Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not only extremely dangerous, it is illegal. Yet there are tens of thousands of DUI accidents annually across the United States. These accidents are avoidable, which makes them even more frustrating for injured victims and their families.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a vehicle accident involving an impaired driver, you have the legal right to seek justice and compensation for injuries. An experienced Louisville DUI accident lawyer can guide you through the process and ensure you are not under-compensated.
Kentucky Drunk Driving Statistics
It is shocking that so many people continue to drink and drive. Though Kentucky generally ranks somewhere in the middle of national DUI accident numbers, even one avoidable accident is too many. According to various sources, here are some recent statistics for statewide and national DUIs.
- In 2021, there were 19,474 DUI-related charges in the state, according to the Department of Information and Technology Services.
- Forbes reports that 25.5% of Kentucky traffic deaths in 2020 were attributed to drunk driving.
- The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety reports that alcohol-related fatalities in 2020 totaled 181 people, which was more than the 162 speed-related crashes that year.
- In 2019, there were 391 DUI arrests per 100K people in Kentucky, which is a notable 48% decrease over the previous 10 years.
- Nationwide, legally intoxicated drivers caused 10,142 fatalities in 2019, accounting for more than a quarter of deaths on U.S. roadways.
- Prior to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, emergency medical technicians and medical examiners found that 19% of drivers they tested had BACs over the legal limit. By the summer of 2021, 26% of drivers tested had BACs of .08% or higher.
Drunk drivers are more likely to engage in reckless driving behavior, which can lead to catastrophic injuries. A drunk driving accident lawyer in Louisville can help you hold negligent drivers responsible for their actions.
Drug-Specific DUIs in Kentucky
DUIs are often thought of in terms of alcohol, but both prescription and recreational drugs can cause impaired driving. The 2021 Kentucky DUI Assessment Report from the University of Kentucky Center on Drug and Alcohol Research combined and analyzed DUI data from multiple agencies. They found that 37.8% of DUI arrests involved drugs. Of these arrests, 32.2% were drugs only, and 5.6% involved a combination of drugs and alcohol.
Marijuana was the most common drug present in drug DUI arrests at 40.9% and 15.5% of overall DUIs. Opiates were the second most common at 26.6%, followed by amphetamines at 25.9%. Sedatives made up much of the remaining percentage of drug DUI arrests in Kentucky—along with other substances such as cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, and PCP.
Kentucky DUI Laws
Under Kentucky laws, a driver is too intoxicated to drive legally if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.08%. If the driver has a commercial driver’s license, the legal limit drops to 0.04%. For drivers under the legal drinking age of 21, a BAC of 0.02% or over is illegal. It is also illegal for there to be an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.
Despite these hard lines, alcohol impacts each person differently, and consuming any amount of alcohol before driving can have a dangerous impact on a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle. Effects can include impaired judgment, slower reaction times, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, and memory impairment.
The effects of drugs vary greatly in comparison to alcohol. So arrests and convictions are based on whether a drug impaired the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle or if there is any amount of a controlled substance found in the driver’s blood. These are different in terms of the necessary evidence to prove the charge, but the punishment is the same. Your DUI accident lawyers in Louisville can help if you want additional clarification of DUI laws.
Statute of Limitations for a Kentucky DUI
A victim has two years from the date of an accident to file a civil lawsuit in Kentucky. This is a civil suit for monetary damages. If the driver was inebriated at the time of the accident, they would also face separate charges in criminal court.
Two years go by fast when you are trying to recover from serious injuries and coping with costly medical expenses. And your lawyer benefits from having time to prepare your case and negotiate with the insurance company in the hopes of getting an out-of-court settlement before officially filing suit. So there is no time to waste. The sooner you can receive counsel from a Louisville DUI accident attorney, the better positioned you will be to make a powerful case against the negligent driver and get the compensation you need.
Recoverable Damages from a Louisville DUI Accident
Damages are compensation for past and future losses related to your injuries. Most vehicle accidents start with an insurance claim. In some cases, this can be sufficient depending on the extent of your injuries, insurance coverage, and settlement offer.
In a serious accident, insurance settlements often fall short of the compensation you need to be able to recover effectively. They can also fail to hold the driver responsible for their actions.
If you choose to file a lawsuit, DUI accident attorneys in Louisville can help you determine the actual value of your case and work to help you receive maximum compensation. There are a number of factors that go into determining what the negligent party owes you, but there are two general types of damages available, with the potential for a third.
This type of compensation is meant to put you back in the financial situation you would have been in if the accident had not occurred. Medical expenses, lost wages, in-home care, and other current and future direct costs associated with your injury fall into this category.
The effects of the accident on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being are also compensable. You may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and more.
In some instances, especially when it is not the defendant’s first DUI charge, the court may choose to award you punitive damages. Punitive damages are monetary compensation that a judge adds to the original award to punish the defendant and deter future bad behavior.
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Contact a Louisville DUI Accident Lawyer
The personal injury attorneys at Gerling Law have represented thousands of clients over five decades and recovered over $500 million in verdicts and settlements. Every case is different, but our skills and determination remain consistent. We are not afraid to seek maximum compensation and justice for accident injury victims. Contact us to schedule your free case review.