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Deadly Traffic Crash Leads to Call for Change in Laws

February 19, 2016 Personal Injury

The death of a 30-year-old Brooklyn woman prompted a vigil in her memory and a rally arguing for stricter traffic laws to force drivers to exercise more caution.  The death occurred when the young woman was out shopping for Christmas on December 6.

A 39-year-old driver swerved as he drove on Fulton Street at around 5:30 PM on Sunday. He was reportedly trying to avoid hitting the car in front of him, but he hit the woman as she was walking on the sidewalk.  He killed her and injured both a man who was walking with her, as well as a 75-year-old woman who was on the sidewalk.

The man who hit the young woman was charged with driving without a license, as well as aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree (a misdemeanor).  The death prompted the victim’s family, as well as other safety advocates, to argue that there should be stricter penalties applied to traffic crimes and there should be renewed vigilance on road safety.

In cases involving tragic crashes like the one mentioned above, victims have the option to consult with a New York City personal injury law firm to seek compensation for wrongful death damages.  Pursuing a claim for civil liability can result in drivers being held financially accountable for causing crashes. Civil lawsuits can be a deterrent for future bad behavior and can allow family members of a deceased crash victim to be compensated for their losses.

New Calls for Road Safety

According to the New York Times, the young woman’s death in Brooklyn was the 20th fatality this year that occurred as a result of cars skidding onto the sidewalk. The crowd attending a vigil for the young woman, including Councilwoman Laurie A. Cumbo and Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley, denounced the fact that the driver who had swerved onto the sidewalk was faced with only misdemeanor charges. The victim’s mother said there was no excuse for the lenient charge because the driver’s actions had amounted to murder.

The director of Transportation Alternatives spoke out about the high number of fatalities that have occurred this year on sidewalks, indicating that all of these deaths have occurred in areas “where New Yorkers are supposed to be safe from traffic.”

Unfortunately, while Mayor Bill De Blasio has made traffic safety enforcement a priority, few people who kill pedestrians end up being prosecuted under new laws and many people who are prosecuted after a pedestrian dies face minimal charges like the man who caused this recent crash.

Pursuing a criminal case against a driver for causing a crash can be a challenge due to the fact that it can sometimes be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a driver violated serious criminal laws when an injury or a death occurred.  However, the standard of proof is lower in civil lawsuits for wrongful death than in criminal cases and victims and their families should speak with a New York City personal injury attorney to find out what options are available to them for pursuing a case for compensation for damages.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed as a result of an auto accident, contact Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff today to discuss your legal options.