In the Missouri car accident case of Abigbe v Main, we represented the Plaintiff, a taxi cab driver that was t-boned at a St Louis intersection. It was a hard fought case as the insurance company, State Farm, insisted that our client’s injuries were minor injuries and the case was worth no more than $18,200. (see offer of 18,200) Once we had the case prepared and ready for trial, State Farm insurance realized they had to settle for the insurance policy limits of $100,000 and they did. (see 100k settlement).
This case is an example of what an insurance company will do to try and settle a case for pennies on the dollar. Had we not fought hard for our client he would have received a small settlement. Our primary value driver of the case was the inference that the other driver was drunk at the time of the car accident. She was not arrested or even charged with a DWI, additionally, the police report did not even mention anything about alcohol. However, our investigation revealed that the driver was probably drinking and we gathered the evidence to prove it.
At her deposition, the defendant driver denied she ran a red light and testified to several facts that were directly contradicted by a very important witness, a Federal Park Ranger that was following the driver before the crash and witnessed the entire intersection accident including watching the driver speeding and run a red light.
The Ranger testified that the defendant driver was driving “well over the speed limit” that she ran the red light which turned red “well before she reached the intersection”, the Ranger had ample opportunity to observe her and opined that she was intoxicated as well as had “alcohol on her breath” and a “chemical smell” coming from her which he testified was marijuana.
Missouri law allows non-law enforcement witnesses and law enforcement witnesses to testify regarding observations of intoxication. To name just a few cases to show what must be done to get this evidence in front of a jury see:
- Zempel v Slater, 182 SW 3d 609 (2005), the police officer allowed to testify that he detected a “slight” or “faint” odor of alcohol on the defendant when talking with him after the motorcycle accident.
- Bohn v James, 573 SW 2d 448, 449 (1978), speeding and not keeping proper lookout is erratic driving thus allowing testimony from the Plaintiff at trial that following the collision he detected alcohol on defendant’s breath.
- Boehm v. St Louis Public Service Co., 368 S.W. 2d 361 (1963), running a stop sign, no headlights at night is erratic driving thus allowing testimony from medical records stating alcohol on breath to be admissible at trial.
- Cheatham v Chartrau, 176 S.W.2d 865 (1944), Truck “zig-zagging and wobbling” is evidence of erratic driving thus allowing testimony from witnesses observing intoxication.
The Park Ranger’s testimony would not only be allowed at a trial, but would have been especially credible as he is also extensively trained in DWI enforcement. Many people may not realize, but DWI enforcement oat the St Louis Landing area is primarily done by the Federal Park Rangers as much of the property is on or adjacent to the St Louis arch, particularly the parking garages, which is Federal property.
- How do you prove the other driver was drunk?
- Sansone gets 2.3 MILLION dollar judgment against drunk driver
Injured in a car accident? Don’t try to settle by yourself, hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to maximize your case value. Call for a free case evaluation at (314) 863-0500 or contact us online.