All drivers have what is known as a “duty of reasonable care under the circumstances.” That means that every driver on the road has a duty to every other driver (and their passengers) to follow the law and drive safely in accordance with existing road conditions. Unfortunately, this duty is far too easy to forget, especially among young college-aged drivers. This led to a tragic accident recently in neighboring Virginia.
One student from the College of Charleston was killed, and one arrested, after an accident on the way to a football game. Five friends were driving together in a Land Rover SUV, when the driver drove off the left side of Interstate 95, struck a tree, and caused the SUV to overturn. One person ended up suffering from broken bones and internal bleeding, ultimately dying from blunt force trauma. The other passengers were taken to hospitals, with one taken to a local hospital while the other two were air lifted to a medical center farther away.
The driver was charged with felony driving under the influence, possessing a controlled substance, and possessing marijuana. His blood alcohol level is not yet known. As tragic as this recent event proved to be, the greater tragedy is that the accident was not a rarity. In fact, just four days earlier, another college student from the University of South Carolina was charged with two counts of felony DUI, as well as one count of second-offense driving under suspension. In that earlier accident, the student’s car crossed a center line and struck two motorcyclists head on, killing them both. Both drivers face potential maximum sentences of 25 years in prison and mandatory fines between $10,000 and $25,000. If convicted, their licenses would be suspended for three years.
Many teenagers and young adults believe that they are invincible and have an inflated sense of their own abilities. Unfortunately, even if they were invincible, those affected by their actions are not.
Those who have lost a loved one to a car accident may choose to hire a West Virginia car accident attorney and file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek monetary compensation for their loss. The elements of a wrongful death suit are: (1) the driver had a duty to other users of the road to drive reasonably under the circumstances; (2) the driver breached that duty by driving while intoxicated, or by breaking the law in some other fashion; (3) as a result of the breach, the loved one was injured; and (4) due to the injury, the loved one was killed. Those who file wrongful death lawsuits typically seek damages for medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of income, loss of consortium, and more. However, here in West Virginia, if the injured party was at fault for 50% or more of the accident, the injured party cannot collect. That is because West Virginia has a system known as “modified comparative negligence.”
The Wolfe Law Firm has been providing legal services for nearly 25 years. Located in Elkins, West Virginia, the firm provides services in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and mediation. If you are looking for an experienced West Virginia attorney, contact us today.