Few details were available about a high-speed wreck which killed one person and seriously injured another individual.
The wreck happened near the Pike County Airport on State Highway 3218. A southbound motorist lost control of his pickup truck and smacked into a northbound tractor trailer.
The pickup truck driver died at the scene. Emergency responders rushed the semi-truck driver to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.
Evidence in Car Crash Cases
Proof is always critical in injury claims. Victim/plaintiffs must prove negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not, in order to obtain compensation.
Evidence is especially important in loss-of-control wrecks. Only evidence determines why the driver lost control. This fact affects the choice of legal theory, as outlined below. If a Lexungton personal injury starts down the wrong path, the result is a costly delay at best and a complete loss of compensation at worst.
Typically, proof in a car crash claim consists of the police accident report, witness statements, and medical records.
The police report’s narrative is usually admissible in court. Furthermore, police officers interview witnesses and examine physical evidence, and they include these items in their reports. Witness statements are quite effective as well. Something almost mystical happens when witnesses take the stand and tell what they saw. Finally, medical records usually not only contain diagnosis and treatment information. They often also contain treatment notes. These notes give these records a human face.
However, there could be issues. The police report is a good example. Emergency responders are not private investigators. Their priorities are securing the scene and attending to victims. Since evidence collection is a distant third, these responders often overlook critical items.
So, if the Big Three are insufficient to build a maximum-compensation case, a Lexington personal injury attorney often uses electronic evidence to fill in the holes. Surveillance video is a good example. At least one security, traffic, or other camera overlooks pretty much every stretch of roadway in Lexington. These cameras record high-definition digital video which attorneys usually present on large screen TVs.
Assuming the camera was working correctly, the images it captures are always accurate. There is an additional emotional aspect. Frequently, a picture really is worth a thousand words.
Other possible electronic evidence includes a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder. EDRs are a lot like the black box flight data recorders in commercial airplanes. So, an EDR is often vital to an attorney or an accident reconstruction engineer.
Driver Error and Impairment
Statistically, driver error causes about 95 percent of the car wrecks in Fayette County. Evidence helps attorneys determine if that error was an operational error or driver impairment. The type of error normally affects the amount of available compensation.
In terms of operational error, speed is usually the culprit in loss-of-control collisions. When they negotiate curves, speeding drivers often oversteer. Then, they panic and over-correct to try and get back on the road. The result is a complete loss of control.
Legally, speed-related wrecks could involve the negligence per se rule, which is a violation of a safety law, or the ordinary negligence doctrine, which is a lack of care. Tortfeasors (negligent drivers) who violate the posted speed limit and cause crashes could be responsible for damages as a matter of law. Other motorists drive too fast for traffic, weather, and other conditions. This behavior is arguably a lack of reasonable care.
Driving with a serious medical condition is the most common impairment issue in loss-of-control wrecks. A number of chronic conditions could cause a sudden loss of consciousness, such as epilepsy and heart disease. Circumstantial evidence, such as a medical diagnosis or prescriptions for medication, is usually critical in these situations.
Statistically, the remaining 5 percent of vehicle collisions are a combination of true accidents, like lightning strikes, and defective products. Tire blow-outs, which cause about 19,000 serious injuries every year, are the most common issues, followed by defective airbags and defective accelerators.
Tire blow-outs usually involve design defects. Generally, designers use the least amount of material possible, to reduce weight and also decrease production costs. Defective airbags usually involve manufacturing defects. Around 2000, Takata, the world’s largest airbag company, began using ammonium nitrate, a cheap chemical propellant, in its airbags. That’s basically the same compound Timothy McVeigh used in the Oklahoma City truck bomb. Experts believe that there are still several million vehicles on the road with defective Takata airbags.
Many vehicles have issues with accelerators which stick or otherwise don’t work properly. However, driver error may have caused many of these wrecks. People simply mashed the accelerator instead of the brake when they needed to stop.
This point brings up the unforeseeable misuse doctrine, which is the only effective defense in product liability cases. Manufacturers aren’t responsible for injuries caused by product misuse. The misuse must be something beyond the pale, like riding a jetski in a swimming pool.
Generally, manufacturers are strictly liable for the injuries their defective products cause. Negligence is admissible on the question of damages. Additional compensation is available if there is clear and convincing evidence that the manufacturer intentionally disregarded a known risk.
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Fayette County and nearby jurisdictions. #goodelawyers