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Drunk Driving Accidents

Drunk driving is a leading cause of crashes across the country, including in Kentucky. If you were injured because a reckless driver got behind the wheel while drunk, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your damages. Kentucky’s injury laws are complex, and dealing with insurance companies who want to pay as little as possible on a claim is hard. But there is no reason to face this fight alone. At Justice Injury Law, we have a knowledgeable team of seasoned attorneys who are prepared to take your case and protect your interests. We work hard to get our clients the settlements they deserve. If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, our experienced auto accident lawyers in Louisville are prepared to help you. If we represent you, we are committed to pursuing full compensation for your losses and damages.

Call 502-584-5455 for a FREE, no-risk case review today.

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Can I Sue the Drunk Driver That Hit My Car?

If you have a traditional fault-based policy, and you have a case, then you may be able to sue the at-fault driver.

Drivers who have no-fault insurance in Kentucky cannot sue an at-fault driver for damages unless their case meets one of the following criteria:

  • Medical bills of at least $1,000 or greater
  • Fracture of a weight-bearing bone, such as the tibia, hip joint or lower spine
  • Permanent disfigurement or scarring
  • Permanent loss of a body function
  • Compound, displaced or compressed fractures of any bone
  • Other permanent injuries

Additional factors that determine whether you can sue a drunk driver also apply:

Was the Driver Legally Drunk?

Driving drunk is illegal in Kentucky, as in most states. However, the burden of proving it falls on the victim in a car crash injury case.

Calling police to the scene of a crash may help you with this. Under the law, you must call police to the scene of a crash anyway if there is $500 or more of property or vehicle damage or if anyone has been physically or fatally harmed. Upon arrival, responding officers will investigate the scene of the crash, speak to all those involved in the crash, as well as any witnesses, and document their findings in a report.

Officers are trained to assess drivers who may be over the legal alcohol limit. For instance, they may note that there are open containers in the car or smell alcohol on the driver’s breath. When talking to that individual, they may notice slurred speech or other behaviors that indicate alcohol consumption.

When officers suspect someone is under the influence, they may do a breath test at the scene of the crash to determine whether that person is over the legal alcohol limit. Alternatively, a blood test may be done to help determine the level of alcohol in the blood.

In Kentucky:

  • A driver is considered drunk if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is .08 or higher.
  • A high BAC is one that is .15 or higher.
  • It is illegal for drivers under the age of 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher to get behind the wheel.

Was the Drunk Driver at Fault for the Crash That Caused You Harm?

If a drunk driver was involved in your crash, he or she will face the penalties for driving under the influence. However, the law does not automatically assume negligence or fault for a crash, even if someone is drunk. Negligence is something you or your attorney will need to prove. To do this, your attorney will have to establish that:

  • The driver owed you a legal duty to prevent causing you harm.
  • The driver breached that duty, such as by speeding or driving through a red light.
  • That breach led to a crash that injured you and resulted in damages, such as medical costs, property damage and lost wages.

This is why calling an attorney sooner rather than later is a good idea. He or she can begin protecting your legal interests and gathering the evidence you need from day one.

Does the Dram Shop Law Apply to a Drunk-Driving Car Crash Case?

Kentucky Revised Statute section 413.241 states that alcohol vendors cannot be held responsible for the actions of an intoxicated individual. However, there are a couple of exceptions:

  • A vendor sold alcohol to someone who was already intoxicated at the time
  • A vendor sold alcohol to someone who was under the legal drinking age

These cases are rare, complicated and hard to prove, but you can discuss this with your attorney as it may result in additional compensation for your medical costs and other losses.

What Compensation Can I Recover for a Drunk Driving Car Crash Case in Louisville?

If a drunk driver caused the crash that resulted in your injuries and other losses, you may be eligible to recover compensation.

Compensation that may be available to you after a crash with a drunk driver in Louisville may include:

  • All necessary and related medical costs
  • Lost wages if you have to miss work while recovering
  • Future earnings if your injuries impact your ability to work in the future
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering damages, such as emotional distress, physical pain and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant, may also be possible if the actions are considered to be reckless or intentional

What Kinds of Injuries May Occur in Drunk Driving Crashes?

The type of injuries you could suffer in a drunk driving crash depends on many factors, including how fast the vehicles were going, whether those involved were wearing seatbelts and what part of the car was struck. These and other factors have a significant impact on the type and severity of injuries that may occur in a crash involving a drunk driver.

Often-seen injuries from drunk-driving crashes may include:

  • Whiplash
  • Facial injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
  • Neck injuries
  • Multiple fractures
  • Crush injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Traumatic brain damage or other types of head trauma
  • Sprains, strains and tears
  • Skull fractures
  • Death

What Should I Do After a Crash Involving a Drunk Driver?

If you were injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver, you should take the following steps to protect your health and any potential car crash claim you may need to file to recover damages:

  • Check yourself and others for injuries.
  • Call 9-1-1 to get police and medical assistance to the crash scene.
  • If possible, take photos of the crash scene, your injuries and vehicle damage. DO NOT, however, risk your safety or the safety of others to do so. Take photos from where you are.
  • If your vehicle is movable and still in the flow of traffic, try to safely move it off of the road.
  • If you must exit your vehicle, such as if your car is on fire, stay calm and check for traffic before exiting.
  • Accept medical attention offered by emergency medical technicians (EMTs) at the scene
  • Seek immediate medical attention at a nearby hospital for full diagnosis and treatment of your injuries. This step protects your health while also connecting your injuries to the crash that caused them. Doing this is vital to any potential claim you later file.
  • Call an experienced attorney to ensure you have someone to manage your case and protect your legal interests.

Call Justice Injury Law After a Drunk Driving Crash You Did Not Cause

At Justice Injury Law, we are here to protect your legal rights and best interests. You can call our law offices any time, night or day, to request a free case review. If you have a case and you choose to hire our firm, we will fight to recover the maximum possible compensation for your damages. People who get behind the wheel and drive while under the influence of alcohol are committing a crime. While we do not pursue criminal charges, we do all we can to hold that individual accountable for the damages they cause. No amount of money can change what has happened to you, but it can help you to get the treatment you need and to begin to move forward with your life. Deadlines for filing a drunk driving car crash case apply. Victims have two years from the date of the crash, and while that sounds like a lot of time, your attorney needs time to investigate, gather evidence, build a case and negotiate your settlement. Call to get started today. There are no upfront fees and no costs to pay throughout the legal process. We only get paid if we win compensation for you, either through a settlement or jury-awarded verdict.

Justice Injury Law. We get results for the injured. 502-584-5455

How Do I Pay My Medical Costs After a Drunk Driving Crash in Kentucky?

Kentucky is a no-fault state and offers drivers two different types of insurance, called “choice” no-fault insurance. You can either purchase no-fault insurance or standard fault-based insurance. The default auto insurance policy is no-fault. If this is the type of insurance you have, then you can recover compensation for your medical bills and other costs from your auto insurance policy. It does not matter if someone else caused the crash. The other driver, if insured, would also file a claim through his or her insurance provider.

 

Drivers can elect to opt out of Kentucky’s no-fault insurance and purchase a fault-based policy instead. If you want to opt out, you must make this decision when you purchase or renew your policy. It is not something you can change after you have a crash. Regardless of which option you choose, you must carry liability insurance. It is a good idea to review your policy coverages with your insurer every six months or every year to make sure you have coverage that fits your current needs and budget.

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