KC Chiefs Coach Could Face DUI-Manslaughter Charges
A 5-year-old child is clinging to life after a wreck which involved troubled Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid.
A few days before Super Bowl LV, Reid apparently rear-ended a disabled vehicle and another vehicle which had stopped to render assistance. Two young children in the disabled vehicle’s back seat, the aforementioned 5-year-old and a 4-year old, were seriously injured. Investigators said that Reid smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, and admitted to consuming two or three drinks. The investigation is ongoing.
In 2008, Reid pleaded guilty to drug and DUI charges stemming from a parking lot collision at a grocery store.
First Party Liability
The amount of alcohol the tortfeasor (negligent driver) consumed normally determines the best available first party liability theory. Actually, the amount of alcohol a Tampa personal injury attorney can prove the tortfeasor consumed is usually the determining factor.
Two or three drinks might or might not be enough to render a person legally intoxicated. Some other factors, mostly the tortfeasor’s physical size and how quickly the tortfeasor consumed the alcohol, come into play.
If the tortfeasor was not legally intoxicated, an attorney could still pursue the matter as an alcohol-related wreck. This label is important. Many Hillsborough County jurors dislike drunk drivers. Furthermore, alcohol-impaired people usually know they should not get behind the wheel. But they drive anyway, thereby intentionally putting other people at risk. Because of these two factors, compensation is normally high in these situations.
Victim/plaintiffs may use circumstantial evidence to establish alcohol impairment. Such evidence usually includes:
- Erratic driving before the wreck,
- Tortfeasor’s statements about alcohol consumption,
- Physical symptoms, like bloodshot eyes, and
- Tortfeasor’s previous activity.
If the tortfeasor was earlier at a party or other place where alcohol was served, it’s more likely than not that the tortfeasor had at least one drink. And, one drink is sufficient to cause dangerous impairment.
Reid admitted to two or three drinks. Normally, when people admit to two or three, they probably had more than that. If the tortfeasor was charged with DUI, the negligence per se shortcut could apply. These victims do not need circumstantial evidence. Tortfeasors who violate penal safety laws, like the DUI law, could be liable for car crash damages as a matter of law.
Circumstantial evidence is still admissible, mostly on the issue of damages. There’s a significant difference between a 0.08 BAC level and a 0.16 BAC level. 0.08 is legally drunk. 0.16 is essentially stumbling drunk.
Third Party Liability
Commercial alcohol providers, such as restaurants, bars, and grocery stores, could be vicariously liable for car crash damages if they sell alcohol to underage individuals or people who are habitually addicted to alcohol.
Underage sales usually trigger the dram shop law automatically. Old excuses like “s/he looked older” usually do not hold up in court. Circumstantial evidence is admissible regarding habitual addiction. Victim/plaintiffs must prove that, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not), the establishment’s owner knew about the habitual addiction.
The dram shop law does not apply to party hosts. However, these individuals could also be vicariously liable for car wreck damages, under a theory like negligent undertaking.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Lawyer
Alcohol-related crash victims may have multiple legal options. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney, contact Mark H. Wright, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these situations.