A 16-year-old teenager is dead after his friend apparently drove down an embankment and wound up directly in the path of an oncoming car.
The wreck happened on Highway 81 near the Route 481 interchange in Cicero, New York. Sean Jewett, of Whitesboro NY, was in the front passenger seat when 16-year-old Kameron Evans, for reasons that are still unknown, reportedly drove off the shoulder and through a median. The car overturned on the southbound side of the highway and was subsequently hit by an oncoming Saab SUV. The force of the collision then propelled the overturned Scion into a Ford van.
Several people tried to help Jewett, who was partially ejected from the Scion, but he was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
51-year-old Robert Gardner, of West Monroe, was one of the other drivers involved in the auto accident. He sustained serious injuries in the crash.
Third-Party Liability in NY Car Crash Cases
Persons under 18 cannot legally own property, so when a young driver causes a car crash, negligent entrustment nearly always applies. Negligent entrustment also applies in other cases, such as when someone (let’s call him Oscar Owner) allows another person (let’s call her Theresa Tortfeasor) to use his car to go to the supermarket. In this example, Oscar’s and Theresa’s ages are immaterial because Oscar has negligently entrusted Theresa with his vehicle. Third-party liability theories like this are very important in such cases because the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is often either uninsured or under-insured.
Under the theory of negligent entrustment, a vehicle owner is legally responsible for the damages that a third-party tortfeasor causes if the following conditions are met:
- Agreed Use: In the above example, if Theresa had taken Oscar’s car without his knowledge or permission, Oscar would probably not be liable for damages resulting from a car crash.
- Incompetent Driver: Persons without valid licenses are typically presumed to be incompetent. Incompetency can also come from a bad driving record or the driving conditions because a driver may operate a vehicle just fine in the daytime and in clear weather but should not necessarily be driving at night or in bad weather.
- Knowledge: In most cases, the vehicle owner must have actual knowledge, so the plaintiff must introduce evidence that the owner knew about the incompetence or knew that the tortfeasor was a bad driver.
The victim must also prove that the tortfeasor was negligent and that the victim suffered economic and/or noneconomic damages, such as lost wages and emotional distress.
For prompt assistance with a negligence claim stemming from a car accident, contact an experienced Manhattan personal injury lawyer with Proner & Proner. Home and hospital visits are available.