04/27/2010 // New York, NY // Calano & Culhane // Thomas A. Culhane, Esq – New York City Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer
A recent article appeared in the Daily News relating to the recent multi death crash on the Taconic State Parkway. You may recall that at the time the motor vehicle was being operated by Diane Schuler. Diane Schuler, who died in the crash, is survived by her husband Daniel Schuler. Daniel Schuler lost his wife, daughter and three nieces in the crash. The families of the victims who lost their lives are weighing a wrongful death and pain and suffering lawsuit against Mr. Schuler and the Estate of Diane Schuler.
This case illustrates a number of legal issues that are important to bear in mind.
An individual who is charged with negligence in a lawsuit may be sued personally for the damages sustained by victims of that person’s negligence. If the person whose negligence caused the accident dies in the crash that person’s estate can be sued and will be responsible for damages to the victims of that negligence. New York State requires that owners of motor vehicles insure their vehicles. The amount of insurance ranges from the mandatory $25,000 per accident and again can go as high as the individual vehicle owner chooses to insure the vehicle for. In addition to insurance coverage, the victims of negligence can seek damages from the negligent party above and beyond the insurance coverage. These damages could include a claim for cash payments or the execution of any judgment against the assets of the negligent party.
In the Schuler case the victims of Diane Schuler’s negligence can seek the policy limits of the applicable insurance policy which covered the Schuler’s vehicle. They can also seek to execute any judgment against the personal assets owned by Diane Schuler at the time of the negligent act that resulted in the wrongful death lawsuit. This could include any cash assets, stocks and bonds and property. If Diane Schuler was a co-owner of the family home the value of her share of that home is an asset which can be reached by the families of the victims of her negligence.
In light of the potential exposure to substantial damage awards it is wise for all motorists to properly insure their motor vehicles to protect against such an eventuality. An appropriate amount of insurance coverage should be calculated and obtained for each vehicle in one’s home. In addition supplementary underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage can also be obtained to protect oneself from another’s failure to obtain adequate coverage. New York State requires a minimum amount of supplementary uninsured and underinsured coverage but each motorist should inquire as to the limit available of SUM coverage to properly protect their own loved ones. In addition motorists and/or home owners can purchase an umbrella policy to add another layer of coverage to protect themselves against a substantial jury verdict.
The New York City Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers at Calano & Culhane would be happy to discuss the need for adequate insurance coverage to protect oneself against the eventualities caused by a motor vehicle accident. Please call for a free consultation on this subject or any other legal issue including for which you seek answers.
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