Contact a immediately after an accident.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) tells us that about four million adults admit to driving “under the influence” of drugs or alcohol at least once in the past year. Meanwhile, the FBI reports that “intoxicated” driving accounts for more than a million arrests annually and is the third-most commonly charged crime in the U.S., after theft and drug possession.
In fact, 29 people die every day in drunk driving crashes (over 10,000 deaths each year). It costs the United States $44 billion annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD’s) statistics show that every day in America, around 300,000 people drive drunk, but fewer than 4,000 (1.3 percent) are arrested or charged with it.
In Kentucky, drunk driving statistics are equally shocking. But none of the statistics matter if you or a loved one has been seriously injured (or worse) by a drunk driver’s irresponsible actions. To the drunk driving accident lawyers in Kentucky at the Johnson Law Firm, you’re more than a statistic. That’s why you get the individual attention you deserve as we fight to make sure you and your family members are compensated fully and fairly for the selfish and careless acts of DUI (drug) and DWI (alcohol) drivers. DUI and DWI accidents in Kentucky are similar but not exactly the same. They can frequently carry the same penalties.
As personal injury attorneys with more than 15 years of experience in the state of Kentucky, we have helped countless victims of “intoxication/impairment” accidents put their lives back on track by fighting for their right to appropriate compensation from drunk drivers after a wreck. To get started, call us at 877-712-3620 or fill out our form for a free initial consultation.
I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver. What Now?
Kentucky legislators don’t play around when it comes to driving while under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicants or substances that impair your driving ability. Why should they?
When someone drives under the influence, he’s not only putting his own life at risk, he’s also endangering the lives of everyone around him―not to mention the lives of the survivors that will be affected when they lose a loved one to a drunk driver, DMV.org states.
The first thing you need to do after being hit by a drunk driver is get to the hospital. Whether this means riding in an ambulance after paramedics arrive on the scene or driving yourself to the emergency room immediately after the crash, it’s important that you take this step to get the medical attention you need.
The next thing you want to do after being hit by a drunk driver is contact a drunk driving accident attorney in Kentucky so that you know what your rights are under the law. It’s important to have an accident lawyer at your side so the attorney can handle the legal end of things while you’re visiting doctors, getting X-rays and going about the business of getting well. You can start by calling the Johnson Law Firm and speaking to a DUI accident attorney at 877-712-3620. Our initial consultation is free.
DWI Accidents in Kentucky
In Kentucky, a person is legally intoxicated and may be charged with DWI if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is more than 0.08. Kentucky has lower BAC limits for commercial drivers (0.04) and has a “zero tolerance” for intoxicated drivers under age 21. All too many Kentuckians are injured by these thoughtless violators of our intoxication laws. The most common injuries suffered by DWI/DUI accident victims are:
- Neck and back injuries – Whiplash (a soft-tissue neck injury) is perhaps the most commonly reported
- Leg and knee injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
If you have been injured at the hands of a reckless drunk driver and have suffered one of these injuries, call a drunk driving accident lawyer in Kentucky at 877-712-3620 to discuss your specific situation. As always, an initial consultation is free.
DUI Accidents in Kentucky
In Kentucky, DUI (Driving Under the Influence) refers to persons driving while impaired by drugs. These can be illicit or prescription drugs. Whether illegal street drugs or medication prescribed by a physician, it doesn’t matter. As long as it is clear a driver is incapable of driving safely and following the rules of the road, he or she can be stopped by police and arrested.
If you drive under the influence in Kentucky, not only do you risk losing your driving privileges, spending time in jail, and paying fines, you also risk having your license plate confiscated and having an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.
Penalties for DUI and DWI convictions in Kentucky can include …
- License suspension: 30 to 120 days
- Jail time: 2 to 30 days
- Fines:$200 to $500
- Mandatory alcohol or substance abuse treatment: 90 days
- Community labor: 48 hours to 30 days.
For second and subsequent offenses, the penalties increase. Other circumstances can raise the charge to aggravated DUI, which carries even higher fines and jail time. Aggravated DUI can include any one of the following:
- A passenger under 12 years old
- Driving 30 mph over the speed limit
- BAC 0.15% and over
- Test refusal
- Accident causing serious injury or fatality
- Driving the wrong way.
For more information about possible DUI penalties you can visit the KTC website.
If you’re convicted of second DUI (or more), you might be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car. This device will require you to take a breath test each time you get in the car. Any BAC over 0.02% will prevent the vehicle from being operated.
Implied Consent Law for Drunk Driving in Kentucky
The Implied Consent Law in Kentucky states that anyone operating a motor vehicle, or even a vehicle that is not defined as such, is deemed to have given consent to blood, breath, urine, or combination tests in order to determine the driver’s BAC or the presence of any other impairing substance.
If you refuse the tests, your license could be immediately suspended based on the number of refusals:
- 1st offense: 30 to 120 Days
- 2nd offense: 1 year to 18 Months
- 3rd offense: 2 years to 3 years
- 4th offense or subsequent: 5 years.
Accidents Caused by Drivers on Drugs (DUI)
The effects of specific drugs differ, depending on how they act in the brain. For example, marijuana can slow reaction time, impair judgment of time and distance, and decrease coordination, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drivers who have used cocaine or methamphetamine can be aggressive and reckless when driving. Certain kinds of sedatives, called benzodiazepines, can cause dizziness and drowsiness. All of these impairments can lead to vehicle crashes.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) research studies have shown negative effects of marijuana on drivers, including an increase in lane weaving, poor reaction time, and altered attention to the road. Use of alcohol with marijuana made drivers more impaired, causing even more lane weaving.
It is difficult to determine how specific drugs affect driving, because people tend to mix various substances, including alcohol, NIH states. But we do know that even small amounts of some drugs can have a measurable effect. As a result, some states have zero-tolerance laws for drugged driving. This means a person can face charges for driving under the influence (DUI) if there is any amount of drug in the blood or urine. It’s important to note that many states are waiting for research to better define blood levels that indicate impairment, such as those they use with alcohol.
How Many People Take Drugs and Drive?
According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2016, 20.7 million people aged 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol in the previous year and 11.8 million drove under the influence of illicit drugs.
NSDUH findings also show that men are more likely than women to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And a higher percentage of young adults aged 18 to 25 drive after taking drugs or drinking than do adults 26 or older.
Which Drugs Are Linked to Drugged Driving?
After alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often found in the blood of drivers involved in crashes, NIH states. Tests for detecting marijuana in drivers measure the level of delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s mind-altering ingredient, in the blood. But the role that marijuana plays in crashes is often unclear. THC can be detected in body fluids for days or even weeks after use, and it is often combined with alcohol. The risk associated with marijuana in combination with alcohol, cocaine, or benzodiazepines appears to be greater than that for either drug by itself. Several studies have shown that drivers with THC in their blood were roughly twice as likely to be responsible for a deadly crash or be killed than drivers who hadn’t used drugs or alcohol.
Along with marijuana, prescription drugs are also commonly linked to drugged driving crashes, according to NIH. A 2010 nationwide study of deadly crashes found that about 47% of drivers who tested positive for drugs had used a prescription drug, compared to 37% of those had used marijuana and about 10% of those who had used cocaine. The most common prescription drugs found were pain relievers.
Legal Liability & Damages in Drunk Driving Accidents
Much of the evidence that can prove liability in an intoxicated driving case is time-sensitive. Additionally, evidence disappears, and witness memories begin to fade. So contacting an attorney as soon as possible after an accident gets the investigation started quickly. Law enforcement’s investigative energies are focused solely on criminal activity. In civil matters, it’s the injured plaintiff’s lawyers who must find their own evidence. Of course, if the drunk driver who hit you is convicted in criminal court, it certainly helps your civil case for compensation. But can you count on that happening? No. That’s why your lawyer begins investigations immediately after the wreck and often can assist law enforcement as they investigate.
What Damages Can I Seek in a DUI or DWI Accident?
Damages you are entitled to collect from the defendant after an intoxicated driving accident include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of current and future income (including employer contributions to your company health insurance, retirement, and other benefit programs)
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage (such as automobile repair/replacement and anything of value in your vehicle which was destroyed in the accident)
- Wrongful death.
- Possible punitive damages.
By identifying all who may be liable for your damages, your lawyer increases your prospects for receiving full injury compensation. What if the driver doesn’t have sufficient insurance coverage to pay all damages? If your lawyer uncovers additional defendants other than the driver, you could win additional compensation. For example, Kentucky law also allows those injured by a drunk driver to hold a bartender, server, and – by association – the pub or restaurant manager and owner responsible for legal damages. All the law requires is that you (and your lawyer) prove that a reasonable person should have known that he or she was serving a person who was already intoxicated.
Liquor stores are also held to the same legal duty of protecting the public from drunk drivers. They are prohibited by law from selling alcohol to a person who reasonably “appears under the influence of alcoholic beverages.” But holding a restaurant, bar or liquor store responsible for their portion of the damages owed to you is complicated. An experienced personal injury attorney who understands DUI/DWI injury compensation is a valuable weapon in your fight for fair damages.
Contact a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer in Kentucky
The Kentucky accident attorneys of the Johnson Law Firm aggressively pursue claims against intoxicated drivers and the businesses that served them and then sent them out on the road to commit drunk driving mayhem. We also deal with insurance companies, their pesky adjusters, and the lawyers who protect them from paying claims. Do YOU have the experience, patience and tenacity to win against those guys? We do.
To discuss your legal options, contact our offices in Pikeville, Kentucky, today to speak with a knowledgeable drunk driving accident lawyer. Protect yourself and your family. Call us today or fill out our online form to get started.