Man sues GM, others for wife's death

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 26, 2009

WINFIELD -- A man is suing General Motors Company, an unnamed seatbelt corporation and a woman for negligence and the wrongful death of his wife in a vehicle accident.

On July 5, Miguel A. Hernandez, a resident of Nitro, was driving a 1995 GMC Safari minivan eastbound on Interstate 64 with his wife, Isabel Calderon Alejo, when the accident occurred, according to a complaint filed in Putnam Circuit Court on Oct. 13.

Hernandez claims Ashley D. Burgess was negligently and carelessly following Hernandez and Alejo's vehicle closer than reasonably allowed and without due regard for the speed of the vehicle, traffic and condition of the highway.

Burgess rear-ended their vehicle, causing it to skid off the road then roll off the highway, according to the suit.

Hernandez suffered property damage to his vehicle and injuries to his body because of the accident. Alejo, whose seat belt broke during the rollover, was ejected from the vehicle and died from her injuries, according to the suit.

Hernandez claims he has suffered and continues to suffer physical pain; mental pain and anguish; and nervousness and anxiety. He has been required to take and be administered numerous drugs, medications and other preparations; taken x-rays; undergone laboratory, hospital and emergency treatments, examinations and other manipulations of his body; has suffered lost wages; diminished ability to enjoy life and has had to endure many other discomforts and pain.

According to the suit, the death of his wife has deprived Hernandez of the services, affection, solace, comfort, companionship, society, assistance and consortium attendant to his marital relationship with Alejo.

Hernandez claims GMC and the corporation that manufactured the seatbelt component parts assembled in his vehicle allegedly knew, or had reason to know, the vehicle would be used without inspection of defects. He claims the vehicle was in substantially the same condition prior to the accident that it was at the time it was manufactured.

Hernandez is suing individually and as administrator of Alejo's Estate for compensatory and punitive damages. Roger A. Decanio of the Sutter Law Firm is representing him.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge O. C. Spaulding.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 09-C-477

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