What to do if I was sitting at a bar when a truck carrying 7 cars came down the hill, lost his brakes and crashed through the building I was in?

The bartender sitting next to me was killed. My husband and I suffered minor injuries. I’m seeking compensation for lost wages not covered, personal property damaged/lost and perhaps emotional distress. The tricking company most likely does not have adequate insurance to cover all loses. Who would be next in line as far as responsibility? City? There have been 3 other similar accidents in the same spot and nothing has been done to change.

Asked on July 8, 2014 under Personal Injury, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It is very difficult to recover emotional distress damages for a single accident, not involving malice or a deliberate attempt to harm or distress you, and where the person near you who was killed was not a family member. Speak with an attorney about the case--it may be that if all you have is some minor injuries, a small amount of lost wages, and presumably minor personal property damage, that you cannot recover enough money to justify the cost of a lawsuit.

If you do sue, you could also sue the driver personally, as well as his company. You *may*  be able to sue the city IF the road is unreasonably danagerous as laid out; the fact that there have been other accidents there does not necessaril prove that, since  the issue is whether the road as designed is unsafe, not whether there happen to have been accidents (since accidents occur on even the best roads). You would need some sort of highway/road/accident specialist to help you determine that, and you would have to factor the cost of that specialist into the economic calculation of whether a suit is worthwhile.

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