Some court cases can take years to make it through the system, and thus is the case with a ruling this week in Connecticut that gives the families of Yale students who were killed in a 2003 car accident the ability to sue the national fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon.
Four of nine passengers in an SUV traveling from New York City back to New Haven after a fraternity event were killed on a snowy stretch of Highway 95 when the SUV they were riding in collided with a tractor trailer that had crashed on the highway. Families of the deceased and other victims sued the State of New York Department of Transportation, the fraternity, and two construction companies. Charges against the state were dismissed on the basis of state immunity, an the two construction companies settled out of court. In the lower courts the national fraternity was found not guilty because they were under no obligation to provide transportation for the students.
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled this week that, while the fraternity was under no obligtation to provide transportation, the fact that they did meant the source of transportation needed to be safe. The driver, a 20 year old fraternity member, had been awake for 20 hours prior to the accident and was, the court said, a poor choice for safe transportation. That driver was one of the students that was killed.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigated the accident and found plenty of blame, including poor highway conditions, speeding, fatigue and lack of seat belt use.
Attorneys for the fraternity’s national office in Ann Arbor, Michigan, say they will fight the ruling. The families also have a case pending against the manufacturer of the tractor-trailer, which they contend did not have enough lights on the back of the truck.
Personal injury attorneys work for accident victims, and in this case, they worked tirelessly for nearly ten years simply for the right to pursue a lawsuit. If you need a personal injury attorney who will fight hard for your rights, contact the Law Offices of David Van Sant. Mr. Van Sant is an Atlanta personal injury attorney with a wealth of knowledge and the determination to do what’s right for his clients.