Bullitt County Wreck Kills Three People

| Jun 23, 2020 | Car Accidents, Injuries

Witnesses say that a violent three-vehicle collision at a highway intersection in Shepherdsville sounded like a “bomb going off.”

The wreck occurred at the intersection of Route 480 and Preston Highway. According to the Shepherdsville Police Department, a Honda Civic failed to stop at a stop sign and a commercial vehicle slammed into the passenger car. The force of the collision propelled the Civic into the path of another commercial vehicle, which was unable to stop. Witness Dave Thrape approached the vehicle to “just see if we could reassure the people that help was coming. It was pretty bad though.” Subsequently, emergency responders used the Jaws of Life to extricate the victims from the wreckage.

Two people were declared dead at the scene. A third victim died at a local hospital. Their names were not released.

Car Wrecks and Head Injuries

Vehicle collisions are, by far, the leading head injury cause. Frequently, car crash-related head injuries have nothing to do with trauma.

Violent car crashes usually make violent noises. Researchers recently discovered that sudden loud noises, like explosions, trigger shock waves which disrupt brain functions. The effect of a sudden, loud noise on the brain is like an electromagnetic pulse’s impact on a laptop computer. The device shuts down, and that shutdown is often permanent. 

These shock waves are also one of the leading causes of combat-related brain injuries. Many doctors believe that’s why so many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans struggle with head injuries.

Other times, a car wreck’s motion causes a head injury. Contrary to popular myth, the brain does not fit against the skull like a hand in a glove. Instead, the skull is like a water tank which suspends the brain in cerebrospinal fluid. Car wreck motion causes the brain to repeatedly slam against the inside of the skull.

Whiplash, a condition that’s difficult to diagnose and treat, often results. If not properly addressed, whiplash could cause paralysis.

First Party Liability in Car Wreck Claims

Most noncommercial drivers in Kentucky have a duty of reasonable care. They must drive defensively, obey the rules of the road, and avoid accidents when possible.

Uber drivers, bus drivers, and other commercial operators are typically common carriers in Kentucky. These individuals have a higher duty of care. So, it is easier for a Lexington car accident lawyer to establish negligence in these situations.

Essentially, negligence is a lack of care. Common breaches of duty include driving while impaired and driving while sleepy. 

Negligence per se, a similar doctrine, works a bit differently. Frequently, a law establishes the standard of care. If a tortfeasor (negligent driver) violates that law, the tortfeasor could be liable for damages as a matter of law. Victim/plaintiffs need only prove cause.

Third Party Liability

Commercial driver crashes, particularly large truck crashes, often cause fatal injuries. Kentucky has one of the lowest auto insurance minimum requirements in the country. As a result, some individuals do not have enough insurance coverage to provide full and fair compensation in these situations.

Fortunately, Kentucky also has an extremely broad respondeat superior rule. Employers, such as transportation and shipping companies, are financially responsible for car crash damages if:

  • Employee: Many commercial drivers are technically independent contractors. But for negligence purposes, these individuals are employees. That’s because the company controls independent contractors in terms of things like route travelled.
  • Scope of Employment: Similarly, any act which benefits an employer in any way is within the scope of employment in Kentucky. That includes acts like driving an empty truck back to the warehouse.

In terms of the claim’s complexity, respondeat superior liability is just the beginning. Typically, the aforementioned transportation or shipping company is an out-of-state corporation or holding company. So, a Lexington car accident lawyer frequently must overcome additional procedural hurdles in these claims.

Comparative Fault

Contributory negligence is perhaps the most common insurance company defense in car wreck claims. This legal doctrine shifts blame for the accident from the tortfeasor to the victim.

The above case is a good example. A preliminary investigation indicated that the victim failed to stop.

That fact seemingly absolves the other two commercial drivers, especially in light of the comparative fault rule. But not so fast. There is a big difference between blowing through a stop sign at top speed and rolling past the sign. 

So, if comparative fault is an issue, the jury must listen to the evidence and divide fault on a percentage basis. Kentucky is a pure comparative fault state. So, even if the victim was 99 percent responsible for the wreck, the tortfeasor is still liable for a proportionate share of damages.

These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages might be available as well, in some extreme cases.

Vehicle collisions often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. The sooner you call, the sooner we start working for you.