Wet pavement may have caused a speeding driver to lose control of a vehicle, cross a median, and slam into an oncoming vehicle.
The wreck occurred on Interstate 24. According to the Kentucky State Police, an Infinity QX50 driven by a 35-year-old woman surged across the center line and into the path of an oncoming semi-truck. The Infinity driver, and a 79-year-old passenger, were declared dead at the scene.
Another passenger, a juvenile, was rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. The semi-truck driver wasn’t hurt.
Kinds of Negligence
Adverse environmental conditions often contribute to vehicle collisions. But contrary to popular myth, weather usually doesn’t “cause” car crashes. Driver error causes 98 percent of car crashes. Frequently, the driver error involves driver impairment, such as:
- Alcohol: Around 1995, a prolonged crackdown against drunk drivers began in Kentucky and elsewhere. Legislators passed new laws and courts approved new enforcement methods. Yet despite all this effort, alcohol still causes about 28 percent of the fatal car crashes in the Bluegrass State. That’s compared with 31 percent in 1995. The modest decline proves that bad driver habits are very hard to break.
- Drugs: Marijuana is the leading cause of “drugged” driving accidents in Kentucky. Prescription pain pills are a rather distant second. Other impairing drugs include street drugs, like LSD or heroin, and some over-the-counter drugs, like NyQuil or Sominex. Even if the drug is legal to consume, it’s usually illegal, and always dangerous, to drive under the influence of any substance.
- Fatigue: Alcohol impairment and drowsy driving have a lot in common. Driving after twenty consecutive awake hours, which is like a long day on the road or at the office, is like driving with a .08 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit in Kentucky. Moreover, there’s no immediate fix for either condition. Only time cures alcohol intoxication. The body must process alcohol. Only sleep cures fatigue. Drinking coffee, chewing gum, and other shortcuts are mostly ineffective.
Operational negligence, such as speeding, is a serious problem as well. Speed could cause a wreck even if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is traveling below the posted limit. The speed limit is a presumptively reasonable speed under ideal conditions. Poor conditions, whether they be related to the road, the vehicle, or the driver, require motorists to slow down.
Heavy rain not only reduces tire traction. It also limits driver visibility. So, it increases the risk of a collision in two different ways.
Evidence in Negligence Claims
Theoretical responsibility is not enough to obtain maximum compensation for serious injuries. A Lexington personal injury lawyer must also prove practical responsibility. That means admissible and compelling evidence.
The traditional combination of medical bills, the police accident report, and eyewitness statements have helped victim/plaintiffs win countless personal injury cases over the years. But this evidence isn’t always admissible or compelling.
Medical bills are a good illustration. Generally, such records are only admissible if they fall into the narrow business records exception. Even then, a competent witness, usually the doctor who authorized or performed the treatment, must authenticate the records.
Furthermore, not all medical bills are created equally. Many bills are difficult for jurors to understand, because they are mostly in Medspeak instead of English. Additionally, medical bills rarely contain information about the patient’s pain level or other notes which are relevant to noneconomic damages.
Briefly, compensation in a car crash case usually includes money for economic losses, such as the aforementioned medical expenses, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life.
To supplement such information, Lexington personal injury attorneys often partner with independent doctors. These physicians often perform supplemental examinations. Other times, they review the existing medical bills, explain them to jurors, and describe the treatments to jurors, so they can better assess noneconomic losses.
The evidence in a car crash claim must not only be solid enough to build a claim for damages. It must also be sufficient to refute some common insurance company defenses, liek comparative fault. This defense, which shifts blame for an accident from a tortfeasor (negligent driver) to a victim, is especially common in wrong-way wreck cases. Essentially, the insurance company argues that the right-way driver didn’t do enough to get out of the way of the wrong-way driver.
Commercial operators, like semi-truck drivers, often have a higher duty of care in Kentucky. Therefore, these claims are quite complex.
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 do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.