When an intersection collision between two vehicles results in the death or serious personal injury of one or more participants, it is usually necessary to determine the percentage of fault that may be attributed to each driver. In New York and other states, the fault determination dictates if either party is legally responsible to compensate those who have been injured or killed in the fatal accident. In some cases, it may be necessary to use a forensic accident reconstruction expert to render an opinion on which driver was at fault, or to state the percentage of the comparative fault of each.
A recent fatal accident in Brooklyn may have to apply the foregoing process to determine fault and civil liability for death damages. The decedent was a 24-year-old driver of a Daily News delivery truck. As he passed through an intersection, a green cab hit the truck, knocking it on its side. The man was rushed to a local hospital but was declared dead by hospital personnel.
Instead of needing a full forensic reconstruction, liability may be easier to determine in this case because a video of the accident was taken by a motorist who had a camera on the dashboard of his car. According to him, the video shows the truck being hit by the green cab that had gone through a red light. It reportedly struck the truck with such force that it toppled the truck over.
The cab driver had only been driving for the company for two weeks. He challenged the findings of the video, saying he had the green light and the truck went through the red light. If the video is clear-cut and of good quality, the issue of fault in this fatal accident may be easy to decide. If it shows what its owner says it shows, then the estate of the deceased driver will prevail under New York law in a wrongful death claim for damages. If the video is not clear or of good quality, forensic evidence may yet have to be gathered and evaluated to determine which vehicle went through the red light.
Source: New York Daily News, "Daily News driver dies after green cab slams into his delivery truck in Brooklyn, police say", Edgar Sandoval, Caitlin Nolan and Ryan Sit, April 27, 2015