Recent Taxi and Livery Cab Accidents Reveal Legal Issues #2
A terrible crash that killed a young couple and their unborn baby has highlighted a number of New York City traffic issues. The accident, which occurred in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, happened as the expectant parents were on their way to the hospital because the mother was not feeling well and feared the baby was not moving. Their livery cab was hit by the driver of a BMW who then fled the scene. The baby boy, who was delivered by emergency C-section after the crash, died the next day.
The driver of the BMW, a convicted felon, was reportedly speeding; according to witnesses, he may have been traveling at 60 miles per hour, twice the legal limit. After the accident, the driver fled to Pennsylvania. After turning himself in, he was brought back to Brooklyn, where he was charged with criminally negligent homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
The paperwork of the livery cab was not altogether in order, and the driver apparently should not have been sent to pick up passengers. However, he has not been charged with any criminal or traffic offenses.
New York State Makes It Harder to Convict Drivers
Whether the driver of the BMW will be convicted on either charge is uncertain, because New York judges have recently ruled that negligent drivers must be shown to have “moral blame” to be convicted of a crime. Whether or not he or the insurer of the BMW can be held liable in a civil lawsuit is another matter.
In another taxi crash story, a woman was struck and killed by a taxicab in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan. The taxi was rear-ended by the driver of a 2010 Honda who had pulled out of a parking space on Third Avenue and was attempting to merge into northbound traffic. The taxi driver lost control of the cab and mounted the sidewalk, pinning the female pedestrian against a lamppost. Neither driver is expected to face criminal charges.
New York City Steps Up Accident Investigations
The fact that there are no criminal charges even when someone dies in a taxicab accident has puzzled many. Of course, it still might be possible to begin a wrongful death claim – in this case against either the cabdriver or, more likely, the driver of the Honda. But until recently, the New York City police were reluctant to file charges.
Recently, the police commissioner announced the addition of more staff to the accident investigation squad so that nonfatal accidents would be investigated more consistently. As a result, criminal charges have been filed against a number of drivers who would not have been charged under the previous approach. This applies to accidents involving all types of motor vehicles, including taxis and livery cabs.
However, even though the city has stepped up its investigations into car accidents, the state has made it more difficult to make criminal charges stick, whether you are injured in a cab accident, while riding a bicycle or driving a private car. Each case is different, and even if you are denied the satisfaction of seeing someone who injured you or killed a loved one convicted of a crime, it still may be possible to obtain justice through the civil legal system. An injury attorney can advise you.