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Deadly New York Limo Accident Leads To Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The family of a woman killed in an Albany limousine crash has filed a new lawsuit against the New York State government, arguing that the intersection where the crash took place was unsafe and poorly designed, CBS Local reports.

A common question associated with a tragic accident such as this story is: "How do I choose a wrongful death lawyer?" Read more to get your questions answered. 

Lawsuits Filed Over Deadly Limousine Crash

A notice of claim filed against New York State's transportation and motor vehicle departments on Monday, December 10, 2018 also accuses state officials of allowing an unsafe limo to remain on the road. The limo had failed at least two previous inspections.

Car Keys

State officials have denied the claims, saying they acted appropriately under the circumstances. The lawsuit is being filed by the family of Amanda Rivenburg, one of 18 passengers killed when the limo blew through a stop sign and sped into an intersection outside of Albany on October 6, 2018.

Worst Accident Since 2009

The accident, which also claimed the lives of two pedestrians, has been ranked as the worst in America since 2009. The group was on their way to a brewery at the time. They had gathered to celebrate the 30th birthday of Amanda "Amy" Halse, piling into a 2001 Ford Excursion limousine owned and operated by Prestige Limo, an Albany-area company run by Nauman Hussain and owned by Hussain's father, Shahed Hussain.

Hussain, 28, now faces charges of criminally negligent homicide for his role in the crash. State officials have learned that the Ford Excursion failed at least two inspections this year alone. "The sole responsibility for that motor vehicle being on the road on Saturday rests with Nauman Hussain," says Police Superintendent George Beach.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Limo Company

Alongside their planned lawsuit against state regulators, the Rivenburg family has also filed suit against Hussain and his father, arguing that the limo company's negligence led to a dangerous vehicle remaining on the road. Hussain's father was in Pakistan at the time of the accident.

Police nabbed Nauman Hussain in a traffic stop on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. Authorities say he had packed bags in his car, making him a flight risk, but defense attorneys argued that the young man was receiving death threats and needed to move out of his home. If convicted, Hussain faces up to four years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty and was released on $150,000 bail. Interestingly, his father was once an undercover informant for the FBI.

Limo Driver May Have Been Unlicensed

There is also evidence that the limousine driver, Scott Lisinicchia, may have been operating the limo without the proper license. Lisinicchia was stopped by a trooper in August in Saratoga Springs, and cited for driving 11 passengers in the same vehicle without a proper license for additional passengers.

The State Department of Transportation has confirmed that the limousine failed two state inspections, in March and September of this year. After the failed inspection in September, the Democrat and Chronicle reports, the state placed a sticker on the limousine to take the vehicle out of service. Yet Lisinicchia was still driving the limo on the night of October 6, when the driver ran a stop sign and raced into a parked SUV in Schoharie, New York.

State prosecutors argue that Nauman Hussain hired Scott Lisinicchia to drive a limo, despite knowing that he did not have the proper license. A criminal complaint against the limo company operator also claims that he knew or should have known that the Ford Excursion had mechanical deficiencies, including a problem with its brakes that would have made stopping difficult.

A defense attorney for Hussain says his client is innocent. The lawyer attempted to lay more of the responsibility at the feet of Hussain's father, Shahed Hussain, saying that Nauman had little to do with the day-to-day operations of Prestige Limo.

In a press statement, Prestige Limo said it had taken its fleet of limousines off the road. State regulators have seized at least three of the company's vehicles, in addition to the Ford Excursion involved in the crash.

Up next: Toyota Ordered To Pay $12 Million In Wrongful Death Case

After battling for five years, the family of a teenager who died in a car crash has finally obtained compensation for the death of their loved one.

Are you dealing with a similar wrongful death tragedy? Get the information you need here:

Teen Trapped In SUV For Two Hours

the front of a toyotaOn September 15th, 2012, a 17-year-old high school senior was driving down a straight road at 11 a.m. in the sunshine when the unexpected happened - the left rear axle snapped. This fracture caused the left rear wheel to detach and the SUV to roll. The roll caused the vehicle to hit a utility pole. She was seriously injured but may have survived with immediate medical treatment, however, she was trapped in the vehicle for two hours and died as a result.

In 2013, her family filed a lawsuit against Toyota, alleging that the company knew or should have known that the axles on the Toyota 4-Runner the teen was driving were prone to fracturing.

Why Should Toyota Have Known About A Possible Defect?

It can be very difficult to prove that a defendant should have known about something, however, by performing a careful investigation, the evidence can be discovered.

According to the plaintiffs, records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that there were 19 documented rear axle fractures in Toyota 4-Runners from 1987 - 2011 and eleven of those were the same generation as the vehicle being driven by the teen. In addition to this, a letter was submitted by a woman who had two Toyota 4-Runners over the years - both of which were involved in accidents when the rear axle snapped. According to her written testimony, she requested that Toyota investigate the matter to determine if other drivers had experienced the same issue.

After listening to both sides in court a jury determined that Toyota was at fault and awarded the loved ones of the deceased $12 million - $6 million for the conscious pain and suffering of the teen and $6 million for wrongful death.

If A Car Is Recalled Can Victims Still Sue?

Yes. It's important for all auto manufacturers to not only test their products for potential defects but to also keep records regarding any reports of product failures so that the people who purchase their vehicles are kept safe. For example, Ford recently issued a recall on all Fusions because of a steering wheel bolt issue which causes the steering wheel to detach while the driver is operating the vehicle.

Even if an issue has been recalled those who have been hurt by a defective automobile can still file a lawsuit. Just because a manufacturer acknowledges that an issue exists doesn't mean it prevents them from being liable.

How Do I Know If A Car Defect Caused My Accident?

There are many causes of car accidents, such as:

Often the cause of the accident is immediately clear but sometimes it isn't and an investigation needs to be performed, including a full examination of the vehicles involved. Typically this is when it is discovered that a defective part caused the crash.

You don't need to work through the investigation on your own. When you work with an attorney not only will they consult with auto industry experts about the findings of the exam but they will also search legal records to look for instances where others were hurt because of the same defect.

Why Should I Choose The Lawyers At Banville Law?

At Banville Law, we recognize how important it is to choose a lawyer that you feel comfortable with. We encourage you to speak with several law firms before choosing one.

If you decide that Banville Law best suits your needs, we will do everything we can to make the legal process an easy one for you. Our legal team will aggressively fight for the maximum compensation possible in your case and we will help you prepare for all possible outcomes. Contact us today to learn more.

Did you know the construction industry is the most dangerous in America? Read on:

Construction Worker Blocks Highway With Truck

At around 11:35 pm, a construction worker left a construction site in a truck that was hauling concrete barriers. tractor trailer involved in accidentThe driver pulled directly out into a highway, blocking all four lanes of traffic just as several other cars were traveling in the direction of the truck. The other drivers had no time to stop. The first vehicle, a Mitsubishi Lancer, struck the side of the truck and went underneath of it, shearing the top off of the car. The impact sent the car and truck a full quarter-mile down the road. The driver of the Mitsubishi was killed and his passenger seriously injured.

Immediately after the first collision a second one occurred with a 17-year-old driver also hitting the truck. She may have survived the initial collision, however, the concrete barriers on the truck came loose and crushed the driver and her car. She did not survive.

A second tractor-trailer also collided with the first one but the driver was not injured.

Police have since charged the driver of the first tractor-trailer with impeding traffic and for driving a vehicle with unsafe equipment. He was also named as the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of the man killed in the Mitsubishi along with his employer.

In need of a wrongful death lawyer? Read more here.

Jury Sides With Grieving Parents

The parents of the 29-year-old man who was killed alleged that the driver was negligent when he chose to pull out into oncoming traffic and block all of the lanes. They claimed that their child would be alive today if the driver had kept a proper lookout. In addition to this, they also alleged that his employer was responsible for his actions and so they too were at fault.

The case went to trial and the jury awarded the plaintiffs $45 million - $35 million to be paid by the construction company and $10 million to be paid by the driver.

Are All Wrongful Death Awards So Large?

No, not all awards are so large. When the plaintiffs in a wrongful death case are given compensation, that monetary amount is meant to compensate them for:

Generally, those who are allowed to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit include the parents of the deceased, the spouse, or their children if they have any. In some cases, if another party was dependant upon the deceased, they may also be eligible to file.

When Can I File?

As soon as it becomes clear that negligence has occurred, the plaintiffs may choose to pursue legal action. However, there are time limits known as the statute of limitations that prevent plaintiffs from pursuing legal action after a certain period of time has passed. This is why it's very important to contact an attorney as quickly as possible.

How Long Will The Legal Process Take?

There is no set time for the legal process. Some cases will take a few months while others may take more than a year. Collecting evidence, taking witness statements, and scheduling a day in court all take time. If a settlement agreement can be reached then the case will likely end sooner than if it goes to trial.

Should I Settle?

That decision is entirely up to you. There are benefits to settling - the case is resolved in a timely manner, the plaintiff knows exactly what kind of compensation they will be getting, and usually, compensation is received within 30 days. But an offer to settle may not be given by the defendant and even if an offer is made, it may not be enough. Our firm will present all of your options to you and discuss the benefits of accepting or denying the offer.

Read more crash-related accidents here:

The husband of a Brooklyn woman has filed a lawsuit with a wrongful death attorney after his wife died in the Coney Island Hospital E.R. He and his family are alleging that the hospital and staff were negligent and failed to treat his wife’s lethal infection.

A Failure To Diagnose

When the patient, a 47-year-old woman arrived in the E.R. last January, she appeared to be confused, was incoherent, screaming, and holding her head. Instead of having a doctor perform an exam, a nurse made the decision to treat her as an “emotionally disturbed” patient, believing that she was high on synthetic marijuana. She informed the patient’s husband that the symptoms were “exactly the same” as previous patients she had seen on the drug, even though he insisted in the 23 years they had lived together that she had never used an illegal drug. ER where hospital failed to treat a patient

The nurse proceeded to have her legs and arms restrained, administered an antipsychotic drug, and only did simple blood and urine tests.

Over the next ten hours, despite showing no signs of improvement, no other tests or treatments were ordered. The woman suffered five different heart attacks, appeared to have difficulty breathing, and then, to her husband’s horror, died.

The week prior to her death, the woman had been treated for flu-like symptoms and an ear infection. Although the coroner's report is not yet complete, it is believed that she died from meningitis that had reached her brain.

After filing the lawsuit, her grieving husband stated “They basically tied her up and killed her. She didn’t even see a doctor.”

State Investigation

The Health Department is investigating the death and has already issued six citations to the hospital for the violation of the federal code of patient's rights, specifically addressing the manner in which restraints were used, how her case progressed when she was admitted to the ER, and the policies in place in the ER for all patients.

What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Basically, a wrongful death lawsuit is the personal injury complaint that would have been filed by the deceased if they had survived, however, it is instead filed by the loved ones left behind.

There are several reasons a loved one may choose to pursue legal action. First, it can allow them to feel that justice was done and the party whose negligence resulted in a fatality is held responsible. Second, while money can never replace what is lost, it can help to ensure that they are kept financially safe. Through a successful verdict or settlement, the plaintiffs may gain compensation for:

In some cases, a jury or judge may award punitive damages.

What Are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are an additional monetary sum awarded to a plaintiff with the intention of making an example of or punishing the defendant. The hope is that by awarding an additional sum, the defendant, or others in a similar position, will be discouraged from behaving an a way that does not benefit society in the future.

I Think I Have A Case

If you believe that your loved one died due to someone else’s negligence, contact an attorney immediately. Our team offers a free consultation, during which we will go over every detail and determine if you have a claim. This may include a review of any witness statements, medical records, or any other evidence that you have preserved.

Remember, that wrongful death cases are NOT limited to situations where a medical professional failed to care for a patient properly. Our clients have filed after their loved ones were lost in car accidents, work accidents, construction accidents, and more. What is most important is that you contact us as soon as possible, as each case has a statute of limitations, and once a certain amount of time has passed, a claim can no longer be filed.

Visit our next article on another wrongful death case:

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), 796 construction workers died or were fatally injured on the job site in 2013. Long considered one of the nation's most dangerous industries, construction work was responsible for one of out every five deaths in the workplace.

Construction site

Losing a family member, a loved one, a spouse or a child is without a doubt life's most difficult challenge. The love, emotional support, and simple pleasures of living with those we have chosen are ripped from us. Sometimes this happens in an instant, in one traumatic accident, and sometimes the loss is felt over a long, painful period of time, as in cases of chronic occupational illness.

Can I Sue After My Loved One's Death?

In any case, the death of a loved one can leave us both emotionally and financially bereft.

In limited circumstances, New York State allows immediate family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit after fatal construction accidents. And while no amount of money can alleviate the trauma of a loved one's loss, recovering monetary damages may go some way to lay a stable foundation for this inner recovery to take place.

New York State is governed by a workers' compensation program, and most of the money offered to survivors of a deceased worker are paid out through insurance claims. In fact, workers comp restricts your ability to sue your loved one's employer, even if their negligence led to the fatal accident.

Wrongful death lawsuits, on the other hand, may be filed against "third-parties," architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and property owners - anyone not covered by the workers' comp insurance purchased directly by your loved one's employer.

But unlike many states, New York's progressive labor laws create several gaps in the protection from lawsuits that employers generally enjoy.

What's Different About Construction In New York?

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry and account for around 37% of all job site fatalities.

New York Labor Laws 240 and 241, commonly called the "Scaffold" or "Ladder" law, switch the burden of responsibility from workers comp and insurance carriers to employers in accidents involving scaffolding, ropes, pulleys, hoists, ladders, and other equipment that allows construction employees to work at elevation.

This law is controversial, and while some courts have interpreted it as placing "strict" or "absolute" liability on employers, others have not. If "strict" liability is in place, it is not necessary to prove that an employer was negligent to win a lawsuit. If not, it must be proved that the elevated structure was improperly designed, constructed, or maintained, and that defect led to your loved one's death. But in either case, lawsuits involving elevation on a construction site are generally viable in New York.

Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim?

In most states, wrongful death lawsuits are filed by survivors who can prove they had a significant relationship with the victim. In court, in formal legal terms, they act as representatives of the deceased's estate, and the lawsuit will be governed by a set of statutes known as the New York Estates, Powers and Trust Laws. These laws allow the estate's representative to claim "pecuniary losses" after the decedent's loss. "Pecuniary" simply means that the losses you claim must be translated into monetary terms.

But how is a "significant relationship" defined in New York State?

If no spouse, children, or grandchildren are able to file the claim, an adult decedent's parents may be able to, although this is regularly disputed in court. With an experienced lawyer, you may be able to argue this point, essentially proving that you were financially dependent on your loved one, and are now left at a disadvantage in the wake of their loss.

Statute Of Limitations

Surprisingly, the statute of limitations governing wrongful death claims in New York State is less, not more, lenient than others. You have exactly two years after the date of your loved one's fatal accident to file suit against the parties you believe responsible.

How Much Is A Wrongful Death Case Worth?

Before conducting a thorough investigation, it's impossible for us to tell you how much your case may be worth. But because wrongful death suits are covered by statutes that only recognize "pecuniary," or monetary losses, it's important to cover the types of damages you may be able to claim.

Construction Accident Wrongful Death Verdicts & Settlements

In the past, Banville Law's construction accident attorneys have recovered several large verdicts and settlements in wrongful death cases. Before reading, it's important to note that our past successes in no way guarantee results in your case.

We secured $5 million for the survivors of a contractor who died after falling four stories. Our wrongful death lawyers were able to prove that the worker was never afforded fall protection, and that their employer was thus liable under New York's Labor Laws 240 and 241.

In another case, we recovered $2.5 million for the family of an electrician who was fatally electrocuted. We proved that electrical switchgear malfunctioned, causing the accident, and held the negligent property owner accountable.

See a related story on an Investigation Launched At Hospital After Woman Dies In The ER.

Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: December 18, 2018
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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