This Central New York car accident attorney must once again report a tragic car crash in the area. As usual, I will report the facts, and then discuss the legal ramifications.
Here’s what happened: According to the Geneva Finger Lakes Times, a three-vehicle crash ocurred across from Seneca Lake State Park on Routes 5/20 in Geneva Saturday night around 9:00 p.m. Richard Riley, of Waterloo, New York, was pronounced dead at the scene. Riley had been driving the wrong way in the westbound lanes of Routes 5/20 when his car struck a westbound SUV driven by Frederick Cierei of Waterloo, which SUV was then rear-ended by another westbound vehicle driven by Kimberly Lorenz of Waterloo. An autopsy performed at Geneva General Hospital showed that Riley’s blood-alcohol content was more than twice the DWI threshold. Cieri, who had been trapped in his vehicle, had to be extricated by personnel from Border City and Geneva Fire Departments. Cieri was brought to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for treatment of a broken leg. Cieri apparently had two passengers who were also injured. We have no reports regarding injuries suffered by Lorenz.
This car crash had to be horrendous for all involved, and a double tragedy for Riley’s family, who has to come to grips not only with his death, but with the knowledge that their family member caused the injury of several innocent people by deciding to drink and drive. Unfortunately for Riley’s family, the legal ramifications of his actions will not end with his death. Riley will clearly be found at fault for having been driving intoxicated and having been heading the wrong way against traffic. Ms. Lorenz and the Cieri’s, all innocent victims, will have personal injury claims against Mr. Riley’s estate for any “serious injuries” they have suffered, as well as for any excess economic loss. While Riley’s personal auto insurance will certainly cover those claims, his insurance policy limits might be inadequate to cover all the pain, suffering and excess economic loss of the injured victims. In that case, the injured victims’ car accident lawyers, may decide to pursue the assets of Mr. Riley’s estate. If they are competent and thorough motor vehicle injury lawyers, they will also want to check the victims’ own auto insurance for possible “SUM” (supplemental underinsured motorist) coverage. Please see my prior blog post for a full discussion of SUM coverage, and how to check for it.
Readers, please have a safe holdiay season. Don’t drink and drive.