina wrongful death settlement has been reached between the city and the family of Kay Plyler. The agreement comes today just as jury selection in the civil trial was about to begin.

Plyler died in March 2008 when a tree fell on the car that she and her daughter Taylor, then 14, were riding in. Plyler, who was crushed in the freak accident died from her injuries. Tyler survived the falling tree accident but was injured.

The Plyler family’s North Carolina wrongful death attorneys have claimed that the city of Charlotte was aware that the tree’s root system was decaying yet failed to warn the public that the tree was dangerous. Meantime, Charlotte’s lawyers had argued that the city was unaware that the tree roots were rotting.

The terms of the Charlotte wrongful death settlement is confidential and settlement amount still needs to be approved by the Charlotte City Council. Attorneys for both sides say that the money will cover Taylor’s college education. Plyler’s son and husband were also awarded damages.

Getting hit by a falling tree, especially a large one, can cause serious injuries to victims. Just last week, a 33-year-old man filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city of New York, Central Park, and the Central Park Conservancy for the spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries he sustained when a limb from one of the trees in the park struck him last summer. According to statistics, between 1995 – 2007, more than four hundred people were killed in accidents involving falling limbs or trees.

Premise owners can be held liable for North Carolina premises liability or wrongful death if there is a hazard on the property that could have or should have been remedied but wasn’t and, as a result, causes injury or death. Rotting trees are more at risk of falling when the soil is soggy or the winds are high. It is a premise owner’s responsibility to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Settlement Reached In Wrongful Death Lawsuit, WSCOTV, December 7, 2009

City settles suit over fatal tree accident, Charlotte Observer, December 9, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Kay Plyler, Death Notice, Charlotte Observer, March 14, 2008

Recognizing Tree Hazards, Trees are Good


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