When you are injured because of the actions of another person, you may not know what you are entitled to. This is why it is so important to have the guidance of an experience New York injury attorney to help guide you in your New York personal injury case.
As we go about our daily lives, we all have a duty to conform to a reasonable standard of care. This requirement helps protect us from people behaving negligently and causing us to suffer personal injury.
Gushlaw v. Miller is a case that arose because of the question of what kind of duty a person owes to third parties. This was where two adults who were under the legal drinking age decided to get in the car and navigate the roadways.
Joseph Clukey (Clukey) and Matthew Milner (Milner) were nineteen and twenty respectively. They had met to travel to a party at a hotel in Rhode Island. After purchasing a case of beer illegally, it was decided the Clukey would drive the forty five minutes to the hotel. Upon arriving both of the men began to drink heavily. They each consumed approximately seven or eight beers each, and began to become “loud and obnoxious.”
The hostess of the hotel party, who was not yet at the age of adulthood, became frustrated with the intoxication of the two men and asked them to leave. Milner objected to either of the men driving, as both were extremely intoxicated. Milner only lived three blocks away from the hotel party. However, Clukey decided he would drive the two men back to the convenience store where Milner had left his vehicle. This would enable Milner to then drive his car back home.
The issue in this case was not Clukey driving while intoxicated, although that is illegal. The issue arose because Clukey knew that Milner was also intoxicated and still drove him to get in his car to drive home.
Several hours after Clukey left Milner in the parking lot, Milner was driving home drunk at excessive speeds. Milner drove through an intersection and crossed the center line, causing him to collide head-on with the vehicle driven by Eldrick Johnson (Johnson). Both Milner and Johnson died from injuries sustained in this motor vehicle accident.
Johnson left his widow and four minor children. His widow (plaintiff) brought this lawsuit against Milner, Milner’s father, Allstate Insurance, and subsequently added Clukey. Plaintiff argued that Clukey knew or should have known that Milner was intoxicated and unfit to drive a motor-vehicle; and because he had this knowledge he owed a duty to exercise reasonable care to all persons using the public highway. This argument was based on a theory that Clukey had breached his duty to all persons on the highway by allowing Milner to drive drunk; and that this breach caused the plaintiff’s husband to die.
Clukey countered the plaintiff’s argument by stating that by imposing liability on him the court would place an affirmative duty on adults to prevent other people who are intoxicated from operating a vehicle.
The court in this case found that Clukey did not have a duty that he violated in this case. A person who knowingly lets another person drive drunk cannot be held liable under negligence for injuries the drunken party causes to another. Therefore, the plaintiff’s negligence action against him failed and this court entered summary judgment on behalf of Clukey.
This case illustrates the legal conflict between individual responsibility and public welfare.
If you have been injured contact New York injury attorneys at Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC to schedule a free appointment. Call 718-261-0546.