A one-vehicle accident in New York can be the basis for a personal injury claim if there were passengers involved. Such accidents tend to include collisions with poles, trees or even buildings. One or more occupants may be ejected, either in a rollover or as the vehicle makes impact with a tree or other unyielding object. The event can easily become a fatal accident due to such perilous factors. Consequently, whenever there are one or more passengers in a vehicle that is driven so negligently that it leaves the roadway and crashes, the prospect for injury or death to the passengers looms large.
For example, there was recently a one-car accident on East Road in Bridgewater, according to the New York State Police. In that accident, the 29-year-old male passenger was killed and the driver, a 28-year-old male from Utica was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated. The driver was operating a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu northbound on East Road in Bridgewater. He lost control, exited the shoulder and struck a ditch, continuing until the car stopped in a field.
The passenger was ejected from the front passenger seat and pronounced dead at the scene. Sometimes, an ejection can land an occupant miraculously in a safe place with a cushioned fall. Far more often, however, an ejection from the vehicle means severe injury or death, making the use of seatbelts all the more important.
The New York State Police are continuing their investigation into this fatal accident. They have not yet, apparently, released any of the vital details regarding why the driver has been charged with drunk driving. The fact that there are criminal charges, however, does not relieve the driver of civil liability. Generally, in a civil claim for wrongful death damages where there is no liability question, the decedent's estate will demand the policy limits in return for a release. The decedent's estate must then look to its own underinsured motorists' coverage under the decedent's own auto policy.
Source: wktv.com, "One killed, one charged in Town of Bridgewater accident", , July 30, 2014