Posted on Feb 05, 2012
Tragedy struck the Lower East Side several weeks ago when 12-year-old Dashane Santana, a girl steeped to the hilt in performance art and ambition, was fatally run over.

The accident occurred at the intersection of Delancey and Clinton Streets near the Williamsburg Bridge at 2:40pm on January 14. She had just exited Castle Middle School, where she is a sixth-grader, and was on her way to a doughnut shop with her friends.

According to her mother, Shamika Benjamin, 31, she had dropped her backpack in the middle of the street. When she turned around to retrieve the bag, a 2006 Toyota Sienna minivan was there to meet her. The impact was powerful enough that people in shops nearby heard it. The driver, upon realizing he had hit something, stopped, reversed, and ran her over again.

She was rushed to New York Downtown Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Her friends claimed the light was theirs. The 58-year-old driver, however, claims he had the light and was flustered that five girls were in his way, crossing against the light. He remained on the scene and was not charged. The cops said the collision was an accident and that the driver had the right of way.

Dashane had just applied to Julliard School for performing arts and hoped to make it as an actress. She was outgoing, played the flute and piano, and enjoyed singing, acting, and dancing. She had even had the pleasure last fall to be an extra in the filming of Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe's "Broken City."

This type of case is often referred to as a "Question of Lights" type of case. You will have competing interests claiming that each one had the right of way. Witnesses will often be the determining factor in deciding who truly had the green light and the right of way. The other siginficant issue that will arise is the amount of damages for such a young child who has no earnings history.

If you would like more information about how medical malpractice and accident cases work in the state of New York, I encourage you to explore my educational website. If you have legal questions,  I urge you to pick up the phone and call me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected] to answer your questions. That's what I do every day. I welcome your call.

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