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Category Archive: Accidents with Drunk Drivers

  1. Drunk Drivers Endanger Missouri Travelers

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    The holidays soon will be upon us, bringing with them cheer, goodwill, and festive gatherings across Missouri and Illinois.  Many of those gatherings will involve alcohol and, unfortunately, will be followed by car accidents with drunk drivers that could have been avoided.  That is why the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety has initiated its December Impaired Driving Enforcement Campaign, which begins on December 18, 2015.  The campaign’s purpose is to remind drivers in Missouri to make responsible choices while celebrating with alcohol.  Drivers should know that law enforcement activity will increase between December 18 – January 3, and that includes sobriety checkpoints.  As stated by the Campaign, if you’re planning a special celebration for the holidays, think first about a safe and sober ride home.

    Holiday safety advertising in restaurants and bars across Missouri will serve as reminders of the importance of choosing a completely sober ride such as a taxi.  Both Illinois and Missouri have laws that allow establishments such as bars and restaurants to be held liable in some drunk driving accident cases if the establishment served the drunk driver the alcohol.  These laws, called dram shop laws, can help the victims or the families of the drunk driving victims obtain fair and just compensation for the negligent acts of such establishments.  Making such a claim can be difficult, though, and often requires the assistance of an experienced accident lawyer.

    Drunk driving is a huge problem in the United States.  Drunk Drivers endanger Missouri Travelers.  As a personal injury attorney in the St. Louis area, I am deeply concerned about the fact that 30% of all traffic fatalities in Missouri involve drunk drivers.  The CDC has stated that nationwide, a person dies every 51 minutes from an accident involving a drunk driver.  For 2013, that meant over 10,000 people died in the United States because of accidents caused by drunk drivers.  Between 2003-2012, 3,314 people died in Missouri, and 3,866 in Illinois, because of such car wrecks. This holiday season do not become another Missouri or Illinois DWI /DUI car accident statistic.

     

     

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  2. St. Louis County Officer Injured in Accident Involving Drunk Driver

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    KSDK news reports that early yesterday morning a Pine Lawn Police Officer was injured when a car driven by an Arnold, Missouri, man struck his police cruiser. It happened at a DWI stop near westbound I-70 and Jennings Station Road in St. Louis County, Missouri. As a St. Louis personal injury attorney, I see many drunk driving related automobile accidents. Accidents with drunk drivers cause an alarming number of injuries on Missouri roadways.

    According to the news article, the officer was standing outside of his car in Pine Lawn attending to another traffic stop. Apparently the officer had stopped another vehicle for speeding. Thereafter, the automobile being driven by the Arnold man crashed into the officer’s police cruiser. The officer tried to jump onto the car he had stopped to avoid being hit. He subsequently wound up with multiple injuries.

    In this case, the officer may have a personal injury claim against the drunk driver. Depending on the facts, the officer may also have negligent entrustment claims or dram shop liability claims.

    The officer injured may also have a claim under the Missouri workers’ compensation laws. Because it appears that the officer was in the course and scope of his employment, he may be entitled to benefits including the payment of medical bills and payment for temporary and permanent disability benefits. For more on Missouri workers’ compensation law, click here.

    Pine Lawn Officer Struck by Car at DWI Stop, KSDK, July 24, 2011

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  3. Wrong Way Driver on Interstate 55 in St. Louis County Causes Fatal Car Accident

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    KMOV in St. Louis reports that a man driving a Toyota Camry was killed in a car accident Saturday night when a driver was driving the wrong way on northbound Interstate 55 near the Bayless Road exit. As a St. Louis personal injury lawyer, every time I hear about a wrong way collision, I question whether alcohol played a role. According to the news report, the wrong-way driver struck the Camry head-on. The news report states that the engine of the Camry had been pushed into the front seat during the collision, pinning the driver in the car. Sadly, the car crash killed the driver of the Camry.

    According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, the wrong-way driver was reportedly swerving between lanes prior to the head-on collision. The fact that the car wreck happened late at night and involved the type of driving conduct at issue would raise suspicion as to whether any drinking or drunk driving (DWI) was involved.

    The Missouri personal injury attorney investigating an automobile crash such as this would want to determine whether there was any alcohol consumption on the part of the driver causing the car wreck. A car accident attorney handling a serious Missouri injury car crash, especially a Missouri wrongful death claim, would want to determine if drinking was involved. The lawyer’s investigation may even include where the offending driver was consuming alcohol prior to the car accident. Missouri law, under certain circumstances, can give rise to a claim against the provider of liquor to a drunk driver who causes a collision.

    Drunk driving is an issue for Missouri car accident attorneys in many Missouri car and truck crashes. For statistics on Missouri drunk driving automobile accidents, click here.

    Wrong Way Driver Strikes Car Head On Kills Man in I-55 Crash, KMOV, May 15, 2011

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  4. Missouri Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Drunk Driving Car Accident

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    The Springfield News Leader reports that a Seymour, Missouri man convicted of drunk driving was sentenced to 20 years in prison for causing a fatal drunk driving car accident. In November of 2009, the defendant, Shane Young, was driving a vehicle with an open case of beer inside. He rear-ended a car that was stopped on U.S. 65, causing a chain-reaction car accident. The auto accident killed the driver of one of the automobiles and injured the driver’s fiancee, who was a passenger in the car. Her injuries included a scar to the head, ongoing headaches, panic attacks, and fear whenever she rides in a car.

    Following the automobile accident, it was determined that Young had a BAC of 0.212. The legal limit in Missouri is .08. Young also was a repeat DWI offender who had just been released from jail the day before the car accident on suspicion of drunk driving in a September incident. Young pleaded guilty to the drunk driving charges on the eve of a jury trial.

    This is a sad story that plays out all too often on Missouri roadways. Drunk driving accidents cause serious bodily injury and death. The Missouri injury lawyers who represent the family of the deceased driver will most likely file a wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver and any other parties responsible.

    The wrongful death lawyers may seek punitive damages against the drunk driver for such reckless and callous behavior. The attorneys may also determine that the drunk driver was served alcohol in a bar or restaurant prior to the automobile accident when he should not have been. This may give rise to a claim under Missouri’s Dram Shop Law. The Missouri car accident attorneys will also have to determine the extent of any insurance coverage applicable to the car accident, including whether there is any underinsured motor vehicle insurance if the defendant had low limit liability insurance.

    Seymour Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Fatal Drunken-Driving Crash, News Leader of Springfield, January 8, 2011

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  5. Police Officer and Bar Settle Lawsuit in St. Louis Drunk Driving Car Wreck

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    The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that an off duty Sunset Hills, Missouri police officer has plead guilty to drunk driving in a St. Louis County drunk driving car wreck that claimed the lives of several young people. (Sunset Hills is a suburb of St. Louis.) The officer was drinking in O’Leary’s Restaurant and Bar in St. Louis County. She left the bar and was involved in a head-on car accident with another vehicle when the car the officer was driving was traveling on the wrong side of the road.

    St. Louis injury lawyers for the families of the victims brought wrongful death lawsuits against the officer and the bar that served her the alcohol. The lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County in Clayton. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that the parties have settled the wrongful death claims for $2.25 million dollars.

    The bar’s liability was based on Missouri’s Dram Shop Law. The Dram Shop Law gives Missouri personal injury lawyers the ability to pursue liability claims against bar owners who knowingly serve liquor to a visibly intoxicated person. The Missouri Dram Shop Law has gone through many changes over the years. The Law currently allows Missouri personal injury attorneys to bring negligence claims against a bar, but the lawyer pursuing such a claim has a greater burden of proof than under most general negligence claims.

    Drunk driving (DWI) is a serious offense. When it becomes the cause of automobile accidents that result in injury or death, it is tragic. The officer involved in this car accident is still awaiting sentencing for her criminal behavior.

    Officer, Bar, Pay $2.255 Million to Settle Suit in Crash that Killed 4, Stltoday.com

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  6. Missouri School Bus Involved in Lake of Ozark Area Car Accident

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    Lake News Online of Camdenton, Missouri reports that five vehicles, including a school bus, were involved in a car accident on October 8, 2010 in the Lake of Ozark area on South Route 5. The Missouri Highway Patrol reports that the car wreck occurred when a tractor-trailer rear-ended a school bus causing the school bus to crash into the cars in front of it. In all, five motor vehicles were involved in the automobile accident. Several individuals were injured in the car accident and taken to the hospital.

    The Lake News Online article points out that the Missouri school bus wreck comes on the heals of an October 1, 2010 bus accident in Arkansas where a school bus traveled off of the road and crashed. Several students and a teacher were injured in that bus wreck. In that case, the school bus driver was later charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). Driving a school bus while intoxicated is apparently not an isolated occurrence. MSN.com reports that on October 5, 2010, the driver of a school bus in Illinois was charged with DUI following an accident where the bus crashed into several parked cars while transporting students. Following that auto accident, several students were taken to the hospital with injuries from the wreck.

    Under Missouri law, an individual wanting to drive a school bus in Missouri must have a special endorsement on his or her driver’s license. The requirements for obtaining an S endorsement can be found on the Missouri Department of Revenue website. Missouri law imposes a duty on employers of individuals who have been issued a Missouri school bus endorsement to notify the Missouri Director of Revenue when a driver fails a drug, alcohol, or chemical test. Many of the requirements for drug and alcohol tests are mandated by federal rules put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

    As a Missouri car accident attorney, the idea that a school bus driver would drive under the influence of alcohol is appalling. Driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated is bad enough, but transporting children is incomprehensible. An injury lawyer in Missouri representing someone injured in a bus accident would certainly want to know the facts surrounding the driver’s conduct and employment. For example, how diligent was the driver’s employer in enforcing a drug or alcohol policy or in investigating the background of the particular driver? Did the employer implement and follow all rules of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Missouri law? The answers to these questions may give rise to enhanced claims against the employer. In an appropriate case, the personal injury attorney may bring a Missouri punitive damages claim.

    No Serious Injuries From Bus Crash, The Lake News Online, October 12, 2010

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  7. Union, Missouri Mayor Charged with DWI After Car Accident

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    KSDK News in St. Louis reports that the Union, Missouri police responded to a car crash early last Thursday morning. Upon arrival, they found a car had been involved in an auto accident and had struck two parked cars on W. State Street in Union, Missouri. (Union is located in Franklin County, Missouri.) Upon further investigation, the Union police discovered that the driver of the automobile involved in the wreck was the Mayor of Union. The Mayor has been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI).

    Under Missouri law, the legal limit to drive a motor vehicle is .08 blood alcohol content. The amount of alcohol needed to reach this level varies with the circumstances involved. The police department of one out of state university put together a quick calculator to estimate the number of alcoholic drinks a person needs to drink to reach the Missouri legal limit of .08. This is an estimation only and the exact answer depends on other specific factors not taken into consideration including the sex of the drinker; different metabolism rates; medications that might have been taken; the amount of food in the person’s stomach; and, when the person last ate. For a general discussion of the effects of alcohol on a person’s ability to drive safely in Missouri, the Missouri Motorcycle Safety Program has published a good synopsis of how alcohol impairs a person’s ability to drive.

    In the Union automobile wreck, the alleged drunk driver only caused property damage and, fortunately, did not cause any bodily injury or death. However, as any Missouri injury lawyer will attest, drivers in Missouri are injured or killed every week at the hands of drunk drivers. Accident attorneys in Missouri are used to prosecuting Missouri civil lawsuits against drunk drivers who injure Missouri drivers, passengers and pedestrians on Missouri highways.

    As I have stated in prior posts, Missouri law may permit a person injured by a drunk driver to bring a civil lawsuit for monetary compensatory damages and punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to deter and punish a drunk driver for his or her conduct and to deter the drunk driver, as well as other Missouri motor vehicle operators, from engaging in similar conduct. In fact, according to Missouri trial lawyer publications, the largest Missouri plaintiff’s jury verdict in the year 2009 came out of a Franklin County, Missouri lawsuit for wrongful death brought by Missouri injury attorneys for the family of a driver who was killed by a drunk driver in Franklin County, Missouri. In that case, the Franklin County jury awarded millions of dollars in punitive damages to the wrongful death plaintiffs in the case. The jury was clearly trying to send a message about driving while intoxicated (DWI,DUI).

    Union Mayor DWI, KSDK.com, October 1, 2010

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