Drunk Driving Accident Injury Attorney in Louisville,
Drinking and driving is one of the most dangerous driving behaviors. Intoxicated drivers tend to lose inhibitions and drive more recklessly, or in other cases, they can become drowsy or even fall asleep at the wheel. Either way, drunk drivers are far more likely to make poor driving decisions, which can often result in accidents with injuries.
When someone is charged and convicted for DUI in Kentucky, they can face some very harsh consequences, which may include heavy fines, loss of driving privileges, and even the possibility of jail time. And when a DUI results in serious bodily injuries or fatalities, the penalties for the drunk driver may be enhanced.
Unfortunately, the penalties that result from a criminal DUI charge do nothing to provide restitution for those who are injured or killed in a drunk driving accident. A separate civil claim must be filed for monetary damages against those responsible for the accident, and under Kentucky law, the claim must be brought within one year of the accident.
If you or someone close to you suffered injury at the hands of a drunk driver, it is important to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney, so you fully understand your rights and options. Call John H. Ruby & Associates today to schedule a free consultation.
At John H. Ruby & Associates, we have over two decades of experience successfully representing clients who have suffered all types of personal injuries in Kentucky. We understand the enormous physical, emotional, and financial pain DUI accident victims and their families have to endure, and we do everything possible to make the legal process smooth and stress-free.
When someone is injured in a totally preventable accident that was caused by a drunk driver, it can be a devastating event. During times like these, the last thing you should have to worry about is having to fight an insurance company to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve. We handle this process for you from start to finish, and we deal directly with the other side, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries and getting your life back on track.
Drunk Driving Accidents in Kentucky
Chemically impaired driving is a contributing factor in approximately 40% of all auto accidents in U.S. In addition, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that deaths and damages from these accidents cost approximately $44 billion each year. The NHTSA also says that drunk driving accidents claim more than 10,000 lives annually, which works out to an average of about one DUI-related fatality every 48 minutes.
The situation is not much better in Kentucky. Backgroundchecks,org ranks the Commonwealth 8th worst for deaths directly attributable to DUI, drunk driving arrests per 100,000 people, and drinking too much before driving. These rankings are based on aggregated state data from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
A motorist can be considered legally drunk in Kentucky when:
- They are at least 21 years of age or older and a register a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher;
- They are under 21 years old and register a BAC of 0.02 or higher;
- They are driving a commercial vehicle (such as a big rig truck) and register a BAC of 0.04 or higher.
Motorists can also be arrested for DUI even if they are under the legal limits, if they are intoxicated to the point where they no longer have the ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
Pursuing a KY DUI Accident Claim
Drunk driving accidents can result in serious and sometimes catastrophic injuries, which may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
- Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries;
- Neck and back injuries;
- Fractures/broken bones;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Severe burn injuries;
- Amputations/loss of limbs;
- Internal injuries;
- Wrongful death.
When someone is injured at the hands of a drunk driver, they are entitled to monetary damages. There are three general categories of damages:
- Economic Damages: These are direct monetary losses incurred by the injured party. Examples include hospitalization costs, cost for surgeries and other medical procedures, rehabilitation expenses, the cost of ongoing medical care (in the case of a long-term debilitating injury), loss of earnings, loss of future earning capacity, funeral and burial expenses, and property damage.
- Non-Economic Damages: These are losses that are real but more intangible and difficult to quantify. Damages that may fit into this category include pain and suffering, psychological distress, diminished quality of life, disfigurement, permanent disability, loss of consortium, and loss of comfort, guidance, and support.
- Punitive Damages: Also known as “exemplary damages”, punitive damages are a special category that is not meant to compensate the accident victim, but rather to “punish” the responsible party for their wrongdoing. Punitive damages are rare in standard auto accident cases, because you must show that the conduct of the party responsible was willful, wanton, malicious, or fraudulent. In a drunk driving accident case, however, the conduct of the intoxicated driver could rise to the level where punitive damages may be appropriate.
It may seem like it should be fairly easy to hold a drunk driver responsible for a DUI accident, but this is not always true. The simple fact that a driver was intoxicated does not necessarily mean he/she was at fault for the accident, and you can expect the defendant and their insurer to push back aggressively on the claim, doing whatever they can to undervalue the damages and pin at least some of the blame (for the accident) on you.
To be successful in a drunk driving accident claim, you need to begin putting together your claim right from the outset. This requires a thorough investigation, which may include a review of critical facts and pieces of evidence, such as the police report, testimonies of eyewitnesses, any available photos and video evidence of the accident and accident scene, a criminal DUI charge/conviction against the drunk driver, and many others. This is why it is important to get an attorney involved as early as possible in the process, so you can strengthen your chances of recovering maximum compensation.
Can a Claim be Brought Against a Party Who Provides Alcohol to a Motorist?
In a DUI accident case, the driver may not always be the only one at fault. Under Kentucky’s dram shop law (KRS Section 413.241), it might be possible to bring a claim against an establishment that serves someone alcohol when it is clear to a reasonable person that the individual is already intoxicated. These types of claims are very difficult to prove, however, and you will generally need strong eyewitness testimony, video evidence, or preferably both to show that those working for the establishment clearly knew that the individual was drunk.
It is important to note that Kentucky’s dram shop law applies only to establishments that are licensed to sell or serve alcohol in the state. The Commonwealth has no social host liability laws for intoxicated adults, meaning there is no avenue for bringing a claim against a private social host for serving an excessive amount of alcohol to an adult. Some Kentucky counties have ordinances that prohibit social hosts from serving alcohol to minors, but violations are typically only punishable with criminal sanctions, and there is very little recourse for bringing a civil claim in these types of cases.
Speak with a Seasoned Louisville, KY Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, you need a skilled advocate in your corner fighting hard to recover maximum compensation, and to help ensure that those responsible for your injuries are held fully accountable. At John H. Ruby & Associates, we are there to provide strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time.
If you are in the Louisville, LaGrange, Shepherdsville or Shelbyville, KY areas, call our office today at 502-895-2626 or message us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.