Single-Car Crash Kills Teenager

by | Apr 12, 2022 | Car Accidents

Few details were available after a 19-year-old man apparently lost control of his car on Rockcastle Road (Old Kentucky Route 3) in Inez.

The single car contained three people. One victim was airlifted to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. A second victim, a 15-year-old girl, died at the scene. “I’m just blessed I had what time I did with her. Fifteen years wasn’t long enough, but I wouldn’t take it for nothing. I was so proud and honored to be your daddy,” her father remarked.

A car crash witness said “As long as I have lived here. . .we’ve had nothing like this. I just hate it because someone lost their life and others were hurt.”

Passenger Injury Claims

Usually, passenger injuries are worse than driver injuries. Front-seat passengers often have less protection than front-seat drivers. The back seat seat belt compliance rate is a lot lower than the front-seat occupant seat belt compliance rate.

Incidentally, insurance companies can sometimes use seat belt non-use to reduce or deny compensation in a car crash claim. Kentucky’s seat belt defense law is rather complex. Basically, the insurance company must prove the victim had a legal and moral obligation to wear a seat belt, the seat belt was fully operational, and the failure to wear a seat belt, as opposed to a driver’s negligence, substantially caused injury. That’s a lot of moving parts.

Overall, injured passengers and injured drivers have the same legal and financial rights and obligations. However, a Lexington personal injury attorney must deal with some additional emotional and legal issues.

Most passengers have personal relationships with most drivers. These emotional ties are often quite close. Filing a legal action may strain these bonds. However, the strain usually isn’t as bad as people think it is.

Technically, the driver is the defendant in these cases. But the insurance company is financially responsible for the whole affair, at least in most cases. The insurance company must hire a lawyer for the driver, pay all litigation-related costs, and pay damages. Most likely, the insurance company will raise the driver’s rates, or even discontinue the policy. But those things probably would have happened anyway.

Legally, some insurance company attorneys try to broaden the assumption of the risk defense and apply it to injured passengers. This legal doctrine, which often comes up in fall and other premises liability matters, excuses negligence if the victim voluntarily assumed a known risk. 

Usually, passengers voluntarily get into cars. But the risk of a wreck isn’t a known risk. At best, it’s a theoretical or statistical risk. 

Damages in Wrongful Death Claims

Usually, injured victims are entitled to compensatory damages for their medical bills and other economic losses, as well as their emotional distress and other noneconomic losses. 

Wrongful death claims are a little different. Legally, these survivors are usually entitled to pecuniary losses, such as:

  • Lost future financial support,
  • Medical bills connected to the decedent’s final illness or injury,
  • Final expenses, like burial and funeral costs,
  • Lost future emotional support, and
  • Decedent’s noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Many of these expenses are difficult to calculate. Especially if the decedent was a child, how can anyone determine a reasonable amount of lost future income?

To resolve matters like these, most Lexington personal injury attorneys partner with accountants and other outside professionals.

Ancillary Medical Expenses

If a victim is airlifted from the accident scene to a hospital, or from one hospital to another, the medical bills usually go through the roof. A helicopter flight that only lasts a few minutes could cost over $40,000. Frequently, this bill is almost as high, or even higher, than the hospital bill. 

Prescription drug costs are usually high as well. Usually, a group health plan covers most or all of the expense. So, many people don’t realize how high these medicines are. Usually, the more powerful the drug, the higher the cost. And, seriously injured victims usually need the strongest available drugs.

The aforementioned compensatory damages cover all these ancillary costs, as well as other ones, like medical devices. Typically, attorneys negotiate with these providers and convince them to reduce their fees. That reduction could mean a victim/plaintiff gets to keep a greater percentage of any settlement money.

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. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.