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On Traffic Collisions Caused by Street Racing

According to a recent article in the Daily News, two people died and another person is injured after a deadly car crash that authorities believe may be related to street racing.

Witnesses say that a Mini Cooper was driving at speeds of around 90mph and appeared to be racing with another vehicle. The driver is said to have lost control, and the car hit a tree. The car split in half and exploded when it hit the tree.

Both the driver and front seat passenger were thrown from the vehicle during the crash. They were rushed to a local hospital. The driver was pronounced dead shortly after arriving, and the female front seat passenger is listed in critical condition.

Authorities also found a passenger in the back seat of the Mini Cooper who had been burned to death. All three occupants of the car were in their early 20s. As our Boston car accident attorneys know, street racing is extremely dangerous and results in a significant number of serious car accidents each year.

As our Boston traffic accident attorneys can explain, in a normal collision, plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to protect plaintiff and his or her property from harm that was foreseeable by a reasonable and prudent driver and breached that duty of care.

There is no question that drivers owe a duty of care to others who share the roads and sidewalks. A breach of that duty by not acting in a reasonable manner constitutes a negligent act. The next element that plaintiff must prove is that the breach caused damage to plaintiff. After establishing breach of a duty and causation, plaintiff must then establish the amount of damages to be awarded by a trier of fact, such as a jury.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, damages are generally limited to those necessary to compensate the plaintiff for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills, and, in cases were the victim dies, funeral expenses. However, street racing is an inherently dangerous and illegal activity. Anyone engaging in this conduct is acting with a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.

This does not mean that the driver must intend to harm anyone to be found liable for a willful and wanton breach of his or her duty of care. It is enough to be engaging in the potentially harmful conduct.

The reason this is important is because, when defendants engage in a willful and wanton breach of their duty of care, plaintiffs may be able to recover punitive damages at trial that are designed to punish defendants for taking such extreme risks involving the safety of others.

Another caveat that should be noted in street racing accident cases is that the conduct is not only a tort (civil wrong) but also a crime. If the at-fault driver is arrested in connection with the action and later pleads guilty or is found guilty at trial, it will be very difficult for his or her insurance carrier to deny liability on behalf of their insured driver. However, as the facts of every case are different, you should speak with your attorney about your particular situation.

If you are injured in an accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment: 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Two dead, one injured after Bronx car crash, September 13, 2014, 2014, Daily News

More Blog Entries:

Woman Run Over by Own Car at Massachusetts Hotel, June 26, 2014, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog