The gymnastic movement of vehicles through the air and over the ground are sometimes startling shows that are occasionally reminiscent of the most dramatic stock car collisions. There was one such horrific accident on Interstate 87 in Yonkers on July 3. A tiny red Honda Civic managed to flip upside-down and violently slide under a massive tractor trailer, where it was dragged for some distance and then remained stuck until its occupants and the upside-down car were dug out. The driver and two passengers survived the car accident but were taken to a New York hospital with what was described as very serious injuries.
It remains unclear at this time who caused the accident. The truck actually dragged the flipped car beneath its wheels for some time until it stopped. Rescuers then had to engage in a frantic effort to save the lives of the occupants. They reportedly pulled a small girl and two adults from the crumbled rubble.
The survival of the three is attributed largely to the fact that they all had their seat belts on, according to authorities on the scene. At this time there is no reason to believe that the truck driver caused the accident or was otherwise negligent. However, the final findings will have to await further investigations.
It appears at first blush that the Honda may have lost control, flipped and traveled under the unknowing tractor trailer. If that assessment turns out to be true, then New York law gives each of the injured passengers a claim for their damages against their driver. This is true even if the occupants of the vehicle are related. If the truck driver was partly or totally at fault in the accident, then the passengers may be entitled to claims against both drivers in the proportionate amount that each is responsible for causing the car accident. The car driver would also be entitled to pursue a claim under those circumstances, with any recovery reduced by his percentage of fault for the accident.
Source: CBS New York, “3 Hospitalized After Car Flips, Ends Up Under Semi On NYS Thruway“, July 3, 2015