NY Man Accidentally Hits Ex-Girlfriend in Fatal DWI Accident

The New York Post reported on July 29th that a Long Island man was allegedly under psychiatric evaluation after running over his ex-girlfriend while supposedly driving under the influence.

Lawrence Pagano of Suffolk County, New York was driving drunk when Krystal Berkowitz, (21 years old) jumped out of his car because she was afraid Mr. Pagano was too inebriated to drive. A few moments later, Pagano tried to pull over and talk things out with her. Instead he accidently ran into her, causing fatal injuries.

Berkowitz suffered severe head trauma and Pagano called 911 and tried to help those who responded at the scene of the accident to save her life. Suffolk County detectives believe Berkowitz’s death was an accident. Pagano was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.

This tragic case certainly can sustain an action for wrongful death of the young woman. However, it will hinge if the accident was an intentional tort or unintentional tort. Liability and motor vehicle insurance carriers do defend and indemnify their insured’s acts of negligence or unintentional actions and torts. That would encompass and cover driving while intoxicated or impaired as although the driver was impaired, he did not intentionally cause the accident. In an event/accident, however, where a driver intentionally caused the accident (i.e.: getting angry at the ex-girlfriend and driving into her purposefully) an insurance carrier has the right to deny covering the loss and a potential lawsuit.

In the instant case, the police have charged the offending driver with DWI (driving while intoxicated) and not vehicular manslaughter. Although a very serious criminal charge, this will not allow the carrier to deny coverage and defense of a lawsuit brought by the decedent’s estate.

If you or any of your loved ones have been involved with accidents involving drivers charged with DWI or DUI (driving under influence) contact our The Law Firm of Steven I. Fried, PC immediately for a free consultation.