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Cabbie tries avoiding wrongful death suit

Regardless of the seriousness of the underlying charges, technical rules can potentially prevent a lawsuit from proceeding through New York courts. A cabdriver accused of running over a 9-year-old boy in an Upper West Side crosswalk, for example, has sought a delay because he claimed that he was not properly served with the court cases in the parents’ wrongful death action.

The taxi driver was charged with colliding with the boy and his father in January 2014 as he was making a left-hand turn on 97th Street and West End Avenue. The father was filmed watching his son die after the vehicle accident. They were coming home from dinner before they were struck.

Lax traffic laws, according to victim-rights advocates, allowed the driver to receive a summons, pay a $500 fine and avoid any criminal action. This led to the passage of Cooper’s Law, which empowers the City’sTaxi and Limousine Commission to suspend a driver’s hack’s license for committing a safety violation in an accident involving a fatality or serious injury.

The driver’s license is currently suspended. However, a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing will be held in June to determine whether he committed any Vehicle Traffic Law violations or was grossly negligent in the operation of his taxi in a manner warranting the revocation or suspension of his license. The victim’s father will testify at the DMV’s proceeding because he witnessed the crash.

The Manhattan Supreme Court judge presiding over the wrongful death suit will rule on the improper service allegations filed by the taxi driver. The parents’ attorney said that the cab driver and the other defendant, the cabbie’s employer, were properly served.

The victim’s mother expects any award to be capped at $50,000 because of insurance limits. She said that the suit was filed to hold the driver accountable for his reckless behavior.

Families who lose a loved one in a fatal accident because of another person’s negligence or recklessness should seek prompt legal assistance to help assure that they can hold parties liable for damages and that judicial rules are not violated in their quest to obtain just compensation. Legal representation can help parties comply with procedural rules and obtain evidence to prove their case.

Source: New York Post, “Cabbie who killed boy claims logistic error to dodge lawsuit,” Julia Marsh, May 26, 2015