According to a news article in the Boston Herald, a suspected drunk driver crashed his car into a series of equipment operated by the utility company in East Boston. The alleged drunk driving accident occurred around 4 a.m.
Witnesses reported downed power lines, transformers, and multiple downed telephone poles as a result of the crash. The downed power equipment caused police and firefighters to close Route 1A to all traffic through in East Boston following the accident. Route 1A is the main access road to Boston Logan International Airport as well as towns north of Boston.
It has also been reported another accident occurred when a car crashed into the downed power equipment. An alleged drunk driver was arrested for driving his white pickup truck without a license, and operating a motor vehicle under the influence (OUI) of intoxicating liquor or drugs, and is scheduled to be arraigned at the East Boston District Court.
When someone drives drunk, he or she is risking not only their own safety, but also the safety of others who share the roads and sidewalks of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There is no doubt that if the allegations are true, drunk driver will be liable for all damage caused to the power equipment and likely the cost of all repairs.
The next question in an accident like this for Boston drunk driving accident lawyers is whether or not a defendant drunk driver would also be liable for any injuries caused to other drivers who crashed as a result of damaged power lines and equipment. The test for determining if an original torfeasor is liable for secondary accidents deals with the issue of foreseeability.
In a negligence case, if a duty of care is owed, defendant is expected to act in reasonable and prudent manner to prevent foreseeable injury to foreseeable persons and property. There is no question when driving drunk, it is foreseeable a driver will crash into certain people or objects. The more important question is if he or she will be liable for injuries caused by another driver crashing into wreckage caused by the first negligent act. In this example, hitting the downed power lines.
Legal scholars used a concept known as the “zone of danger” to determine if an accident was foreseeable. Was the victim within the zone of danger when the accident occurred?
This concept came from a famous torts case taught to all law students titled Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad. In Palsgraf, a passenger was rushing to get on a train and carrying a small box. The box contained fireworks. When the workers helped him on the train, he dropped the box onto the tracks. This caused fireworks to explode. The shock wave of the explosion caused a heavy object to fall on a female passenger at the far end of platform. With respect to this victim, Judge Cardozo held she was not within the zone of danger because it was not foreseeable she would be injured.
In a case of downed power lines, the question would be whether another driver was in the zone of danger. He probably would be.
If you or a loved one was involved in a drunk driving accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
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