UNION – A Monroe County jury has awarded more than $1.5 million to a woman who suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of a drunk driving crash in December 2014.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a young woman against the drunk driver and the Beallsville American Legion. The young woman, who was 21 at the time of the accident, alleged the drunk driver was a patron of the bar and that the bar continued to serve her alcohol after she became visibly intoxicated.
The victim was traveling home after dropping off a friend from a day of Christmas shipping when she was hit head-on by the drunk driver.
The black box recovered from the drunk driver’s vehicle indicated that she was traveling 70 miles per hour when the vehicle went left of center and hit the victim head-on.
The drunk driver’s BAC level was found to be more than two times the legal limit at the time of the crash.
The victim was life-flighted to Ruby Memoral Hospital in Morgantown with bleeding on the brain, a ruptured spleen, lacerated liver, broken arm, dislocated elbow, fractured femur and other serious injuries.
She still suffers from long term physical and non-physical health problems, and significant scarring as a result of the crash. She will require medical treatment for the rest of her life.
“The people of Monroe County delivered a strong message to drunk drivers and the businesses who serve visibly intoxicated patrons: it’s not okay, and you will be held accountable,” said Teena Miller of Gold, Khourey & Turak. “The verdict is a reminder to all of us. Drunk drivers put us all at risk, and everyone, including bars, needs to take responsibility for making our roads and communities safer. Our firm will continue to aggressively pursue justice for victims of these preventable crashes."
Similar to many states, Ohio and West Virginia have dram shop laws that hold businesses accountable for serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person. These laws also hold businesses responsible for serving anyone under the age of 21 who is involved in a drunk driving crash.