There can be little worse than realizing you have been responsible for the death or serious injury of friends or family because you drove while intoxicated. This is what may have happened when 27-year-old Stephan Harbison drove down Straight Path in Deer Park on Long Island early in the morning on January 26 this year.
Harbison is alleged to have been drunk when he drove a 2003 Infiniti that morning and then veered off the road unexpectedly, crashing into a tree. He was carrying two passengers in the car at the time, Ismail Latif and Hamzah Abdul-Hakim. Both were badly injured in the impact between the car and the tree, one of them fatally.
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Latif was ejected from the car on impact and was discovered to be badly injured when rescue services arrived on the scene. Abdul-Hakim and Harbison, the driver, were trapped inside the car and had to be extracted using special equipment by personnel from the Deer Park Fire Department. Both Latif and Harbison were later assessed as critically injured. Harbison allegedly gave police an incorrect name and address when he was pulled out of the car. Abdul-Hakim died as a result of the injuries he received.
Harbison has been arrested with DUI, vehicular assault in the first degree (because of the injuries to Latif) and vehicular manslaughter in the first degree (because of Abdul-Hakim’s death). These are very serious charges, but Harbison remains innocent unless and until such a time that a jury finds the evidence presented sufficient to pronounce him guilty.
Whatever the result of the criminal charges brought against the driver of the Infiniti, the reality is that two young men in the prime of their young lives were seriously affected that fateful morning. We have no knowledge of the circumstances of Hamzah Abdul-Hakim’s family, but if he had anyone close to him who depended on him for love and affection and financial support, they will have lost it all as a result of a needless accident. Ismail Latif is in a critical condition and if he was employed will be suffering financially. So will his family.
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Once the families have come to terms with the injuries and death and it has been established who was responsible, they may be entitled to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. These sorts of accidents should not result in accident victims and their families suffering because of poor decisions and careless or reckless driving. Personal injury claims are ways that victims and their families can be financially compensated for injuries caused by another person.
Such claims can be complex, so it is important to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer, such as Richard S. Jaffe, Esq. of the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, who will determine whether a lawsuit is likely to be successful. Normally, the sooner a claim is started after an accident, the easier it is for a lawyer to accumulate the sort of evidence that can be used to support a case for compensation.
You can contact Richard S. Jaffe for a free consultation at the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe LLP, 2001 Marcus Avenue, Suite W295, Lake Success, NY 11042. Phone: 516-358-6900 or toll free: 800-483-6149.