Charged Filed in Thanksgiving 2022 Fatal Crash

A man faces multiple counts of vehicular homicide after he crossed the center line and slammed into an oncoming SUV, killing two people and seriously injuring two others.

One of the victims was an 18-year-old college student. The freshman volleyball player at Bryan College in Tennessee was home visiting family for the holiday. “Alivia was loved by many and will be remembered for her kind, sweet, beautiful spirit,” the Creekview volleyball team posted on Facebook. “Chris [her father who was also killed in the crash] was a devoted father to his two daughters and the love of Jennifer’s life.”

Investigators believe driver fatigue caused the fatal wreck.

Drowsy Driver Crashes

Toxicology tests revealed the driver in the above story was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the wreck. However, if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was dangerously fatigued, as was apparently the case, that is as bad as driving drunk. Driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a BAC level. That is above the legal limit for many Georgia drivers.

Alcohol and fatigue cloud judgment abilities and impair motor skills. This combination makes it very dangerous for these individuals to operate heavy machinery, like motor vehicles.

Frequently, a Marietta personal injury attorney uses direct evidence to establish driver fatigue. A startling number of drivers readily admit they were either sleepy or even that they fell asleep at the wheel. These drivers may think fatigue is a legal excuse, but instead, they are admitting they were negligent.

Circumstantial evidence of fatigue includes erratic driving before the crash, a tortfeasor’s inability to recall the last few miles driven, use of certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs, and medical conditions, like sleep apnea.

Sometimes, the circumstantial evidence has little or nothing to do with the amount of awake time. No matter how much rest they had the previous night, most people are naturally drowsy early in the morning, at midday, and late at night. 

If a Marietta personal injury attorney proves that negligence, or a lack of care, caused injury, the tortfeasor is liable for damages.

Legal Investigations

Authorities spent almost three months investigating this case before they had enough evidence to file criminal charges. The investigation process in a civil case is usually at least as long or even longer.

Legal investigations start with the evidence at the scene. This evidence usually includes the police report and any witness statements. This evidence is often paltry or deceptive. Most people don’t hang around accident scenes so they can give official statements to police officers. Additionally, if the victim died in a crash, as in this case, the police report only contains the tortfeasor’s side of the story.

Therefore, attorneys usually need to look at more evidence, such as the feed from an Event Data Recorder, to start these investigations. An EDR is a car or truck’s onboard computer. These gadgets measure things like steering angle and vehicle speed.

Additionally, in civil court, there’s a difference between fault and liability. Fault is an initial determination based on initial evidence, which, as mentioned above, may be inaccurate. Liability is a final determination based on all evidence, as well as legal theories.

The last clear chance theory often comes up in wrong-way wrecks. If a driver did not take advantage of the last clear chance to avoid the wreck, that driver could be legally responsible for damages.

Medical bills are another issue. Meaningful civil settlement negotiations cannot start until medical treatment is at least substantially complete. If the settlement does not account for future medical expenses, the victim could be financially responsible for these costs.

Damages in a car crash claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

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