Articles Tagged with drunk driving injury

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Following the death of a high school basketball player and her boyfriend in a single-car accident shortly after the pair left the home of her coach, who provided alcohol, the girl’s mother sued the school district for liability. However, the State of Washington Supreme Court ruled in this case, the school district could not be held liable.drunk driving attorney

Although the court noted the actions of the coach were “so extremely indifferent to the risk of injury to (decedents) that someone must be liable for (plaintiff’s) claims.” However, plaintiff, as the representative of her daughter’s estate, did not choose to bring action against the coach. Instead, she brought a number of claims against the school district for direct liability and vicarious liability for the negligence of its employee. Direct negligence claims included negligent hiring and retention, negligent training and negligent supervision. On these and the vicarious liability claims (for which the negligent employee would have needed to be acting in the course and scope of employment), the court held plaintiff failed to present genuine issues of material fact as to the school district’s liability, and thus the district was entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.

Before delving further, we should note that Florida’s own dram shop and social liability laws when it comes to drunk driving accidents are rather limited also. F.S. 768.125 holds that a person who sells or furnishes alcohol to someone of lawful drinking age OR who is not known to be habitually addicted to alcohol won’t be liable for damages resulting from that person’s intoxication. (Here, both decedents were minors under 21, so it may have been possible to hold him personally liable for what occurred, but the question is still whether his employer would have been responsible.) Florida also has an “open house parties” statute, F.S. 856.015, that holds a person who owns or controls a residence may not allow an open house party to occur at the residence if alcohol or drugs are being possessed by people known to controlling party to be a minor and where the person fails to take reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of the alcohol or drugs. A first offense is a second-degree misdemeanor; second offense OR one that results in serious bodily injury or death is a first-degree misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in jail). In addition to a criminal conviction, one could be found negligent per se (meaning automatically negligent, regardless of whether they acted reasonably).  Continue reading →

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Almost any employer – including government agencies – can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of their employees when those acts or omissions in question occur in the course and scope of employment. However, in a case out of Chicago, the city has agreed to pay $20 million – $10 million each – to the families of two men killed in a fatal DUI accident involving an off-duty city police officer. DUI attorney

The Chicago Tribune reports the city council was embroiled in a fierce debate over the settlement negotiations that followed the families’ wrongful death lawsuits because of concern it would open the city up to liability for a range of wrongful acts committed by employees in their free time. Ultimately, there were two factors that swayed them:

  • The families’ allegations (and supporting evidence) that the police department protected this particular officer in previous incidents of wrongdoing, declining to arrest or punish him for alleged crimes. This, the families say, led the officer to reasonably believe he could break the law with impunity.
  • The assertion by the plaintiffs’ attorneys that if the case were to be decided by a jury, the damage award could conceivably be much higher.

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Most are familiar with the concept of hiding assets in the midst of a divorce. We don’t often hear about hidden assets in personal injury lawsuits, but that’s because the majority of defendants aren’t independently wealthy. Mostly, claims for injury as a result of DUI or other negligence behind the wheel is covered by auto insurance companies. That’s not to say individuals can’t legally be held personally liable for damages over and above that amount, but it often makes little sense to pursue it when defendant has few assets anyway. car accident lawyer

However, debts for personal injury caused while driving under the influence is not dischargeable under U.S. Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(9). That means if a court has ordered defendant to pay plaintiff a sum in compensation for DUI injuries, that debt can’t simply be wiped clean by bankruptcy, as so many other debts can be. Still, collecting this compensation directly from a drunk driving defendant can be a challenge.

In a recent Palm Beach County DUI lawsuit, an 82-year-old Uber driver killed in a September crash, and defendant’s insurer now accuses defendant of hiding assets to avoid paying insurance claims benefiting the family’s estate.  Continue reading →

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The family of a 58-year-old grandmother who died in a crash last month has filed a civil injury lawsuit against the 40-year-old driver, a principle at a local high school. They are seeking justice in a case where it seems apparent the at-fault driver won’t face criminal charges for allegedly driving drunk. beer

The case is an odd one that started when a 5,000-pound truck fell from the sky and on top of the victim’s sport utility vehicle. The mother of four and grandmother of two was traveling home on the highway when the Ford F-150 truck crushed her SUV. The truck was driven by a 40-year-old high school principle. He reportedly struck an impact barrier with such force that it lifted the truck off the ground and made it go airborne, according to Fox News Latino. Defendant and his passengers walked away relatively unscathed with only minor lacerations and bruising.

Police did not charge defendant with DUI. He admitted to investigating officers he’d just left a local tavern, where he’d been with friends. He declined to undergo a breathalyzer test and he refused to undergo a sobriety test. However, at least two officers on scene said he didn’t appear to be drunk. Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer is illegal in Florida due to implied consent laws, but police can’t force anyone to breathe into a machine. Per a U.S. Supreme Court decision (Missouri v. McNeely), police would have to seek a warrant to conduct a blood draw, but they would need probable cause. A prosecutor called to assess the situation found there was not enough probable cause to ask a judge to force defendant to submit a drug sample.  Continue reading →

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