US Court Awards Ugandan Esther Nakajiggo’s family 40bn shillings over her death in a national park

The family of Esther Nakajiggo, 25, has been awarded $10.5 million (about Shs 40 billion) by the court after a falling unsecured metal gate pierced through her car and severed her head, killed her instantly in 2020. 

Nakajiggo was killed on June 13, 2020. She was coincidentally wearing a t-shirt with the inscription; “Everything hurts and I’m dying” on the fateful day. The couple had been hiking inside and were exiting the park when tragedy struck.

The family had sought $140 million in damages, arguing that Arches National park was negligent and failed to maintain the gate properly. US government admitted that it was 100% at fault and responsible for Nakajiggo’s death. 

In his ruling delivered yesterday January 30 in Salt City, Federal US judge, Bruce S. Jerkins awarded $9.5 million to Nakajiggo’s husband, Ludovic Michaud and $ 1 million (Shs 3.6 billion) to Nakajiggo’s parents – $700,000 to her mother and $350,000 to her father. Jerkins described the case as unusual since neither the victim nor complainants were US citizens. 

“The husband is a French citizen, employed in and a resident of the United States. The parents are citizens of Uganda, a poor and heavily populated African nation, formerly part of the British empire. The deceased, Esther Nakajjigo was a citizen of Uganda, but at the time of her death, a United States resident, newly married to Plaintiff Ludovic Michaud,” said Jerkins. 

Speaking about the verdict, Michaud said “This decision serves as a reminder of the proper maintenance and safety measures in our parks, so as to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.”


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