Car Accident in KY With A Twist...

by Carla
(Alexandria, KY)

I was involved in an auto accident in December 2011. A woman pulled out onto the highway right in front of me. I slammed the brakes on with all my might but unfortunately I could not stop in time.

My femur was absolutely shattered. I had surgery where a plate and screws were placed to hold the leg together. Six months later I am still unable to work or walk without the help of crutches.

Now here is the kicker, I had had a few beers before the accident. It is of course recorded in the hospital records. How is this going to affect my case? Thank you very much in advance!

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Car Accident in KY With A Twist...":

Carla (Alexandria, KY):

It depends on whether or not you were intoxicated at the time of the accident. When after an automobile accident a participant is asked how much he had to drink 90% of the time he will say "a couple of beers". The problem is in almost all states it only takes a couple of beers to be intoxicated.

In the State of Kentucky the maximum B.A.C. (Blood Alcohol Content) a person may have without being intoxicated is .08%. If and when the insurance company gains access to your medical records for that night they find your B.A.C. was in excess of .08% you may have a problem with "Contributory Negligence" - also called "Comparative Negligence". If your B.A.C. was beneath .08% you probably don't have much to worry about.

From the facts you present it appears clear the other driver was 100% at fault. If this is the case and you were not intoxicated (over .08% B.A.C.) your case should proceed smoothly in your favor.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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Contributory Negligence?
by: Carla

Could you please elaborate on contributory negligence? Will this prevent me from reaching a settlement with the insurance company? Surely it does not erase all responsibility on their part, does it? Thanks again!

by: Law Guy


Your “contributory” also referred to as “comparative” negligence should not prevent you from receiving a settlement from the other driver’s insurance company. As we discussed last time the amount of your settlement may be severely limited if you were “Driving While Intoxicated” at the time of the accident. Your blood taken at the hospital on the day of the accident will reveal if your B.A.C. (Blood Alcohol Content) was at or above the State of Kentucky’s intoxication limit of .08%.

Even if you were less than .08% at the time of the accident in Kentucky you can still be charged with “Driving While Impaired”.

The good news is you apparently weren’t charged with either crime. As a result you may not have been impaired or intoxicated.

You really need to get a copy of your medical chart the day you were admitted. That way you’ll know for sure what your B.A.C was. It’s possible you were intoxicated or impaired and the police decided not to charge you with either.

The bottom line is the amount of alcohol you had in your system at the time of the accident may reduce your settlement amount. That’s what comparative negligence means. Your negligence is “compared” to the other driver's.

You really won’t know what amount the insurance company will agree to pay until you hear from them. If you’re not satisfied with the amount ask them what they are basing the settlement figure on. If they say they took into account your B.A.C. then you’ll be in a difficult position.

Without an attorney there won’t be a lot you can do other than just argue with them and attempt to convince them you weren’t impaired or intoxicated at the time of the accident. That may be a difficult task.

You would be best advised to consult with a personal injury attorney. Most won’t charge for an initial office consultation. You can wait to see if you are satisfied with the insurance company’s offer or seek advice and counsel now.

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