Following the limousine accident which left 4 Long Island women dead, investigators are contemplating upgrading the charges against Steven Romeo; the driver of the pickup truck that struck the limo. Mr. Romeo initially ran from the scene of the accident and jumped a nearby fence before being apprehended by police and being charged with a misdemeanor DWI.
While the initial charge leveled against Mr. Romeo was a DWI, there are indications that further charges could be coming. Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota stated “This is a very, very ongoing investigation” according to ABC News. At the moment, however, it is unclear what the upgraded charges would be. Before leaving the scene of the accident and jumping the fence, Romeo spoke briefly with police. As a result, it’s unclear if he could be charged with fleeing the scene. “There’s a lot of variables to that…Whether he fits within the absolute definition of leaving the scene, at this point it is unclear” said Spota. Regardless of whether Mr. Romeo’s charges are upgraded, there remain many other legal issues at stake in this tragic accident.
Due to the fact that Mr. Romeo was driving under the influence of alcohol, he failed to use reasonable care while operating his vehicle. In New York, the failure to adhere to a reasonable standard of care constitutes negligence. As a result the two women and limo driver injured in the accident may have grounds to file an auto accident lawsuit against Mr. Romeo. In a lawsuit, the injured driver and passengers would be able to recoup compensation for any damages they suffered in the accident, including but not limited to:
- Medical Bills
- Lost wages due to injury
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and Suffering
In addition to the potential personal injury claims that could be leveled against Mr. Romeo, the families of the deceased women may have grounds to file a lawsuit for wrongful death against Mr. Romeo. In a wrongful death case a family typically can recover compensation for lost wages, medical bills, loss of parental guidance, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, in this instance, due to how young the women in the accident were, the amount of compensation available to their families is not likely to be high. Unlike some states, New York’s laws do not allow families to recover compensation for emotional distress unless they were within the “zone of danger” at the time of the accident. Our firm believes that the law regarding emotional distress in New York is antiquated. As a result we send our attorneys to Albany each year to try and convince the legislature to change the law and better protect the victims of tragedies such as this accident.