Pedestrian Dies After Being Struck By Vehicle, But Driver Refuses To Provide Evidence For Investigation
One evening in March 2023, Robert Barrett was attempting to cross Highway 93 in Clemson on foot, and he eventually saw what appeared to be an opportunity to cross. A car struck Barrett while he was crossing the road, and he was pronounced dead shortly after the accident. He was 68 years old. The driver of the vehicle that struck Barrett was Michael Lee Lyon III, a student at Clemson University. Lyon’s dog was in the car with him at the time of the accident, and Lyon’s roommate arrived to take the dog home while police were still on the scene, investigating the accident. The police report noted that there was a smell of cannabis in the vehicle, but Lyon did not consent to a search. Lyon also refused a field sobriety test and a breath test. At Oconee Memorial Hospital, doctors determined that Lyon was not injured, but he refused to give a urine sample for the forensic investigation. He is facing charges for DUI first offense. Whatever the outcome of the criminal case, Barrett’s family has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in connection to the accident. To find out more about wrongful death lawsuits arising from traffic accidents, contact a Columbia car accident lawyer.
What Happens When the Driver in a Fatal Accident Refuses to Provide Evidence?
If Barrett’s family sues Lyon for wrongful death, several important legal issues could affect the outcome of the case. First if the concept of comparative negligence. This means that, if the accident was partially the plaintiff’s fault, the plaintiff can still collect damages, but the court reduces the amount of damages awarded proportionally to the plaintiff’s role in contributing to the accident. Barrett attempted to cross the road where there was no crosswalk, even though a crosswalk was within walking distance; the court may use this fact as a factor in determining a damages award.
Another factor in this case could be the criminal charges against Lyon. If he is convicted, then this would mean a guaranteed ruling in favor of the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit. The fact that Lyon did not consent to a breath test or urine test will make it harder to prove in criminal court that he was under the influence of alcohol or cannabis. Even if he is not convicted in criminal court, the plaintiffs can still win a civil case against him. In a wrongful death lawsuit, you do not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant caused the accident; you must only show a preponderance of the evidence. A judge could reasonably consider Lyon’s refusal to take a breath test or urine test as a preponderance of evidence that he was driving while drunk and high on cannabis.
Let Us Help You Today
The personal injury lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you if you suffered serious injuries in an accident where cannabis was a contributing factor. Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.