Lever & Ecker, PLLC March 22, 2016 General
Recently, a series of unfortunate events ultimately lead to a horrific accident – a 22-year-old woman was thrown off of an overpass by a vehicle and fell 30 feet.
The chain reaction, which lead to the victim being taken to the hospital in critical condition, began at about 5 a.m. when her friend, another 22-year-old woman named Samantha Maloney, crashed her car on the Whitestone Expressway. The police later determined that Maloney was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Instead of calling the police for assistance, Maloney contacted her friend Victoria Garrat for help. Garrat came to her aid and while the two were deciding what they should do, an off-duty EMT pulled over to assist them. He pulled his car in front of the damaged vehicle and left it at an angle. The EMT decided it was in the women’s best interests to call for help.
While the three were waiting for help to arrive, an off-duty police officer was unable to swerve in time and struck the EMT’s angled vehicle. The force of the impact caused one of the cars to strike Garrat, which sent her flying over the overpass to the ground almost 30 feet below.
Garrat is in critical condition at a local hospital and one source said that there is a possibility that, if she survives, she will be paralyzed. The EMT who was waiting with the girls was also injured. He suffered a broken arm.
The off-duty police officer was not injured and agreed to take a breathalyzer test, which showed that he was not driving under the influence. He has had no charges filed against him.
The initial driver, Maloney, was taken to the hospital after refusing to take a breathalyzer test. Four hours later, her blood test revealed that she was well over the legal limit. She has been charged with a DUI. If convicted, she faces fines, up to one year in jail, and a suspended or revoked license.
She may also face reckless endangerment charges since her actions lead to her friend being seriously injured.
Even though the off-duty police officer is not facing criminal charges, he is still technically at-
fault for hitting the parked vehicles, which ultimately caused Garrat’s injuries. It is likely that her medical expenses will be paid through his insurance, at least until the policy limits are met. Given the extent of her injuries, it is possible that her medical bills will be much larger than the coverage that is provided by an insurance policy.
It is possible that she may decide to pursue legal action against either the officer who hit the car or her friend, whose actions lead to the chain reaction.
While some might argue that it wasn’t necessary for Garrat to be on the road in the first place, it is unlikely that she could be considered at-fault for coming to help her friend.
However, even if it determined that she is partially at-fault, the state of New York allows for recovery through comparative negligence. This means that a plaintiff may still be allowed to obtain compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, no matter how much of the accident was their fault. Their compensation, however, will be reduced by a percentage which represents how much of the accident they caused.
New York has a list of rules which gives the statute of limitations for a personal injury accident. For car accidents, the victims have three years to pursue legal action against the person whose negligence resulted in their injury.