One person is dead following a high speed, head-on crash between a pickup truck and a New York State Police SUV.
66-year-old John Roote, of Morris, was towing a utility trailer when he crossed the center line of Route 17 in Kirkwood. He wound up directly in the path of 55-year-old Steven Meyer, a 33-year veteran of the NYSP. According to investigators, Trooper Meyer made several evasive maneuvers, but was unable to avoid Mr. Roote, who suffered massive internal injuries and was declared dead at the scene. First responders had to use the Jaws of Life to free Trooper Meyer, who sustained multiple injuries but is expected to survive.
The road was closed for eight hours while investigators searched for clues and cleanup crews disposed of the wreckage.
Most of these wrecks occur on rural, two-lane freeways, like the ones that crisscross much of upstate New York. Since there is little or no need to slow down or stop, many drivers experience highway hypnosis. This is the same condition that affected a MetroNorth train conductor shortly before a December 2013 derailment killed four people and injured 63. Highway hypnosis is characterized by slower brain activity that is much akin to sleeping.
Since the brain sends fewer messages to the muscles, there is an increased reaction time, and drivers who wander over the center line may not realize what has happened until it is too late.
To prevent highway hypnosis, drivers should take breaks at least once every 90 minutes, whether or not they feel tired. Furthermore, experts say that turning on the radio – a common trick – might actually make the condition worse.
Damages in Car Crash Cases
The Empire State is one of thirteen no-fault jurisdictions (twelve states and Puerto Rico). In New York, victims in non-serious “fender bender” crashes may file claims against their own insurance companies for their economic losses, like medical bills and property damage. Serious injury victims, however, are also entitled to compensation for their noneconomic losses.
For example, many crash victims suffer broken bones; they are unable to walk at all for several weeks, and for several months thereafter, they must undergo extensive physical therapy and move only with mechanical assistance from a pair of crutches or a wheelchair. If the pain and lack of mobility limits everyday functions for at least 90 days in the six months following the crash, the law classifies the injury as “serious.”
A few moments of inattention often cause serious or fatal injuries. For a free consultation with attorneys who stand up for victims, contact our office. We do not charge upfront legal fees in personal injury cases.
Vehicle On GCP Falls Apart And Injures Two
A tire flew off a westbound vehicle on the Grand Central Parkway, hopped over the guardrails, and hit a car on the eastbound side, seriously injuring both of its occupants.
Authorities are unsure what caused the wreck, but they do know that a 62-year-old man and a 63-year-old man, whose names were not released, were both rushed to an area hospital. There was at least one collateral wreck on the eastbound side, which kept traffic bumper-to-bumper for several hours. Witness Guy Benshetrit called the flying tire wreck “like the worst nightmare I’ve ever seen in my life” and “like something from the movies.”
No one else was injured in any of the GCP wrecks that afternoon.
An airborne tire is exactly the kind of eye-popping situation covered by the sudden emergency doctrine. When their insured drivers are at fault, insurance companies often try to expand this doctrine to include stalled cars, illegally-turning vehicles, and pedestrians who cross against the light. But in most cases, these events can be reasonably anticipated and thus do not qualify as “sudden emergencies” in the legal sense of that phrase.
To use this defense to reduce or deny damages to the injured plaintiff, the defendant must prove the following:
- Unexpected Emergency: A hood-fly up, tire blow-out, and serious product defect all fall into this category.
- Reasonable Reaction: Arguably, Tommy would not have been covered by the sudden emergency defense if he had hit that oncoming truck, because instead of reasonably pulling over to the right, he recklessly crossed the center line.
Technically, the defendant need only establish the sudden emergency defense by a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not. But in order to set up the defense by instructing the jury in this area, many judges may require a bit more proof.
Damages in a serious car crash case include compensation for both economic losses, like property damage, and noneconomic losses, like loss of consortium. Punitive damages may also be available, in some cases.
For prompt assistance with a car crash claim, contact the aggressive Manhattan personal injury attorneys at Proner & Proner. You have a limited amount of time to act.