Drinking and driving isn’t only illegal, but it puts others on the road at risk for accidents that can result in severe injuries and even death. Suffering injuries from a severe drunk driving accident can uproot the emotional and financial stability of an injured individual’s household, adding additional stress to the physical pain of injury and recovery.
The most recent Kentucky Traffic Collision Facts Report estimates that more than 4,700 alcohol-related crashes occurred in one year, including almost 1,600 injury collisions and 111 fatal collisions. Fortunately, these alarming statistics represent a decrease in drunk driving accidents from the previous year—but such accidents still occur far too often, especially because these accidents are entirely preventable.
If you suffered injuries at the hands of a drunk driver, Kentucky law entitles you to seek compensation for damages in civil court for losses related to your injuries.
Flora Templeton Stuart understands the gravity of a severe drunk driving accident and the difficulties that injured individuals and their families face in the aftermath. We want to help you hold the drunk driver who caused your injuries responsible for his or her actions.
Contact us at (888) 782-9090 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, to discuss the details of your accident and injuries, and to learn how we can help you move forward.
Thankfully, more than half of alcohol-related accidents don’t lead to injury or death; most are minor fender benders that occur at low speeds. Drunk driving accidents that occur at high speeds or involve nearby hazards, such as bridges or steep embankments, can lead to debilitating and catastrophic injuries, some of which are fatal. Severe drunk driving accident injuries require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney who can navigate the complexities of the law.
At Flora Templeton Stuart, we help clients who have suffered a wide variety of serious injuries in drunk driving accidents. These injuries include:
Drunk driving accidents can lead to multiple broken bones and fractures, especially when such accidents occur at high speeds. Severe breaks sometimes require corrective surgery, which can include the insertion of screws, pins, and plates into your body. Even after surgery, accident victims might struggle with residual pain and mobility issues, depending on the location of the fracture(s).
The impact of a motor vehicle collision may cause a jolt to an involved individual’s head, or a driver or occupant might hit his or her head on the steering wheel, windshield, or seat. These head traumas put accident victims at risk for a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Minor TBIs, more commonly called concussions, typically heal within a few months without intervention.
However, drunk driving accident victims who suffer moderate to severe TBIs potentially face lifelong challenges with memory, motor skills, and cognitive functions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who suffer from a TBI might experience changes in personality, too. Increased aggression, anxiety, depression, and trouble expressing and coping with emotions are other potential long-term effects of a TBI.
The impact of a drunk driving crash can also cause neck injuries when the neck extends and flexes. The most common neck injury suffered in car accidents is whiplash, which is damage to the soft tissues in the neck. Minor whiplash can include sprained and strained muscles and ligaments, which heal after a few weeks or months.
In severe crashes, whiplash can be more severe, and accident victims might also suffer broken vertebrae or bulged discs in their necks. These types of neck injuries can cause ongoing pain in the shoulders and neck indefinitely, and victims might also suffer from continued migraines or headaches.
Drunk driving accident victims can also suffer back injuries during a crash if their bodies contort into certain positions upon impact. The extent, location, and type of back injury vary based on the speed, the location of a victim in the vehicle, and whether or not the victim was wearing a seat belt.
Back injuries include fractured vertebrae as well as slipped or herniated discs. Back injuries are among the most painful of injuries because victims struggle to find relief from pain, whether sitting, standing, or lying down. Treatment for severe back injuries often includes corrective surgery, which doesn’t always alleviate the pain completely. Most back injury victims need to follow a pain management regimen for quite some time after an accident, if not for the rest of their lives. In fact, back injury victims who must cope with horrible pain sometimes need to take highly-addictive prescription painkillers, putting them at risk for substance abuse.
A spinal cord injury can also be considered a back or neck injury, but the worst kind. Pieces of bone can get lodged in the spinal cord, or a severe accident might expose the cord to bruising and cuts. Those who suffer spinal cord injuries face temporary or permanent paralysis in some or all of their body. The extent of loss depends on the location of the injury along the spinal column. Injuries that occur in the neck are closer to the brain, so they cause more damage when the brain cannot send signals to the rest of the body.
Complete paralysis from the neck down, known as tetraplegia, is not uncommon when accident victims suffer spinal cord injuries in the neck. Conversely, spinal cord injuries that are close to the tailbone leave victims with more function. Injuries in the middle of the spine can result in paralysis from the waist down, known as paraplegia. Severe spinal cord injuries are among the most costly injuries because victims generally need continued care and treatment and face potential wheelchair confinement for life.
Amputations don’t happen frequently, but those involved in serious drunk driving accidents are at risk. Limbs, especially the legs, can get crushed when severe drunk driving accidents crush a vehicle. Limbs that are pinned or crushed in a vehicle stop getting blood flow from the rest of the body and begin to die. Doctors always try to save limbs and restore blood flow to the affected area, but sometimes their efforts don’t succeed. When doctors cannot restore blood flow to a limb, they must amputate it as a last resort to prevent death.
Amputees face excruciating physical pain, but they must also cope with the emotional trauma of losing a limb and the frustration and humiliation that accompanies learning how to use a prosthetic device. Long after their scars have healed, some amputees continue to suffer stump pain and can even experience phantom limb pain where their limbs used to be.
Individuals who are involved in drunk driving accidents can experience emotional trauma as well as physical injuries. Following a severe accident, involved individuals may fear driving or riding in a vehicle, particularly if driving through the area in which the original accident occurred. Accident victims may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or isolation.
Car accidents can be scary and stressful experiences for everyone involved, and the financial worries that come after do not help improve the situation. Following your drunk driving accident, you may need to undergo expensive therapy to fully recover emotionally. Emotional healing is just as important as physical healing following a serious car accident.
When accidents involve drunk drivers, lawyers and courts can determine liability more easier. It’s not easy to claim that a driver wasn’t negligent when he or she consumed alcohol and got behind the wheel with a blood or breath alcohol level above the legal limit, particularly if the driver has been convicted of a crime. However, some rare situations exist when a third party might share liability with the driver for damages from an accident.
Many states have dram shop laws that can open up establishments that serve alcohol and social hosts to liability if they over-serve alcohol to an adult or serve alcohol to a minor. Kentucky’s dram shop law is not as strict as other states; it actually protects establishments. However, Kentucky law does permit a third party claim for a drunk driving accident if the establishment served alcohol to a minor, forced the driver to consume alcohol, or falsely represented an alcoholic beverage as non-alcoholic.
If you choose to take legal action against the drunk driver who caused your injuries, you can receive compensation for damages related to the losses you’ve incurred from your injuries. If you reach an agreeable settlement, or a court rules in favor of the plaintiff, you might recover damages for the following economic and non-economic losses:
If you lost a loved one from fatal injuries related to a drunk driving accident, you might also recover some of the above damages, depending on the relationship you have with the deceased. Kentucky law allows eligible family members to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a drunk driver with the help of a personal representative of the estate of the deceased.
Other losses that surviving family members might recover include costs for a visitation, funeral, or memorial service, cremation or burial expenses, and non-economic losses that vary based on relationships.
Your Kentucky drunk driving accident attorney can answer your questions, determine the viability of a wrongful death suit, and advise you on the best path forward for you and your family.
Flora Templeton Stuart has more than 40 years of experience settling, negotiating, and litigating personal injury cases, including those involving drunk driving accidents. Ms. Stuart and her skilled legal team understand the difficulties that individuals face in the wake of a drunk driving accident, and we are here to help. When we represent injured individuals, we handle the details of filing their claims, investigating the circumstances of their accidents, and uncover the facts of their cases through medical records, reports, and witness interviews.
We take pride in case preparation and have the resources to build a strong case against the drunk driver who caused you harm, allowing you to focus on healing and rehabilitation. Coming to a fair settlement agreement is always the goal, but sometimes settlement isn’t an option. Flora Templeton Stuart is a skilled litigator who is willing to take personal injury claims all the way to trial if that’s what it takes to ensure justice is served.
You shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial burden of injuries from a drunk driving accident just because another party made a poor choice to get behind the wheel. Flora Templeton Stuart can help you hold the drunk driver accountable. We represent clients throughout Kentucky.
Contact us at (888) 782-9090 or online for a free consultation and to discuss your drunk driving accident and injuries. We are empathetic to the financial stress that you might be experiencing right now, which is why we take personal injury cases on contingency. This means you don’t pay attorney fees out-of-pocket or upfront. Rather, we deduct attorney fees from any compensation that we secure for you in an insurance settlement or verdict in your favor.