Louisville Drunk Driving Attorney
Drunk driving, or driving under the influence (DUI), is a serious criminal offense in Kentucky. Yet many drivers recklessly get behind the wheel after imbibing in alcohol every day. If you get into a collision with a drunk driver, pursue justice and financial compensation with assistance from an attorney. The Louisville drunk driving accident lawyers at the Law Office of Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery have spent years bringing reckless drivers to justice. We can provide experienced and compassionate legal representation to you during this difficult time.
Why Choose Us
- We can help you fight for maximum financial compensation, even if this means taking your injury or wrongful death case to trial.
- Kentucky citizens have trusted us for over 30 years with their personal injury claims. We understand what is at stake and treat all clients with respect and dignity.
- Our law firm takes clients on a contingency fee basis. This means your drunk driving accident lawyer won’t charge you a dime unless he or she wins your case.
How a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Can Help You
When going up against a drunk driver or his or her car insurance company, hiring an attorney allows you to level the playing field. Hiring a car accident lawyer in Louisville can greatly improve your chances of bringing a successful injury claim against a drunk driver. Your lawyer will have the resources and knowledge to hold a drunk driver accountable, such as connections with law enforcement and investigators in the community.
After a drunk driving accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not want you to receive a high payout. It can be difficult to deal with an insurance company on your own as a crash victim. An attorney, however, will know exactly how to go up against an insurer to demand justice and a fair payout on your behalf. Your lawyer will protect your best interests while negotiating a just settlement or take your case to court, if necessary.
You can rest, relax and focus on healing while your attorney hires qualified experts, investigates your car accident and negotiates for maximum financial compensation on your behalf. You can trust your lawyer to deal with complicated legal paperwork and the claims filing process for you, as well as collect evidence to use against the drunk driver. A lawyer can help you pursue maximum compensation while giving you greater peace of mind.
What Is Drunk Driving According to Kentucky Law?
In Kentucky, a driver is legally too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle if his or her blood alcohol content level is at or above 0.08 percent. The legal limit is cut in half (0.04 percent) for a driver with a commercial driver’s license and drops to 0.02 percent if the driver is under the age of 21. Drinking any amount of alcohol before driving can have dangerous effects on a driver, including:
- Impaired judgment
- Reckless behaviors
- Loss of self-control
- Dulled senses
- Blurred vision
- Memory impairment
- Loss of muscle control or coordination
- Slowed reaction times
- Loss of consciousness
Drunk driving is one of the most common causes of serious and fatal car accidents in Kentucky. According to the latest available data from the Kentucky Department of Transportation, alcohol involvement caused 165 deaths, while 302 deaths were due to drivers under the influence of drugs. The total number of vehicle collisions caused by drunk drivers in Kentucky in 2021 was 3,410.
Common Injuries Suffered by DUI Accident Victims
Drunk driving accidents in Louisville are often catastrophic, meaning victims suffer life-changing or life-threatening injuries. This is because drunk drivers are likely to engage in reckless and dangerous driving behaviors while under the influence, such as speeding, racing, running red lights, driving the wrong way and tailgating. This can lead to more severe car accidents – such as T-bone and head-on collisions – and injuries. Common examples include:
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries, such as whiplash
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Muscle and ligament damage
- Lacerations and scarring
- Severe burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
- Internal injuries
- Crush injuries
- Fatal injuries
If you or a loved one suffered any type of injury in a drunk driving car accident in Kentucky, the attorneys at the Law Office of Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery can help. We understand how car accident cases work and are equipped to handle even the most complicated claims. We can connect you to top doctors in Louisville, hire medical experts to explain your injuries to a judge or jury, and go up against a car insurance company to demand maximum financial compensation for the full extent of your injury. We will make sure you have everything you need after suffering a major injury because of a drunk driver.
Who Pays for a Drunk Driving Car Accident in Kentucky?
If you get involved in a motor vehicle collision with a drunk driver, you might assume that the other driver is responsible for paying for your medical bills and property repairs. In Kentucky, however, the state abides by a unique no-fault insurance law for most car accident cases. Under this law, a driver must file a claim with his or her own car insurance company. Every driver in Kentucky must carry personal injury protection (PIP) car insurance coverage. This pays for a driver’s medical bills after a car accident, no matter who is at fault for the crash.
There is an exception, however, that allows a victim to hold a drunk driver responsible for a wreck if certain thresholds are met:
- Reasonably necessary medical expenses exceeding $1,000
- Any permanent injury or loss of a bodily function
- Permanent disfigurement or scarring
- A compound, compressed or displaced bone fracture
- A fracture of a weight-bearing bone
In addition, if a driver declined PIP coverage when purchasing an insurance policy and paid extra for bodily injury and property damage liability insurance, he or she will have the right to bring a claim against the intoxicated driver without having to meet Kentucky’s serious injury threshold. If you can file a claim against a drunk driver under the choice no-fault law or serious injury threshold, you or your lawyer must prove that the driver is at fault.
How Can You Prove Drunk Driving?
Drunk driving is a crime and a civil tort in Kentucky. This means that aside from facing criminal charges, a drunk driver can be held civilly liable for a related car accident and bodily injuries. Although Kentucky uses a no-fault car insurance law in most cases, DUI accidents often cause serious enough injuries to qualify the victim to bring a fault-based claim against the drunk driver.
If you wish to hold a drunk driver accountable for your car accident, you or your attorney will need to prove that he or she is guilty of this tort. This requires evidence such as:
- Police report
- Police cam footage
- The driver’s admission
- DUI arrest records
- Blood or urine test results
- A DUI conviction
- Eyewitness statements
To win a civil claim against a drunk driver, you must have clear and convincing evidence that he or she more likely than not caused your crash. This is a lesser burden of proof than in a criminal DUI case but can still be difficult to meet. The right attorney can help you preserve and collect evidence to prove drunk driving.
Kentucky Dram Shop Law
In Kentucky, a statute known as the dram shop law – Kentucky Revised Statute Section 413.241 – allows victims who are injured by drunk drivers to hold the vendor or furnisher of the alcohol liable in some circumstances. This law states that if an alcohol vendor overserves a patron who is already visibly intoxicated or serves someone who is under the legal drinking age (21 years old), it can be held responsible for the intoxicated person’s actions – including a drunk driving accident.
If Kentucky law allows you to hold a dram shop responsible for your drunk driving crash in Louisville, you could file a claim against the vendor of the alcoholic beverage as well as the driver’s insurance company. This can result in a larger payout for your property damage and medical bills. A dram shop can refer to any establishment that is licensed to sell alcohol, including a bar, restaurant or club.
If a reasonable person would have been able to see that a patron is intoxicated, it is the dram shop’s responsibility not to continue serving the intoxicated individual. Breaching this responsibility can place liability for a DUI accident with the dram shop. Note that this law only applies to vendors who are licensed to sell or serve alcohol under state law; it does not apply to social hosts, such as someone serving alcohol at a party.
Damages You Can Recover in a DUI Accident in Louisville
Filing a drunk driving accident claim in Louisville could result in financial compensation, otherwise known as damages, being awarded for your past and future related losses. While your recovery may be limited with a no-fault insurance claim, holding a defendant responsible for the crash could result in a settlement or judgment award for the full extent of your losses. The list of damages that may be available includes:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future capacity to earn
- Damaged or destroyed property
- Reduced quality of life
- Disability costs
- Pain, suffering and other noneconomic damages
- Punitive damages
Punitive damages are awarded as a form of punishment against a defendant rather than to reimburse a victim for his or her losses. They are meant to discourage the defendant and others in the community from similar conduct in the future and are not awarded in every case in Kentucky. However, you may be eligible for this type of award if your lawyer can prove that the drunk driver acted with malice, oppression or fraud.
Damages for a Fatal Drunk Driving Accident
If you lost a loved one in a fatal drunk driving accident in Louisville, your family may be eligible for unique damages through a wrongful death claim. Although no amount of money is enough to make up for the loss of someone’s life, a settlement or jury verdict can help a grieving family move forward with less financial stress. Your family can pursue compensation for myriad losses connected to an unexpected and preventable death, such as:
- Funeral and burial arrangements (up to a reasonable amount)
- Administration costs
- Attorney’s fees and court costs
- Loss of consortium (services, companionship, etc.)
In Kentucky, the law states that a wrongful death claim must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, unless the death was caused by a deadly weapon or the deceased person was a minor. The representative could be a family member or someone else that the decedent appointed in a will prior to death. If no will was left behind, the courts will appoint a representative for your wrongful death claim.
How Long Do I Have to File a Drunk Accident Injury Claim?
If you wish to file an injury claim following a drunk driving accident in Kentucky, you must act quickly. There is a deadline on your right to bring a claim under the statute of limitations. This law gives crash victims no more than two years from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit, in most cases.
However, if you file a no-fault car insurance claim with your own provider after the accident for personal injury protection insurance, the two-year clock may not start ticking until the date that you received your last payment. There is also an exception if the defendant is facing criminal charges for the same drunk driving accident, such as DUI or vehicular manslaughter charges. In this case, the clock may not start ticking until the conclusion of the criminal case.
With only a few exceptions, if you fail to file your drunk driving accident claim in Kentucky by the deadline, the defendant will file a motion to have your case dismissed based on this error. The courts will almost always grant this motion unless an exception applies to your case. This is why it is important to contact an attorney in Louisville as soon as possible after being injured in a drunk driving car accident.
Contact Us Today for a Free Case Review in Louisville, KY
If you or a loved one was injured in a drunk driving accident in Louisville, Kentucky, please contact the Law Office of Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery as soon as possible for a free initial consultation. Call (859) 578-4444 or contact us online to speak to an attorney about your specific case. We are passionate about holding drunk drivers responsible for their wrongful acts and helping our clients get the financial compensation that they need to move forward.