According to officials, a Monroe County jury awarded more than $1.5 million to a woman who suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of a December 2014 drunk driving crash.
Gold, Khourey, & Turak filed a lawsuit on behalf of the young woman against the drunk driver and the Beallsville American Legion. The lawsuit alleged that the drunk driver was a patron of the Legion, and that the Legion continued to serve her alcohol after becoming visibly intoxicated.
The victim, 21, was reportedly traveling home after dropping off a friend from a day of Christmas shopping when she was hit head-on by the drunk driver. The black box recovered from the drunk driver’s vehicle indicated that the vehicle was traveling 70 mph when it went left of center and struck the victim.
According to officials, the 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 Memorial Hospital in Morgantown to be treated for bleeding on the brain, a ruptured spleen, lacerated liver, broken arm, dislocated elbow, fractured femur, and other serious injuries.
Now 25-years-old, the victim suffers from long-term physical and non-physical health problems, and significant scarring as a results of the crash.
Officials say that she will require medical treatment for the rest of her life.
While the drunk driver admitted responsibility for the crash, the Beallsville American Legion denied any liability.
After four days of trial, the jury found the Legion negligent for knowingly serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person that resulted in the crash. The jury also instructed that the Legion pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees.
“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,” says Attorney Teena Miller of Gold, Khourey & Turak who represented the young woman. “The verdict is a reminder to all of us,” adds Miller. “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.