Racing Dollar Van Kills Pedestrian – Why it’s a Wrongful Death

A speeding dollar van killed a pedestrian in a hit-and-run accident in Brooklyn Thursday night. Eyewitnesses claim that two vans appeared to be racing on Flatbush Avenue shortly before midnight when one of the vehicles struck a 40-year-old man, throwing him underneath another car. The van struck two other cars and a taxi before the driver exited the vehicle, got into the vanit appeared to be racing and fled the scene. When police arrived at the scene, the victim was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead on arrival. A spokesman for the New York Police Department said that three other people were injured. Police arrested the driver and charges are pending.

This type of accident is called a “wrongful death” case. Technically, wrongful death occurs when an individual or group commits a willfully negligent act and kills another person. Wrongful deaths may be accidental, but they are avoidable, too. Because of this, the family of the victim has the right to take legal action against the group or person responsible for the death of their loved one and file a wrongful death claim to collect financial compensation for their losses. Wrongful death statues were originally written to protect widows and orphans who could no longer provide for themselves when the person responsible for their financial support suddenly died. The amount of damages collected by the family varies and is determined by the following variables:

  • Damages based on economic losses. The family of the deceased may be able to collect compensation for money that the decease would have earned in the future. For instance, if the man killed in Brooklyn was responsible for the financial security of his wife and children, they may be able to collect damages for their lost income.
  • Damages for lost consortium and guidance. Consortium refers to the legal right to companionship shared by husbands and wives. Children may suffer lost parental guidance and parental support. Although finances cannot replace lost support and friendship, the family of a wrongful death victim is entitled to money for these losses as well.
  • Damages for pain, suffering and fear of imminent harm. Pain, suffering and fear of harm refer to any physical pain or emotional trauma suffered by the victim prior to death. These damages may be awarded even if the victim died instantaneously.

Wrongful death cases can be extremely complex. According to witnesses, the pedestrian stepped into the street from behind two parked vehicles – a notoriously dangerous practice on Flatbush Avenue. One resident said, “You got to just look up and down and hope that nothing passes.” Although the driver probably didn’t intend on hitting the pedestrian, the Flatbush Avenue resident also said that dollar vans race up and down the street on a regular basis.