Every year, far too many drunk drivers cause deadly accidents on New York roads. While they often only harm themselves and their passengers – they still frequently hurt and kill others. Back in December of 2015, CBS News published an online story about a drunk young man who killed his passenger. Just before he hit a parked school bus, Kyung Song, was speeding down a street in Queens after leaving a bar,
While Song survived the deadly accident, his passenger in her 20s died. Residents in the area who went outside to view the collision said it was very traumatic to see the young girl’s body being pulled from the wreckage. There’s a strong chance that Song’s inebriated state was obvious prior to leaving the bar since his blood-alcohol content measured 0.176 (twice the legal limit). Bar employees were surely questioned about why they didn’t stop serving Song more drinks long before he left their premises.
Subrogation Claims Often Filed Against Bars – Under the NY Dram Shop Act
While insurance companies like Song’s are primarily liable for all damages, subrogation lawsuits are almost always filed against bars — for not cutting off the drivers’ drinks long before they left. (A subrogation claim seeks to hold a third party liable for all or part of the damages after fault has been legally proven to the court’s satisfaction).
How Dram Shop Acts Can Improve Everyone’s Safety
While bar owners make some of their biggest profits from serving their regular customers, Dram Shop Acts have helped remind them that they can’t afford to stay in business if they fail to refuse additional drinks to patrons who appear drunk. In other words, it’s in their best interests to obey New York’s Dram Shop Act so their patrons can get home safely and avoid endangering others once they leave. Of course, many lawsuits hinge on whether or not there were clear signs that a specific patron had become so visibly intoxicated that the bar or restaurant had a duty to “cut-off” the person’s liquor. Studies have shown that once Dram Shop Acts are passed in many states, drunk driving accidents clearly decrease.
Behaviors Common to Those Who Leave Bars Drunk
The accident involving Mr. Song is quite illustrative of the many impaired thinking issues and choices that drunk drivers often make. For example, while he told the police that he was barely traveling over the speed limit when he struck the parked school bus – the police investigation clearly showed there were no skid marks behind the bus.
Song’s excessive speed was also obvious because the roof of his Porsche was sheared off and the passenger side of the vehicle was fully caved in. Song did admit to police that his passenger had asked him to slow down right before the accident. Reaction time is always poor when people are drunk – and they’re far more likely to speed and ignore posted speed limit and other traffic signs.
While Mr. Song had a potentially promising pharmacy career ahead of him – it’s likely that he is paying a high price for this deadly behavior. Bail was set very high and the young man was put on suicide watch because he said he was very distraught once he realized that his passenger was dead or dying.
If you or someone close to you has been hit by a drunk driver who may have just left a bar or restaurant, be sure to mention that added fact to your New York personal injury attorney.