Four pedestrians were hit by a suspected drunk driver after his vehicle drove up onto a sidewalk in Freeport on Monday, May 27. Those injured included two adults and two children.
According to the police, 66-year-old Mitchell Messling lost control of his vehicle while driving along West Merrick Road near the intersection with South Long Beach Avenue on Monday afternoon. He allegedly crashed into a woman, her boyfriend, and two children who were all walking on the sidewalk. The two children were ages 9 and 11.
Court documents say that police at the scene reported that Messling had glassy eyes and slurred speech. He took a Breathalyzer test nearly two hours after the crash and his blood alcohol level measured at 0.17. Messling also allegedly told police at the scene, “I had one drink, it was vodka Sprite.”
All of the victims were listed in stable condition as of Tuesday. The 11-year-old was airlifted to Cohen Children’s Medical Center and treated for a concussion and broken arm.
Messling has been charged with DWI and assault and his license has been suspended.
Attorney contributor Laurence Banville is a personal injury attorney with experience representing people who have been hit by drunk drivers in New York. Here are some thoughts Laurence has given The Legal Herald on the legal options available to people injured in these crashes in the state of New York and wondering if there could be a settlement after getting hit by a drunk driver:
New York is one of several states with multiple types of lawsuits available to people who have been injured by drunk drivers. People injured in these crashes may have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver. Additionally, some drunk driving injury cases also qualify for something called a dram shop lawsuit, which can be filed against an alcohol vendor for unlawfully serving someone who injures others in an alcohol-related incident.
In order to have a case for a dram shop lawsuit, the injured party’s legal counsel must establish that an unlawful sale of alcohol played a role in causing the crash. There are two types of unlawful sales that can prompt a dram shop lawsuit:
If an alcohol vendor serves someone who is visibly intoxicated or younger than 21 years old and that person causes an accident, the people injured in that accident may have grounds for a lawsuit against both the person who caused the crash and the vendor who served that person.
You can learn more about your legal options after being hit by a drunk driver by speaking with an experienced car accident attorney in a free consultation.