A civil court lawsuit has been filed against Taney County for the wrongful death of Robert J. Cain of Branson, Missouri. In short, the suit alleges that the negligence of county officials lead to the incident that killed Cain and injured Christy Rush.
According to documents from the case, Cain and Rush were driving in Taney County on November 26, 2009. Near a particular intersection, a vast amount of water had covered the driving surface. It was at night with visibility impaired, and as a result Cain drove his car into the water. Rush was able to get out of the car and swim to safety, but Cain died by drowning. It is suspected that a combination of the quick submerging of the car and the cold water may have hindered his ability to get out in time.
The basis of the suit is that the county owns the road in question. There were no warning signs or attempts to drain the road put in place, so the suit is charging the county with negligence, as the plaintiffs allege that the county had substantive notice of the road’s condition in time to do something about it, but had not done so. Further, the plaintiffs maintain there is evidence that the county had failed to respond to similar incidents on that stretch of road by increasing care for such events.
Attorneys in the case are asking for assorted pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages, ranging from the medical expenses required to treat Rush and the loss of the vehicle, to compensation for grief and mourning, depriving his children of Cain’s guidance and companionship, and so forth.
For the most part, Taney county officials have declined to comment on the case. However, one official did say that county officials have doubts as to whether the county actually owns the road. They argue that it more likely belongs to a nearby detachment of the Army Corps of Engineers, and thus they have no ability or responsibility to place signs there.