Authorities are investigating a possible DUI wreck that left one man dead. The at-fault driver was relatively unscathed.
A 26-year-old Pikeville man faces multiple criminal charges after a head-on wreck on Highway 23 near Double Kwik. The victim, who was the father of a Pikeville police officer, was killed at the scene. No other information was available.
The aforementioned criminal charges include DUI manslaughter and possession of a controlled substance.
Car Wreck Injuries
Vehicle collisions are the leading cause of head injuries. Of all the physical and emotional wounds these incidents cause, head injuries might be the worst of them. As for the cause, car crashes combine all three of the most common causes of head injuries, which are:
- Trauma: Airbags and seat belts cannot possibly absorb all the force in a high speed wreck. So, victims hit their heads on steering wheels, dashboards, and other solid objects. Furthermore, when vehicles stop suddenly, objects inside the car continue moving forward at the same speed. In other words, something like a smartphone essentially becomes a high speed missile.
- Motion: The violent motion of a car wreck probably causes more head injuries than anything else. The skull is basically a water tank which suspends the brain in cerebrospinal fluid. Sudden motion causes the brain to slam against the inside of the skull.
- Noise: Often, witnesses say a high speed car wreck sounded like an explosion. These sudden loud noises send out shock waves that adversely affect brain functions. This effect explains why so many veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries even though they sustained no taruma injury.
Head injuries are progressive. Initial symptoms mostly include confusion. Therefore, doctors often misdiagnose collision-related head injuries as shock from the accident. Once symptoms progress to nightmares, headaches, and personality changes, these injuries are much harder to treat.
Because of the nature or car crash injuries, it’s important to see a car crash doctor. A Lexington personal injury attorney can connect a victim with such a doctor, usually at no upfront cost.
Furthermore, head injuries are permanent. Once a person loses brain cells, they don’t grow back. However, a combination of surgery and therapy can significantly reduce the symptoms. So, many of these victims can live normal post-accident lives.
First Party Liability
The drunk driver or other motorist who caused the wreck is usually responsible for these medical bills, as well as other costs. To obtain this compensation from a drunk driver, an attorney can usually use the ordinary negligence doctrine or the negligence per se rule.
Ordinary negligence usually involves driver impairment, and alcohol impairment begins with the first drink. This impairment usually includes loss of motor skills and clouded judgement. This combination is often deadly when one is behind the wheel. Evidence of impairment includes physical symptoms like:
- Bloodshot eyes,
- Unsteady balance,
- Slurred speech,
- Slow reflexes, and
- Odor of alcohol.
The burden of proof in an ordinary negligence claim is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). So, a little evidence goes a long way.
If authorities charge the driver with DUI or a related infraction, the negligence per se doctrine could apply. Tortfeasors (negligent drivers) could be liable for damages as a matter of law if:
- They violate a safety law, and
- The violation substantially causes injury.
In the above story, wrong-way driving directly caused the fatal accident. But intoxication substantially caused it. The driver probably wouldn’t have crossed the center line if he was sober.
Third Party Liability
Individual drivers are legally responsible for alcohol-related crash damages. But the restaurant, private club, or other commercial entity which provided the alcohol could be financially responsible for damages.
Kentucky has a very broad dram shop law. Financial responsibility attaches if an employee of that entity “should know that the person served is already intoxicated at the time of serving.”
The aforementioned circumstantial evidence is usually admissible on this point. Other evidence includes the number of drinks the person consumed at that location and statements the person makes to witnesses. Attorneys usually locate this additional evidence, which significantly strengthens a dram shop claim, during the discovery process.
Compensation in a vehicle collision claim usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Drunk drivers often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you. #goodelawyers