A three-car crash occurred Saturday night, January 31st, on Peppers Ferry Road near Rolling Hills Drive in Montgomery County. The road was closed for several hours as emergency responders and law enforcement worked the accident. The accident occurred when a driver crossed the center line and struck another vehicle head-on. The driver of that vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene, and his two passengers were transported to the hospital with minor injuries. A third vehicle was also involved, but no injuries were reported for the occupants of that vehicle.
The driver who crossed the center line has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs. Drunk driving and drugged driving are not only dangerous and illegal, but they may subject the driver to liability for any personal injury or wrongful death which resulted. When a violation of the law has led to an injury, the injured plaintiff may be able to demonstrate that the defendant was negligent per se, or negligent as a matter of law, without having to provide other evidence of the defendant’s negligence. The central question on this issue is whether the statute which was violated was one that was enacted to prevent the type of harm which occurred. Most traffic laws fall into this category, and a law against driving under the influence certainly has a primary purpose of preventing tragedies such as this one.
The doctrine of negligence per se has been upheld many times by the Alabama courts, including this restatement of the law in Proctor v. Classic Auto., Inc. from the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in 2009:
“Violation of statutes or ordinances may be negligence. If the statute or ordinance violated was enacted or promulgated for the protection of the person claiming to have been injured by reason of the violation, the violation of the statute may be negligence per se or negligence as a matter of law.”
It is important to always drive with care and to drive defensively with regard to others who may be on the road, but as this tragedy demonstrates, sometimes all the care in the world cannot keep you safe from another person who chooses to drive with negligence or reckless disregard for the safety of others. If you or a loved one have been injured in an Alabama car accident, contact the attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum for a free consultation about receiving the compensation you need and deserve to recover from the harm done to you.