Each year, more than 30,000 Americans lose their lives in car accidents. Tragically, most of these fatal car accidents are preventable. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly a third of all fatal car accidents in the United States are attributable to drunk driving.
This makes drunk driving the leading cause of fatal car accidents in the U.S. This remains true even though the percentage of fatal accidents attributable to drunk driving has been on the decline in recent years. As the NHTSA explains: “Every day, about 28 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 52 minutes. In 2019, these deaths reached the lowest percentage since 1982 when NHTSA started reporting alcohol data — but still 10,142 people lost their lives. These deaths were all preventable.”
The car accident lawyers at the Karl Truman Law Office are committed to helping our clients move forward after a serious injury. We have built a reputation for excellence in accident cases throughout Kentucky and Indiana.
Drunk driving accidents are devastating for the victims’ families. Yet, despite the obvious risks of driving under the influence, people still choose to drink and drive. Here are five important facts about fatal drunk driving accidents:
While a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% is the legal limit for adults over 21 in most states (including Kentucky and Indiana), even much lower levels of alcohol concentration can be dangerous. According to the NHTSA:
Unfortunately, statistics show that DUI convictions don’t stop people from driving drunk. The NHTSA reports that impaired drivers who cause fatal car accidents are four times more likely to have prior DUI convictions than sober drivers who cause deadly collisions.
Additionally, while DUI convictions can lead to files, jail time, and other penalties, they do not result in compensation for victims and their families. To recover financial compensation for a fatal drunk driving accident, the victim’s family must pursue a claim against the drunk driver (or the drunk driver’s insurance company) in civil court.
Pursuing a wrongful death claim in civil court requires evidence of negligence. Fortunately, drunk driving constitutes “negligence per se.” Basically, since drunk driving is illegal in Kentucky and Indiana, the simple fact that a person was driving drunk is enough to prove that he or she was being negligent.
Even so, when pursuing a claim for a drunk driving accident, family members can expect the driver’s insurance company to put up a fight. Despite the well-known dangers of drunk driving and the laws that are in place to protect motorists and their families, filing a successful claim for a fatal drunk driving accident is not easy. As a result, it is extremely important for grieving family members to hire an experienced lawyer who can seek justice on their behalf.
From loss of the victim’s income to loss of the victim’s love and companionship, the costs of a fatal drunk driving accident can be devastating. Although no amount of money can truly compensate for losing a loved one too soon, filing a wrongful death claim is an important step in the recovery process.
While filing a successful wrongful death claim can be challenging, drunk drivers can (and should) be held accountable. Grieving families deserve justice, and the laws in Kentucky and Indiana are designed to ensure that families get the closure they so desperately need. Families have up to a year to file a claim in Kentucky and up to two years to file a claim in Indiana, but they should seek help from an experienced fatal car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, we offer our sincere condolences, and we encourage you to let us help you through the recovery process. To speak with a car accident lawyer about your family’s legal rights in a free, no-obligation consultation, call our office in Louisville, Kentucky, at (502) 222-2222 or in Jeffersonville, Indiana, at (812) 282-8500.