A probable drunk driver put two people in the hospital following an East Las Vegas car wreck.
The crash occurred near the intersection of the Boulder Highway and U.S. Highway 95. According to witnesses and the Nevada Highway Patrol, the crash involved four vehicles. At least two people were seriously injured and rushed to nearby hospitals, and at least one driver was probably impaired.
None of the names were released.
First Party Liability in Alcohol-Related Wrecks
Typically, these victims can use either negligence or negligence per se to obtain the justice and compensation they deserve.
Negligence is basically a lack of ordinary care. Drinking prior to driving definitely constitutes a lack of ordinary care. These tortfeasors (negligent drivers) know that it is not safe for them to drive. Nevertheless, they deliberately choose to put other people at risk.
Alcohol is a depressant which slows down reaction times. So, drunk drivers are slow to respond to anything, even something as simple as a curve in the road. Alcohol also creates a sense of euphoria which impairs judgment. That feeling may be fine at Las Vegas parties, but an “I’ve got this” mentality is very, very bad for drivers. As a result, impairment begins with the first drink.
To establish this level of impairment, victim/plaintiffs in Nevada usually only need to establish consumption. Such evidence includes:
- Bloodshot eyes,
- Odor of alcohol, and
- Erratic driving.
Evidence like this is usually sufficient because the standard of proof in Clark County civil cases is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). If the tortfeasor had been someplace that served alcohol, it is more likely than not that the tortfeasor was drinking and was impaired behind the wheel.
To better reflect the “impairment begins at one drink” science, many jurisdictions have lowered their BAC limits from .08 to .04. Utah was the first U.S. jurisdiction to do so. However, no one is really sure if such a move would lower the number of drunk drivers or just increase the number of arrests.
However, attorneys are certain that the negligence per se shortcut applies if the tortfeasor was legally intoxicated. Under this doctrine, liability is conclusive if the tortfeasor:
- Violated a safety law, and
- The infraction substantially caused the victim/plaintiff’s damages.
The negligence per se rule may apply with regard to moving violations as well, such as speeding or making an illegal lane change. First responders usually give one driver, and only one driver, such a citation.
Third Party Liability in Alcohol-Related Crashes
Many drunk driver wrecks in Nevada cause catastrophic injuries, such as wrongful death. In these cases, the tortfeasor may not have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate the victim/plaintiff. Fortunately, there is usually a vicarious liability theory available. Such theories give victim/plaintiffs an additional source of recovery.
Nevada has a limited dram shop law which holds alcohol providers liable for damages in certain situations. Under NRS 41.1305, if an establishment provides alcohol to a minor who becomes intoxicated and causes injury, that establishment could be liable for damages. However, Nevada courts do not apply this law very frequently, citing foreseeability issues. In other words, a bar owner cannot anticipate that a beer will set such a chain of events into motion.
Other theories, like negligent undertaking, may apply as well. Assume that a bar owner promises to call a cab for a drunk customer, fails to do so, and the customer hits someone on the way home. Negligent undertaking may apply under these facts.
Reach Out to a Tenacious Lawyer
Impaired drivers often cause serious injuries. Pedestrian-auto crashes raise often cause fatal injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, contact Naqvi Injury Law. Home and hospital visits are available.