Each year, drunk driving accidents claim thousands of innocent lives, with pedestrians often falling victim to these devastating and preventable incidents. The tragedy of wrongful death caused by drunk driving is amplified by the fact that these accidents are entirely preventable. This article will delve into the specifics of drunk driver car-pedestrian accidents, examine the process of determining liability, and shed light on the pertinent statutes of limitations in New York.
The Reality of Drunk Driving
Drunk driving is a severe problem on our roads and a leading cause of vehicular accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018, 29% of motor vehicle traffic fatalities were caused by drunk driving. In high-traffic areas like New York, where there’s a high volume of pedestrians, these incidents often result in pedestrian fatalities.
Examples of Drunk Driver Car-Pedestrian Accidents
- Failure to Yield: Intoxicated drivers often fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections, leading to fatal accidents. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1146, drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Wrong-Way Driving: Drunk drivers frequently make grave errors such as driving in the wrong direction. This erratic behavior can result in deadly head-on collisions with pedestrians.
- Speeding: Alcohol can impair a driver’s judgment, making them more likely to speed and lose control, leading to severe pedestrian accidents.
Determining Liability in Drunk Driver Car-Pedestrian Accidents
To establish liability in drunk driver car-pedestrian wrongful death lawsuits, the plaintiff must prove negligence on the part of the driver. Under New York Civil Practice Law & Rules § 1411, New York operates under a “pure comparative negligence” rule. This rule stipulates that an injured party can still recover damages even if they’re partly to blame for the accident. However, their recovery is reduced by their percentage of fault.
For instance, if a pedestrian was crossing against the light, but the driver was drunk, the court might find both parties partially at fault. If the court determines the pedestrian is 20% at fault, and the driver is 80% at fault, any damages awarded to the pedestrian’s family would be reduced by 20%.
To demonstrate negligence, it must be shown that:
- Duty of Care: The driver had a duty of care to the pedestrian, i.e., to operate their vehicle safely and lawfully.
- Breach: The driver breached this duty by driving while intoxicated.
- Causation: The driver’s breach directly resulted in the accident.
- Damages: The pedestrian suffered fatal injuries because of the accident.
Evidence can include witness statements, traffic surveillance videos, police reports, BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) tests, and more.
Statutes of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in New York
According to New York Estates, Powers, & Trusts Law § 5-4.1, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the person’s death. This timeframe is significantly shorter than many other personal injury cases in New York, which typically have a three-year statute of limitations. Therefore, it’s vital to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible following the accident to protect your right to legal recourse.
Drunk driver car-pedestrian wrongful death lawsuits are complex, often involving the challenging process of demonstrating negligence, determining liability, and operating within strict statutes of limitations. For those grappling with the loss of a loved one due to such an accident, legal guidance from our New York Personal Injury Attorneys can be invaluable in navigating this difficult path to justice.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW
Parker Waichman LLP helps families recover monetary compensation for harm caused by drunk drivers. For your free consultation, contact our Wrongful Death Lawsuit Law Firm in New York today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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