Investigators believe heavy rain contributed to a head-on crash on Interstate 65 that killed one person and critically injured another one.
The wreck happened near mile marker 91. According to the Kentucky State Police, a 19-year-old woman lost control of her southbound vehicle. She spun out, into the northbound lanes. At that moment, a northbound vehicle hit her idle vehicle head-on. That driver, a 56-year-old man, was rushed to a nearby hospital, along with a 25-year-old passenger. The driver didn’t survive.
The other driver wasn’t injured.
Kinds of Negligence in Car Crash Claims
In a way, there’s only one kind of negligence, at least in most cases. Driver error causes over 98 percent of the car crashes in Kentucky. If any form of driver negligence causes injury, a Lexington personal injury lawyer can obtain compensation for victims in court. Compensation is also available if a defective product, a defectively-designed road, or a defectively maintained road caused injury. Driver negligence usually comes in three different forms.
There’s a big difference between a cause and a contributing factor. Heavy rain and other adverse environmental conditions might contribute to car wrecks, but they almost never cause them.
The duty of care is the same for all drivers, whether they’ve been licensed thirty minutes or thirty years. This duty requires all motorists to obey the rules of the road and, more importantly for the purposes of this blog, avoid wrecks if they can. Since wrecks are more common during bad weather, this portion of the duty of care changes.
Ice on the road, a condition most Kentuckians are familiar with, is a good example. Cars and trucks can drive safely over ice, but their operators must remember that vehicles have no traction in these situations. So, drivers can steer and brake normally. They just can’t do both these things at the same time. That’s why it’s so important to follow the vehicle ahead of you at a distance in these situations.
Rare and extreme acts of nature, like earthquakes and sky-to-ground lightning strikes, could cause accidents in some cases.
Environmental negligence is a failure to adjust to conditions, so it often has little to do with behind-the-wheel driving. When people see rain, they should immediately think “slow down.” Behavioral negligence is much the same. Frequently, car wrecks start before the driver turns the key, or pushes the button, if you have a newfangled vehicle. Examples include:
- Alcohol: In the early 1980s, drunk drivers caused about a third of the fatal car wrecks in Kentucky. After a forty-year crackdown, alcohol still causes about the same proportion of vehicle collisions. The crackdown has increased awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. It just hasn’t changed driver behavior.
- Drugs: Concerns over increased drugged driving wrecks is one of the major reasons recreational marijuana is still illegal in Kentucky and most other states. The impairing effects of this drug hit people like a ton of bricks, beginning with the first puff. Not that we personally know anything about the effects of marijuana. That’s just what a friend told us.
- Fatigue: It’s against the law to drive while drunk or stoned. It’s not against the law to drive while fatigued. But it probably should be. Drowsiness affects the body and brain in the same way as alcohol and marijuana. By comparison, driving after twenty consecutive hours is like driving with a .08 BAC level.
Other forms of driver impairment include a serious medical condition, like diabetes, which could cause a sudden loss of consciousness. Milder medical conditions, like the walking flu, are impairing as well.
Negligence is rather easy to prove in behavioral negligence cases. At the risk of sounding like your mother, these people should know better. Operational negligence is less straightforward.
Speed is a good example. If Rachel was traveling 5mph over the limit at the time of a wreck, her excessive speed most liley didn’t contribute to that wreck. If she was traveling 25mph over the limit at the time, that’s different.
If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is a stranger, the victim usually doesn’t hesitate to take legal action. But if the victim knows the tortfeasor, especially if the two have a personal relationship, the dynamic is different.
Still, there’s no reason for victims to let these tortfeasors off the hook, legally speaking. We should all take responsibility for our mistakes, regardless of the circumstances. In these situations, this responsibility includes paying compensation for damages.
Incidentally, the auto insurance company is financially responsible for damages, and all other litigation-related costs. Tortfeasors do feel some financial pinch. To pay for these costs, the insurance company will probably increase the tortfeasor’s rates. But that probably would have happened anyway.
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.