Fireball Wreck in Remote Portion of Mercer County

by | Jul 14, 2022 | Car Accidents, Injuries

Investigators believe that a man suffered from a medical episode, causing him to crash head-on into an oncoming vehicle.

The wreck happened around Mile Marker 53 on the Bluegrass Parkway. Officials say an 82-year-old Harrison County man apparently lost control of his vehicle and veered into oncoming traffic, where he struck a 33-year-old Nelson County man. Both men were declared dead at the scene.

Officials say the flames caused so much damage to the road that it has to be repaved.

Driver Impairment and Car Crashes

Defective products, mostly defective tires, cause a few motor vehicle collisions in Kentucky. Aggressive driving, like speeding, causes quite a few wrecks as well. Driver impairment causes most of the vehicle collisions in the Bluegrass State.

Medical Condition

Most of us are guilty of driving while we suffer from a mild or moderate illness, like a cold or flu. These illness symptoms, like trouble breathing and watery eyes, reduce driving ability by up to 50 percent. 

Like the other forms of driver impairment, a mild or moderate medical condition doesn’t excuse negligence. In fact, the duty of care requires drivers to take these symptoms into account and not get behind the wheel in these situations.

Serious medical conditions, like heart disease, epilepsy, and diabetes, could cause drivers to suddenly and unexpectedly pass out while they’re behind the wheel. If that happens, a dangerous out-of-control crash, like the one in the above story, usually happens.

Usually, the DMV suspends drivers’ licenses in serious medical condition situations. However, the suspension is only temporary. Additionally, a safety-suspended license doesn’t stop anyone from driving anywhere.

Alcohol

In the 1980s, alcohol consumption was a factor in about a third of the fatal vehicle collisions in Kentucky. So, at the strong urging of various advocacy groups, officials passed tougher laws and permitted police officers to use more aggressive enforcement tactics. This crackdown has largely failed. All these years later, alcohol consumption still causes about a third of the fatal vehicle collisions in the United States.

Alcohol’s impairing effects, like clouded judgment and slow reflexes, begin with the first sip. Therefore, many motorists are dangerously impaired, but they aren’t legally intoxicated.

A Lexington personal injury lawyer can use the ordinary negligence doctrine or the negligence per se rule to obtain compensation for injuries. Ordinary negligence is a lack of ordinary care. The duty of care requires drivers to be at their best when they get behind the wheel. Dangerous impairment breaches that duty. Tortfeasors (negligent drivers) who violate the DUI law or another safety law and cause crashes could be responsible for damages as a matter of law, under the negligence per se rule.

Drugs

These same legal principles apply in “stoned driving” claims. Usually, drug impairment begins with the first puff or pill. Drug intoxication usually requires more. Legally, drug intoxication is the complete loss of mental or physical faculties.

Marijuana is, by far, the most common cause of drugged driving cases. There’s no widely-available breath test for marijuana use, at least not yet. Therefore, these claims usually involve the ordinary negligence doctrine. Evidence of marijuana use includes odor of marijuana, tortfeasor’s statements about marijuana use, and physical symptoms, like bloodshot eyes.

Other drugged driving sources include street drugs, like meth, prescription drugs, like Vicodin, and over-the-counter drugs, like Sominex. Even if the drug is legal to take, it’s illegal and dangerous to drive under its influence.

Other kinds of driver impairment include fatigue and distraction. Driving after eighteen consecutive hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. Similarly, driving while using a hands-free mobile device is as unsafe as driving drunk.

Your Claim for Damages

The cause of a car crash may be relatively clear. Nevertheless, these cases normally don’t settle very quickly. Insurance companies collect over $1 trillion a year in premiums. So, they have teams of lawyers which fight these claims tooth and nail.

Common insurance company defenses in negligence claims include comparative fault and assumption of the risk. These defenses basically shift blame for an injury from the tortfeasor (negligent party) to the victim (innocent party).

If preliminary negotiations stall or break down, which they often do, a Lexington personal injury attorney usually files a legal action in court. This filing kicks the process into a higher gear and also pressures the insurance company into settling the case.

Defendants usually don’t roll over and play dead at this point. Instead, they normally file procedural motions, seeking to delay or derail the process. A judge must rule on these motions before the case moves further. Most defendants file procedural motions because that’s their last, best chance to prevent the victim from obtaining fair compensation. 

Once the defendant loses pretrial motions, most judges immediately refer cases to mediation. These court-supervised negotiation sessions force defendants to negotiate in good faith. A “my way or the highway” settlement offer is not a good faith negotiating position.

The few cases which don’t settle during mediation usually proceed to a bench or jury trial. Mini-trials and some other forms of alternative dispute resolution are available in a few situations.

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 insurance or money.