Few details were available after a motorist apparently collided with a semi-truck.
The accident happened on a remote stretch of northbound Interstate 65 not far from Munfordville. The victim, who was driving the passenger car, was a 28-year-old man from Bowling Green.
No-Witness Vehicle Collision Claims
These claims are quite common in many parts of the state. That’s especially true if the wreck occurred at night, when the weather was bad, or at another time when traffic is light. These issues aren’t unique to rural areas. Many car crash claims in more densely-populated places, like Fayette County, are no-witness claims. For various reasons, many people have no desire to linger at accident scenes so they can voluntarily give information to police officers.
Making matters worse, car crash victims are often killed or too severely injured to give statements to investigators. The other driver’s version of events is usually very one-sided. That doesn’t mean this person is a dishonest liar. Different people perceive and remember things in different ways.
An obscure legal doctrine called res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself) sometimes applies in terms of liability determinations. In Kentucky, jurors may presume that negligence caused an accident in some situations. However, res ipsa loquitur has limited applicability. Furthermore, this doctrine does not address the amount of damages available. If Ben sent a quick “OK” text message immediately before he hit Jerry, Ben is liable for damages. But if Ben was texting for several blocks before he hit Jerry, Ben is probably liable for additional damages.
So, a Lexington personal injury attorney must normally use circumstantial evidence to build a claim in these situations. Fortunately, in this context, circumstantial evidence is sometimes more accurate and reliable than direct evidence.
Speed, which is one of the leading factors in fatal Kentucky car wrecks, is a good illustration. An eyewitness might testify that a vehicle was speeding. That’s pretty subjective testimony. Furthermore, eyewitnesses are often biased or inaccurate. But a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder, which is basically like a commercial jet’s black box, could prove that the vehicle was traveling 81.4mph seconds before a wreck. Precision is not the only advantage. Assuming they are working correctly, electronic measuring instruments are never biased or inaccurate.
Additional Evidence in Truck Crash Claims
EDRs also record information liek brake application and steering angle. So, attorneys, often in partnership with accident reconstruction professionals, can determine things like impact angle. That angle could be very important when determining liability for damages.
Most passenger vehicles have EDRs, and so do most semi-trucks. Additionally, when a semi-truck is involved in a crash, the drivers Safety Measurement System report is often critical.
SMS reports are basically like multi-state driving records for truckers. Most commercial truck drivers are licensed in more than one state. An SMS report consolidates information that an attorney would have otherwise spent many hours trying to obtain. These reports usually contain information about the driver’s:
- Crash History: Prior wrecks are not always admissible in court. But they are usually admissible if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) makes a mistake and says s/he hasn’t been involved in a wreck previously.
- Vehicle Maintenance History: Bad brakes, bad tires, and other maintenance issues cause many truck crashes. The SMS report draws on law enforcement sources. So, if a judge dismisses a fix-it ticket because the driver, well, fixed it, the infraction will still pop up on an SMS report.
- Substance Abuse Issues: A staggering 85 percent of truckers admit that they either drink or use drugs, mostly amphetamines, on the job. The SMS report usually includes this information, even if the trucker was not drunk or stoned enough to get a DUI.
Privacy laws shield some of this information, especially data related to medical treatment. Attorneys know how to cut this red tape.
Third Party Liability
If the trucker was legally responsible for the wreck, the transportation, shipping, or other company which owned the truck is often financially responsible for damages.
Respondeat superior (let the master answer) usually applies if the tortfeasor was an employee who was working in the scope of employment. Kentucky law defines these key elements in broad, victim-friendly ways. For example, even if a trucker was an independent contractor for tax purposes, the trucker was probably an employee for negligence purposes. In fact, even if the driver was unpaid, like a church volunteer, respondeat superior could apply.
This legal doctrine also comes into play in most other commercial operator claims, like Uber driver, taxi driver, and bus driver crashes.
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. You have a limited amount of time to act. #goodelawyers