Was it Beamer Benz or Bentley? Two out of three, apparently. And the question remains: when two alleged drunk drivers collide into each other, who picks up the check?
The casualties from the luxury car collision were severe, reports the New York Post. Besides the cost of the cars, which we'd guess is significant, there were eight people injured. Two were critically injured, two were seriously hurt, and four suffered only minor injuries.
Courtesy of Sonya Dissin via Gothamist
The answer to the posited question should be whomever was more at fault. Here in New York, the law of comparative negligence rules. This means fault is assigned percentages between the drivers. A person’s recovery for injury is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them.
Between two drunk drivers, let’s set the negligence at 50/50. Had one of them been speeding or ran a red light, that person would be more liable. At this point, all we know is that both were alleged to be drunk, according to the Gothamist.
That means Bentley driver’s recovery for his damages would be divided by half. His damages include his own medical expenses and the damage to his car.
BMW driver’s recovery is also divided by half.
Who gets the bigger slice of the pie? The guy with the more valuable car or more traumatic injuries?
What about the passengers? If they sue, can they recover from both drivers? Quite possibly. However, according to the Post, two of the passengers met their driver at a bar earlier that day. They were taking a free lift from a guy in a bar.
This is where common sense and assumption of risk come into play. The rule behind assumption of risk is that because the danger of the activity was so obvious, you knew what you were getting into. Therefore, you shouldn’t be able to benefit from your own stupidity by suing for damages. The passengers that rode with a drunk stranger from a bar would have their damages reduced or possibly even barred due to their lack of common sense.
Of course, this all changes if either driver is found to be sober, or if one of them is found to be at fault for the accident. Comparative fault is a sliding scale. A change in fault simply changes the percentage of recovery.
- Speak to a New York Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
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