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Determining liability after Connecticut car accident


Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Sep 27, 2012 in Car Accidents

In the aftermath of a car accident, victims and their families are often left confused, hurt and looking for answers. Who is at fault for the crash? What factors contributed to the car accident? Could it have been prevented? With legal action and investigation, accident victims and their families can get the answers that they deserve.

People across Connecticut are likely aware of the devastating car accident that claimed the lives of four young Yale students in 2003. Many people believed that the cause of the accident was clear, but a recent court ruling confirmed that a less-obvious contributor to the tragedy can be held responsible.

The accident occurred early in the morning when five members of the fraternity were returning home from an event for the group's pledges. Road conditions were slick and the car crashed into a truck that had crossed the center line. Four of the five passengers in the car were killed.

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the fraternity of which the victims were members can be sued for negligence for their role in the accident. According to the complaint, fraternity leaders were negligent when they chose the young 20-year-old driver to transport members of the group home.

Reports suggest that the young driver hadn't slept for 20 hours before the accident because he was participating in "Hell Week." Fraternity leaders knew that the young man was sleep-deprived, yet they had him drive members back anyway.

The fraternity had no responsibility or duty to arrange for members to be transported home after the event. However, because they chose to assign members the task of driving, instead of calling for cabs or other car services, they assumed the duty of getting the fraternity members home safely, according to the recent ruling.

The fraternity joins the truck driver, the Connecticut Department of Transportation and two construction companies as parties who can be sued for negligence in connection to the accident.

The cause of a crash is not always easy to determine. Many times, it takes detailed investigations, accident reconstruction and legal action to correctly identify the contributing factors. When this is determined, victims and their families have the right to pursue compensation from negligent parties.

Source: ctpost.com, "Court: Fraternity can be sued in fatal Yale crash," Dave Collins, Sept. 19, 2012