As many Western New Yorker’s are aware, there has been a rash of vehicles crashing into buildings in 2011 so far, including the most recent today, September 30th, into the front of Dessert Deli in a busy plaza at Maple and North Forest in Williamsville.
If these unfortunate incidents are truly accidents, the drivers will be charged accordingly. Those charges could include anything from inadequate brakes (a misdemeanor), failure to use due care (infraction or misdemeanor, depending on circumstances), speed not reasonable and prudent (3 points), to maybe even a charge of parking in a prohibited place! (max $150 fine). Depending on their driving records, they may be able to negotiate a reasonable deal with prosecutors. If alcohol or drugs are involved, the driver can be expected to be charged criminally. The drivers need to stay on site, though, because leaving the scene of an accident involving a personal injury is a separate crime. Civilly, the driver is also on the hook for damage to person or property, as well as the owner of the vehicle.
Our advice to drivers and building owners is the same: review your insurance coverage and make sure you are properly protected. Paying attention while driving no matter where you are goes without saying. There are serious consequences as indicated by these unfortunate accidents resulting in property damage, serious injuries and in some cases even death to the driver and innocent pedestrians.