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Bikers involved in brawl with SUV driver could face civil suits

News outlets across the country have shown the video of a Range Rover on Manhattan’s West Side Highway being surrounded by motorcycle riders, a rider being run over by the SUV, and the violence that ensues. While some believe it was a brutal attack by a driver fueled by road rage, others see it as a necessary evil due to a reasonable fear of harm.

The incident has raised strong emotions on both sides who want to see justice, and police have already arrested one of the riders. He was recently arraigned over the weekend on a number of felony charges, including first degree assault and first-degree gang assault, since a group of people were involved in the attack.

Media reports indicate that three other riders have been taken into custody, and charged with the same (or similar) crimes.

While the criminal implications are yet to be seen, a conviction in these cases can have serious civil consequences. A criminal conviction can be used in civil suits to establish the fact that a driver has breached the duty to use reasonable care in operating their vehicle, or in avoiding physical confrontations with other people.

With such a breach, and resulting injuries, the offending driver could be held liable for the damages sustained in the accident. For example, a rider could be held liable for the damage to the SUV’s windows, the injuries the driver sustained as well as the wages lost and emotional trauma suffered.

While one rider’s criminal case has been dismissed, it remains to be seen whether other people will be charged and subsequently be defendants in civil suits. 

Source: ClaimsJournal.com, NYPD arrests another biker in New York City biker-SUV brawl, October 8, 2013

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