One Killed And Three Hurt In Freeway Crash
A pickup truck failed to slow down for stacked-up rush hour traffic and slammed into a passenger car, causing an auto accident that killed one person and seriously injured three others.
Major traffic slowdowns are not really an everyday occurrence in many parts of Jeffersontown and Louisville, and that is probably one reason a pickup truck driver did not slow down on Interstate 64 between Hurstbourne and Blankenbaker as traffic piled up in front of him. The pickup truck rear-ended a passenger car at what Police Chief Ken Hatmaker called a high rate of speed, trapping all four occupants inside. One person, who was apparently not wearing a seatbelt, died at the scene, and the other three were rushed to a nearby hospital with serious injuries.
The tortfeasor (negligent driver) will probably not face any charges stemming from this auto accident, and none of the names were released.
Duty in Auto Accident Cases
Drivers have a duty of resonable care, a legal concept that’s probably best explained in an old English case, Donoghue v. Stevenson. When the House of Lords (which is roughly like the Supreme Court in America) decided this case in 1932, there was basically no such thing as negligence law, and injured victims had to seek legal compensation through breach of contract actions. That setup worked just fine when most people rode horses and lived on farms, but with the growth of industry and transportation, things had to change.
In this case, the plaintiff sued the defendant after she found a dead snail in a beer bottle. In resolving the dispute, Lord James Atkin came up with the neighbour rule. “You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour,” he said. Neighbors are “persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation,” he added.
Breach in Auto Accident Cases
If a tortfeasor’s conduct falls below the standard of care, that tortfeasor has breached the duty of care and may be liable for damages. Most of these legal violations fall under one of three labels:
- Behavioral: The duty of reasonable car to avoid auto accidents begins even before drivers start their engines, because they must abstain from alcohol or drugs, be well-rested, ensure that their vehicles are in good working order, and so on.
- Operational: Other times, the breach occurs in the moments before the crash; for eample, if the tortfeasor is speeding or is not watching the road.
- Environmental: In one way, the duty of reasonable care is fixed, because a recently-licensed teen driver has the same duty as an operator who has logged hundreds of thousands of miles. But in another way, the duty depends on outside factors, because drivers must slow down in the rain and take other precautions in adverse conditions.
If the victim suffered a serious injury, damages in an auto accident case include money for both tangible losses, such as medical bills, and intangible losses, like pain and suffering.
The “Seatbelt Defense”
In some states, the insurance company can argue that the victim was not wearing a seatbelt and so the tortfeasor is not responsible for the full extent of his or her injuries. But Kentucky lawmakers have expressly outlawed the “seatbelt defense,” so seatbelt non-use, or carseat non-use, is inadmissible in auto accident cases.
Tortfeasors must pay damages if they breach the duty of reasonable care even if the victim wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Glasgow, contact Attorney Gary S. Logsdon. Home and hospital visits are available.