Brian White | August 5, 2020 | Motorcycle Accidents
In a tragic motorcycle accident on July 18, 2020, three members of the Thin Blue Line Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club lost their lives. The crash occurred in the Texas Hill Country near Kerrville. The three members who died were Jerry Wayne Harbour, Joseph Paglia, and Michael White.
The crash occurred while some of the members were out for a ride and were headed back to Bandera. The Kerr County Sheriff’s Office stated that the accident occurred on Highway 16 just south of Kerrville. A person driving an automobile crossed over the center line and ran into the group of motorcyclists head-on.
In addition to the three motorcyclists who died, nine other riders were transported to the hospital with critical injuries. The person who caused the motorcycle crash was taken into custody by authorities on suspicion of intoxication assault and intoxicated manslaughter.
It appears that this was a DUI accident that was preventable. We offer our condolences to the families and the Thin Blue Line Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club as they continue to grieve the loss of these men.
DUI Accidents and Motorcycles
Impaired drivers are responsible for taking the lives of thousands of people each year. Over 10,000 people die each year in DUI car accidents. Additionally, impaired drivers cause hundreds of thousands of injuries, some injuries resulting in permanent disabilities and impairments.
Even though the dangers of drunk driving are well-known, a third of the traffic fatalities in 2018 were attributed to drunk driving. Individuals continue to get behind the wheel of a vehicle when they have had too much to drink.
Unfortunately, when a drunk driver hits a motorcyclist, the motorcyclist has a higher risk of dying than the drunk driver. The impaired driver is protected by the metal frame of the vehicle, a seat belt, and the vehicle’s airbag. A motorcyclist does not have those protections.
The rider’s body receives the full impact of the collision with the vehicle. In a head-on collision, the rider may be thrown from the vehicle, or the vehicle may run over the rider. In either case, the chance of catastrophic injuries and fatal injuries are high.
Motorcycle injuries in DUI accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Massive internal organ failure
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Back injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Severe disfigurement
- Chest injuries
It is tragic that the poor decisions of one person could result in the loss of life. For the riders who survive a DUI crash, their lives may be changed forever. Riders who are paralyzed or sustain other disabling conditions may never ride a motorcycle again, work, or enjoy the same quality of life as they did before the motorcycle crash.
Seeking Damages for a Motorcycle Crash Involving a Drunk Driver
The drunk driver in a motorcycle crash faces criminal penalties. The man driving the vehicle in the above crash could face a significant prison sentence for killing three people.
However, drunk drivers may also be held liable for damages in a civil lawsuit. The family members of the motorcyclists killed in the accident can file wrongful death lawsuits against the driver seeking compensation for damages. The injured riders may also file lawsuits seeking compensation for their damages.
Damages in a motorcycle accident may include:
- Past and future medical care
- Past and future loss of income and benefits
- Personal care expenses
- Diminished earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional suffering and distress
- Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life
- Disabilities and permanent impairments
- Wrongful death benefits
No amount of money will ever erase the pain or suffering caused by a DUI accident. The survivors must continue to deal with the losses caused by a drunk driver. However, compensation from a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit can provide care for the survivors.
What Should I Do if I Suspect a Driver Was Drunk When He Hit Me?
If you believe the driver who caused your accident was drunk, tell the police officer who responds to the accident scene. Do not confront the driver directly because an intoxicated person could be dangerous. If there are eyewitnesses, make sure to get their names and contact information if they cannot wait for the police to arrive.
As soon as possible, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim. Drunk driving accidents can be complicated. They may involve criminal charges, in addition to your civil claim.
While the criminal case and the civil case are separate, they can impact each other. An experienced drunk driving accident lawyer understands how the two cases intersect and how to utilize the criminal case to help prove liability and fault in the civil case.