Friday, January 7, 2011

Impaired Driving: DUI and Medical Conditions of Drivers

Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accident death and injuries. While driving impaired usually means driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it may also be in the form of driving with a medical condition or elderly driving.

Tone-Loc, a rapper and actor was arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) last December in Los Angeles but according to him, his arrest was a mistake.

It was reported that Tone Loc (Anthony Terrell Smith) was spotted driving erratically by the Los Angeles Police Department officers at around 3:00 in the morning. He was subsequently pulled over by the police and taken into custody and booked for DUI.

Although Tone-Loc was released 12 hours later after posting a $5,000 bail, he claims that he wasn’t driving erratically because he was drunk but that he was actually having a seizure right before the arrest.

His manager came to his defense and said that Tone-Loc hasn’t been drinking for many years as he has a history of seizures. Although the rapper was released after posting bail, the manager said that the cops realized his medical situation so they released him.

The rapper later that day checked into a hospital and claimed that the seizure may have been caused by the bad food he ate earlier.

Yearly, thousands die on the road because of impaired driving. Statistics show that in 2008, an estimated 11,773 people died in alcohol-impaired traffic crashes. Although medical-related accidents have no concrete statistics, it is just as potentially fatal as DUI crashes.

Whether its avoiding alcoholic beverages or drugs or taking proper medication right before driving, all drivers have legal obligation to drive diligently and safely to avoid causing injuries to other motorists on the road.

The driver shall be considered negligent if he or she was drunk or drugged at the time of the accident or if he had a medical condition and failed to take proper precautions or even drove even if it wasn’t safe.

Under the law, victims of impaired driving accidents may file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party and seek damages. A negligent or impaired driver shall be required to pay compensation to the injured party for his injuries or expenses related to the accident through economic and non-economic damages.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Promoter and Driver Sued in Fatal Off-Road Race Accident

Following a fatal off-road race crash that killed eight spectators, the mother of one of the victims, Andrew Therrien, 22, of Riverside has filed a claim against the race promoter and the driver.

The lawsuit filed by Doris Levinson is in behalf of Therrien’s young daughter named Johnson Valley off-road race promoter MDR Productions and driver Brett Sloppy as defendants. According to her claim, the promoter and the driver acted recklessly and negligently on the fatal August 14 race and failed to take proper precautions which led to the driver’s truck flipping into a crowd of people.

Allegedly, Therrien lost his life when he pushed his daughter out of the way of the truck and 7 other people died a few feet away from the track. Through her attorneys, Levinson claims that MDR did not follow established safety practices, failed to warn spectators about dangerous spots and keep them out, as well as for negligently understaffing the event. Further, the driver was accused of driving recklessly in a crowded area.

In addition to the above-mentioned defendants, the lawsuit also seeks to hold the Bureau of Land Management liable as it failed to oversee its permitting procedures which led to the accident. A claim has been filed against BLM, the first step in suing the federal government.

While human life is priceless and a lawsuit can never bring back a loved one lost in an accident – personal injury litigation is one way to help the victims or his surviving family meet the expenses and losses incurred after a death or an injury.

In fact, most personal injury or wrongful death claims seek to recover “damages”. Damages is a legal term used to define compensation paid by a defendant for an injury or loss – this may also be awarded in order to punish the defendant for his negligence or fault.

There are two basic types of damages – compensatory and punitive. The former is to provide compensation for actual expenses or losses suffered by the victim in order to restore him to his condition before the accident occurred. This includes medical expenses, loss of wages, doctor’s fees, and other related costs. Again, while human life and pain has no actual value, payment of compensatory damages may be used to reimburse all expenses incurred as a result of the accident.

Punitive damages on the other hand, when awarded are used to punish the defendant and to deter others from committing the same mistake or misconduct.