On August 31st, 2016, three people tragically lost their lives in a chain-reaction accident that involved six cars, just ten days after a separate crash had killed six others on the same highway – the Long Island Expressway.
A Tragic Night
It was around 4 a.m. when the first portion of the accident began a chain reaction which only took a few second to occur but left a trail of massive destruction. The driver, a 24-year-old man who was behind the wheel of a black Infiniti, was driving at high speeds when his car struck a divider. The force of the impact actually sheared the car in half. A portion of the split vehicle continued moving and hit an Acura, causing serious damage to the car. The driver and two of the passengers in the backseat of the car that hit the divider were killed instantly when they were thrown from the car and the other two passengers were rushed to the local hospital with critical injuries.
Drivers behind these two vehicles were initially able to come to a complete stop, however, a dump truck traveling at high speeds was not. It then plowed into several other cars, injuring both drivers and passengers inside. The accident was so intense that local residents in the housing behind the highway heard the crash and called 911 without even looking to see if help was needed because the sound was so loud.
The crash caused a backup for miles and took crews nearly four hours to clear. Ambulances took the injured to nearby hospitals for treatment. Police who investigated the cause of the accident believe that the driver of the Infiniti and the Acura may have been involved in a high-speed race. They estimated that the cars were traveling at around 100 mph.
Who Is Responsible?
When it comes to insurance, New York follows a “no-fault” system which means that each driver will turn to their own personal insurance for coverage of any losses sustained due to the accident, regardless of who was at fault. There is one time when the victim of an accident can go outside of this system – if a serious injury occurs. Then, a car accident lawsuit can be filed.
In New York, a serious injury occurs when the accident results in “death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement, a fracture, loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ, member, function, or system;”
In this case, there may be multiple drivers that are considered at fault. First, the driver of the Infiniti whose accident began the chain reaction. Also, it is possible that the driver of the dump truck could be held liable for hitting the cars that had stopped.
Can You File A Lawsuit Against Someone Who Died?
While the process of moving forward with a claim may be a bit more complicated, it is possible to pursue legal action if the person at fault has died. In car accident cases, a complaint may be filed against the deceased’s insurance policy or the estate of the deceased.
The estate is the property that the deceased person left behind. It is possible that a portion of this property may be used to compensate a victim for their losses.
Why You Need A Car Accident Lawyer
When you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, a lawyer can help you by:
- obtaining evidence that will help your case
- organize and review medical records
- communicate with insurance companies on your behalf
- negotiate a settlement
- represent you and present evidence at trial
These are all time-consuming activities and frequently require in-depth knowledge of the law. The last thing any car accident victim needs to be worrying about is figuring out how to legally file a claim and researching the law.