For many years, speed caused about a third of the fatal vehicle collisions in Kentucky. Then, just before the pandemic, that figure started dropping slightly. Then the calendar turned to 2020, and everything changed.
During the first half of 2020, roads largely emptied and local law enforcement agencies largely suspended traffic enforcement. Speeding increased as well. This bad driving habit, along with others, like driving while impaired and driving without a seat belt, appears to be permanent. But vehicles didn’t change. As a rule of thumb, crash systems can only absorb speeds about 10mph above the limit. Anything faster, and the victim pays the price. Because of the aforementioned environment, many people speed a lot faster than that.
As outlined below, the victims of these wrecks have several legal options. It doesn’t matter if the injured victim was in another car or in the same car as the speeding motorist. Everyone has the same legal and financial rights in this context.
Also as outlined below, speed multiples the force in a collision. That means the injuries in such wrecks are often catastrophic. As a result, many insurance company lawyers fight speed-related injury claims tooth and nail. Unless victims have a very aggressive Lexington personal injury attorney, they have little chance of obtaining maximum compensation for these serious injuries. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Speeding and Car Crash Injuries
According to Newton’s Second Law of Motion, speed multiplies the force in a collision between two objects. Overall, speed transforms an ordinary fender-bender into a serious injury collision. Some specific injuries include:
- Broken Bones: Arms and legs are especially vulnerable in high-speed wrecks. Seat belts pin the torso to the seat and airbags cushion the head when it snaps forward. But arms and legs flail wildly, usually against solid objects, like the dashboard. The resulting broken bones require extensive surgery to correct. That means extensive physical therapy to recover lost function.
- Head Injuries: Airbags may partially cushion heads, but as mentioned above, safety restraint systems can only absorb a limited amount of force. To make vehicles safer in this area, manufacturers would have to sell armored cars. So, victims in speed-related wrecks usually sustain permanent head injuries.
- Internal Injuries: The same forces that cause head injuries and broken bones also cause kidneys and other internal organs to mash against each other. Even a slight abrasion could cause profuse bleeding. This bleeding is difficult to detect, and even more difficult to stop.
On a related note, speed also elevates the risk of injury. Drivers who speed excessively have less time to react to changing situations.
Speeding and Negligence
Even if the tortfeasor (at-fault driver) wasn’t traveling above the posted speed limit at the time of the wreck, that driver could still be responsible for damages.
A posted speed limit is a presumptively reasonable speed under ideal road, traffic, weather, and other conditions. On any given day, these conditions are far from ideal.
Most Kentucky roads were designed and built in the 1900s. They weren’t designed to handle today’s cars and trucks, and they have undergone years of wear and tear. Furthermore, as for traffic, Kentucky’s population has increased significantly since the 1900s. This extra traffic requires motorists to slow down, so they can properly react to unexpected situations. Finally, the weather is very unpredictable in Kentucky, especially during certain times of year.
If a driver’s speed was unreasonably high, and that excessive speed causes a wreck, the driver is responsible for damages, regardless of the posted speed limit.
Speed limit violation wrecks are easier to prove in court, because of the negligence per se rule. Tortfeasors who violate safety laws, like the speed limit law, could be liable for car crash damages as a matter of law.
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. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no money or insurance.