litigation; driver; wacky; victims; families

Driver Sues Families of Victims

Driver Sues Families of Victims He Killed

Christmas should be a time of happiness and joy, but the world can be a cruel place. In 2007, two families – McWilliams and Bassi – were on their way to a relative’s home for a nice Christmas dinner. However, they did not make it. When they stopped at a red light, a truck behind them plowed into the rear of their vehicle, not even attempting to slow down. The truck, driven by David Belniak, was going 86 miles per hour when he hit them. This caused three of the people in the vehicle ahead to be killed, and one received serious injuries.

Belniak was arrested and later pleaded guilty to three counts of DUI manslaughter. It was discovered that he not only had alcohol in his system, but also cocaine and Xanax when the crash occurred. His sentence was 12 years in prison. This is a sad but all too common type of accident.

Suit, Countersuit

Naturally, the families of those who were killed and injured in the crash decided they should file a civil suit against Belniak. However, after they filed their suit, he turned around and countersued them. In his countersuit, he claimed that the accident was not his fault, but was caused by the person who was driving the vehicle that he hit. He said that the driver, Ray McWilliams, was under the influence of medication when the crash happened, and that he had changed lanes abruptly, which caused Belniak to hit the vehicle.

Keep in mind that the car of the deceased was stopped at a red light when the accident happened. Even if they had changed lanes, Belniak was going at a speed where he could not have stopped, and he would have blown through the red light even if he had not hit the back of their vehicle.

Belniak’s lawsuit said that he wanted the family of the victims to pay for the pain and suffering he endured, as well as the medical anguish and his medical bills. In total, he wanted over $15,000 in damages.

The suit eventually went to a jury, who had the good sense to dismiss the lawsuit. In addition, they ordered him to pay the families of the victims to the tune of $140,000. It’s a wonder how Belniak ever thought he might be able to win his countersuit given the circumstances of the case. While there is nothing that can bring back their lost family members, at least they weren’t saddled with the burden of paying the man who caused their deaths.

There are many people who do not like to take responsibility for their actions, and they often end up turning into these strange and weird lawsuits that sometimes get a bit further than they should. Fortunately, there tend to be enough people who are part of juries or who are judges who can see these types of frivolous lawsuits for what they are and put an end to them.