Intersection Crash Kills Elderly Man
Two drivers collided in an intersection outside Louisville, and only one of them survived the vehicle crash.
Witnesses and authorities state that the wreck occurred at Highway 146 and Spring House Pike in LaGrange. The 75 year-old was eastbound on 146 and collided with a driver of a Dodge Ram pickup; the driver’s name was not released. While the Ram driver was treated at the scene and released, the 75 year-old was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition, where he died shortly after arrival.
Police investigators are still working to determine the vehicle crash cause.
Special Issues with Older Drivers
Although there is considerable debate as to the precise extent of the impairment, there is no question that older drivers have significantly slower reactions than younger ones. For example, when making a left turn against traffic, a younger driver may be able to correct an initial error in judgment by either stopping suddenly or greatly accelerating, but an older driver may be unable to do so.
Cognitive impairment is an issue as well, as many older drivers may have problems reading traffic signs, finding their way around in familiar areas, and dealing with “near misses” and the, um, unpleasant driver reactions that often accompany these incidents.
Because these drivers are at a higher risk of causing a vehicle crash, there is essentially a presumption in Kentucky that drivers over 70 may not be qualified for an unrestricted drivers’ license.
Since the extent of impairment is unknown, it is not clear whether the issues discussed above constitute real risk or may simply prejudice a jury against an older driver, which is part of the fault-vs-liability discussion that often accompanies vehicle crashes.
Fault vs. Liability
Emergency responders nearly always file written reports about injury accidents, and while these reports are very important in determining liability, they are not the last word. For one thing, police officers may be unaware of, or not care about, the legal issues in the case; moreover, especially in fatal vehicle crash cases, the reporting officer often only hears one side of the story.
For example, the last clear chance rule often applies in intersection collision cases. While the older driver may have been faulted for the vehicle crash, if the other driver could have slowed down, honked, changes lanes, or done something else to avoid the accident, that driver is legally responsible for all damages because of his or her inaction.
If this doctrine is to come into play, the driver must have the last clear chance, and not the last possible chance, to avoid the vehicle crash.
Even seemingly straightforward negligence cases are usually quite complicated. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Bowling Green, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.