Authorities report that an accident in New York on July 26, 2009, killed eight people. According to police, the female driver of a red minivan drove southbound in the northbound lanes of the Taconic Parkway for nearly two miles before she collided head-on with an SUV that was traveling northbound.

The driver of the minivan died, along with her daughter and three nieces who in in the car with her. Her 5-year-old son survived. The male driver and two male passengers of the SUV were also killed. An autopsy later revealed that the driver of the minivan was intoxicated and had been smoking marijuana.

On July 30, 2014, it was announced that settlements were reached in four lawsuits brought against the estate of the minivan’s driver and her brother, the owner of the minivan. The lawsuits were brought by the surviving son and the estate of the deceased daughter of the minivan driver as well as by the estates of the men killed in the SUV.

When someone has lost a loved one in a car accident, attorneys rely on evidence from multiple sources in order to build a strong wrongful death or personal injury case. Evidence from the scene and eyewitness accounts yield important information, as do results of blood alcohol tests and field sobriety tests.

The driver of a vehicle can be deemed responsible for injuries or death resulting from an accident if it can be demonstrated that he or she was negligent in some form, such as from drug or alcohol impairment. The victims’ attorneys must demonstrate that the impaired driver was unable to safely monitor road and traffic conditions and to exercise due care while driving and that this negligence caused the accident.

Source: Times Union , “Settlements in 4 New York wrong-way crash lawsuits”, July 30, 2014