It can be surprising at times to see how a tree can win out over a car. In a fatal car accident in the Bronx on April 29, a 26-year-old woman who was a passenger in a 2004 Honda died after the vehicle she occupied collided with a tree. In photos posted with the news article the car appears mangled into an unidentifiable collage of steel, but the tree appears to be largely undamaged. New York authorities say that the vehicle flipped over, hit a parked car and then careened into the tree.
The driver allegedly was traveling west on Pelham Parkway when he lost control near Fish Ave. He suffered head trauma but is recuperating in stable condition at the Jacobi Medical Center. Police report that speed was a factor in the accident. They said nothing about criminal charges, but that is always a possibility under these facts.
The decedent's family is entitled to bring an action for wrongful death damages against the driver of the car. It's a virtual certainty that the driver was negligent in losing control of the vehicle and allowing it to overturn and crash. The only exception to a finding of negligence would be if the car lost its power or suffered some other severe mechanical defect while it was accelerating. That is a rare occurrence and should not be presumed unless there is evidence that stands out to indicate it.
It's unknown whether alcohol or drugs were a factor in causing the driver to lose control. If so, the consequences for him will involve criminal action pursuant to New York law. For the decedent and her family, it will suggest additional evidence of tortious actions by the driver that may hold him financially liable to the estate regarding this fatal car accident. In most instances, the family will consult with a personal injury attorney, who will send notification to the driver that a claim is being pursued against him.
Source: NY Daily News, "Bronx woman dies after car flips over, hits tree", Rocco Parascandola, April 29, 2014