A New York DUI (driving under the influence) charge is a serious offense with high stakes punishments attached to it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that roughly 40 percent of all U.S. traffic deaths are alcohol-related to some degree.
A criminal defense attorney was slapped with aggravated vehicular homicide and manslaughter charges from a head-on crash in December that killed 22-year-old Diego Trejo in Bedford. Robert C. Schuster, 51, is accused of driving drunk after leaving a holiday party on the night of Dec. 16, when his 2018 BMW 750 crossed the double yellow line on Route 172 and slammed into a 2004 Acura TSX driven by Trejo. Schuster’s lawyer, Manhattan attorney Benjamin Brafman, insisted that his client was not responsible for the crash so should not be criminally liable for Trejo’s death. Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino said Schuster turned himself in and was arraigned via Skype on an indictment charging him with aggravated vehicular homicide, first-degree vehicular manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter, all felonies, and DWI and reckless driving, both misdemeanors.
New York is a “no fault” state meaning that legitimate claims can be paid out through the policy owner’s insurance, but when damages are high, or wrongful death is a result, victims can sue to prove fault when:
- The defendant acted negligently
- The negligent actions caused the victim’s death
- There is a surviving relative or relatives-likely a spouse, or children
- These surviving relatives have suffered financial damage as a result of the victim’s death
When DUI is the cause of an accident, it is best to consult with an experienced criminal attorney who can go over options for a defense strategy against criminal charges and civil suits for personal injury and wrongful death.
Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; funeral expenses, past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death, or serious injury caused by a drunk driver. Punitive damages may be sought after because of the egregious nature of drunk driving and personal assets will be attached for punitive damages in New York because insurance companies are not required to pay those types of damages.
Seek legal counsel in a timely manner.
New York has a 3 year statute of limitations to initiate a personal injury legal claim from the date of the accident, and a 2 year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. If you have been involved in a car accident caused by DUI near White Plains, contact an experienced lawyer at the Law Offices of Darren DeUrso who may be able to help you with insurance claims and wrongful death actions.
Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law
188 East Post Road, Suite 300
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: (914) 772-8614