At approximately 8:30 p.m. on the night of Sunday, August 2, 2020, a tractor-trailer rear-ended a Bronx family’s car as they were driving home from vacation on the New York State Thruway, outside the town of Ulster. The mother, 47-year-old Zulika Salim, and two of her children, 10-year-old Justin Gayapersad and 14-year-old Chelsea Gayapersad, were sitting in the backseat at the time of the crash and sadly passed away as a result of the accident.
The tractor-trailer, driven by 61-year-old Luc Leblanc, slammed into the rear of the family’s Honda Accord when they had slowed down to stop for traffic. Leblanc did not slow down in time to avoid hitting their vehicle. The force of the impact pushed the family’s car approximately 500 feet forward and off the road.
While pushing the Honda, the truck also struck the rear passenger side of a Kia Sedona minivan, which was carrying other members of the same family. The driver and front-passenger occupant of the Honda Accord, as well as occupants of the minivan, were taken to local hospitals and were reportedly treated for minor injuries.
Leblanc has not yet been charged; police are still investigating the incident. The remaining family is devastated to have lost three of their close family members. Husband and father Vishnu Gayapersad said, “I don’t have the words right now to say what is going on…I don’t believe this is happening.”
This is a heartbreaking loss. We offer our deepest condolences to the family, and are keeping them in our thoughts.
Although police are still investigating, it is clear that the driver of the tractor-trailer was negligent in his behavior. Although the circumstances of each case are different and liability is not always clear, in rear-end accidents, the driver who did the rear-ending is often at least partially at fault. This is because all drivers have a responsibility to other motorists on the road to employ a reasonable duty of care.
When one vehicle rear-ends another, it is almost certain that they were not exercising proper duty of care in some way, whether it was failing to pay attention to the road, failing to stop in time to avoid hitting another vehicle, or failing to maintain a safe following distance, among other reasons. Although it is possible to make an argument that the truck driver, in this incident, did not have enough time to slow his tractor-trailer down, it is always the responsibility of the driver to ensure they are maintaining a safe following distance and paying attention to the vehicles in front of them, to ensure they can stop safely.
The loss that the Gayapersad family has to endure as a result of the truck driver’s negligence is tragic and one that no one should ever have to experience. Our hearts go out to them.
If you or someone you know has been harmed as a result of a motor vehicle or truck collision, you have legal options. Our personal injury lawyers understand how difficult it can be to think about taking legal action when going through a tragedy like this, and have devoted their lives to fighting for those who have been harmed as a result of someone else’s negligence. We have recovered over $1 billion for clients, including a $9,263,326 verdict for a client who suffered spinal nerve damage after he was rear-ended by a taxi, causing a multi-car collision.