When a passenger is killed in an auto accident, it is reasonably certain that the decedent’s family will be able to pursue a wrongful death action for damages against one or more other parties. On May 4, a 9-year-old girl who was a passenger in a car was killed in a fatal accident in Brooklyn. The press reports do not indicate the details of this New York accident, other than to state that the car that the girl occupied was hit at an intersection by a Honda minivan.
The reports also indicate that the minivan struck another car at the intersection and that the driver of the minivan was taken into custody at the scene. This may indicate that the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, though nothing was reported on that score. Alternatively, it could mean that some other violation of the traffic laws that justified taking him into custody.
In any event, it seems that the police are attributing fault in the accident to the minivan driver. However, since this was a three-car crash, it’s also possible that one or more of the other cars was driven in a negligent manner and contributed to the accident. The second car that was struck by the minivan had two passengers who were injured and hospitalized, according to police reports. In total, news reports indicate five passengers who were taken to the hospital with injuries in addition to the decedent.
The family of the deceased child can bring a wrongful death action against any drivers who were apparently negligent in causing the fatal accident, as provided by New York law. The injured passengers can also bring personal injury claims against the driver or drivers deemed negligent. At this point, preliminary contacts will be made with insurance adjusters to begin the sometimes arduous procedure of trying to collect the damages that are legally available.
Source: poststar.com, “9-year-old girl killed in Brooklyn auto accident”, , May 4, 2014