A 19-year-old man is dead after a two-vehicle crash that involved a flatbed truck and a passenger car.
According to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, 20-year-old Pedro Regalado-Cardenas was probably alcohol-impaired when he slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer fully loaded with rebar near the intersection of Colton and Lamb. Mr. Regalado-Cardenas was rushed to a nearby hospital after the crash, but he is expected to survive; his passenger, a 19-year-old man whose name was not released, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr. Regalado-Cardenas was booked into the Cook County Jail after his release from the hospital.
Even though the number has dipped in recent decades, alcohol is a factor in about a third of fatal car crashes in Nevada. Not all these drivers are necessarily “drunk,” because in most cases, impairment begins with one drink.
Furthermore, alcohol is only one type of impairment, as that term is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The four types of driver impairment are:
- Alcohol: Even trace amounts of alcohol typically trigger a relaxed feeling of euphoria that impairs judgement skills, along with slightly delayed reaction time. As consumption increases, the mental impairment becomes worse and drivers also develop worsening physical symptoms, like bloodshot eyes and unsteady balance, that make machinery operation very dangerous. A drink or two later, and most people are legally intoxicated, because they have completely lost the normal use of their mental or physical faculties.
- Substance: Over-the-counter cold remedies and sleep aids often leave people feeling groggy, especially if these substances are combined with alcohol or another drug. Prescription medicines, especially pain killers, have an even more pronounced effect. Other drivers are impaired after consuming a “street drug” like heroin or cocaine.
- Distraction: Distracted driving can be talking on a cellphone, talking to another passenger, eating a sandwich, or doing anything else that involves taking at least one hand off the wheel, taking one’s eyes off the road and/or taking one’s mind off the road.
- Fatigue: NHTSA just recently added this category, mostly because driving after 18 consecutive waking hours is the equivalent of driving with a .05 BAC.
Damages in an impaired car crash case normally include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, as well as noneconomic losses, such as emotional distress.
The latter two types of impaired driving – distraction and fatigue – must nearly always be established by circumstantial evidence. Particularly in the first two areas – alcohol and substance impairment – a statutory violation is sometimes involved, like drug possession or DUI. In these cases, the negligence per se (negligence “as such”) shortcut may be available.
Typically, the plaintiff must prove that the tortfeasor (negligent driver) violated a legal duty, and that the breach caused injury. But if the tortfeasor violated a statute, even a traffic law like failing to obey a stop sign, the jury may apply negligence per se. In these cases, the plaintiff must only prove that the tortfeasor violated a statute, the victim was in the class of people that the law was designed to protect, and that the violation caused injury.
Partner with a Zealous Attorney
Impaired drivers cause serious injury and severe property damage. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. Mr. Naqvi belongs to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.