Being a passenger in a vehicle is essentially putting one's life in the hands of another. Subsequently, driving a vehicle with passengers is taking on the legal responsibility for the lives of those passengers. When a driver acts negligently or ignores the law, putting the lives of others at risk, those passengers may have legal options to pursue against that driver. If a fatal accident occurs due to driver negligence or blatant disregard for the law, the family left behind may also have cause to pursue civil action in a New York court in addition to any criminal consequences that driver may face.
Recently in New York, an accident occurred and initial reports indicate that the driver was impaired at the time of the accident. The incident unfolded on a Sunday morning as a 19-year-old man lost control of his vehicle. He was trying to navigate an exit ramp and flipped the car.
A 19-year-old female passenger died from injuries despite efforts from emergency responders at the scene. Also, three other passengers sustained injuries in the car accident, although those injuries were reported to be minor. The driver was charged with vehicular assault, reckless endangerment, DWI and vehicular manslaughter.
If found guilty of the charges against him, the driver in this fatal accident may face serious consequences. He may also face civil action in a New York civil court if the family of the deceased passenger chooses to pursue a wrongful death suit. While certainly a challenging time for any family, understanding their rights may be a beneficial way to begin the process of moving forward after a fatal accident.
Source: New York Daily News, "Woman, 19, dies after being thrown from drunken driver's car in Brooklyn crash", Joseph Stepansky and Ryan Sit, Nov. 9, 2015