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Long legal battle ahead for families of Schoharie crash victims

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While the operator of the limo company involved in the deadly Schoharie crash is free on bail, the investigation by police continues.

Naumann Hussain is charged with criminally negligent homicide. Police say he knew the limo wasn’t fit for the road.

This crash means a long legal battle is ahead, including for the families of the victims.

Ask any attorney you know — just as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, there inevitably will be civil lawsuits filed in the limousine tragedy case.

It will take time. It will take more investigating. It will take until the family members of the crash victims are ready to deal with it.

Right now, they’re dealing with unimaginable grief, planning funerals, and –if it’s possible — making themselves whole again.

NewsChannel 13 spoke with Mario Cometti. He’s a lawyer at Tully Rinckey in Colonie, who handles civil lawsuits like the one many people are expecting in this case. He says the accident reconstruction analysis will answer many of the questions currently unknown. However, he points out there’s a paper trail.

There are red flags that seem to indicate the limousine shouldn’t have been on the road, the driver shouldn’t have been behind the wheel and the person allegedly responsible for booking the excursion apparently knew it and let it happen. That will be hashed out in criminal court.

Cometti also said there’s likely to be 20 separate lawsuits that might involve more than 100 plaintiffs.

He said it’s also likely that the court could consolidate the lawsuits into one to save time and judicial resources.

If there’s no out-of-court settlement, it’ll be up to a jury, by a preponderance of the evidence, to determine culpability — and if necessary, set a monetary award.

They’ll take into consideration liability, pain and suffering and economic loss to the survivors.

No one will go to jail if there’s not enough money.

Cometti says sometimes you have to sue people to find out if they have money.

People are unlikely to disclose financial resources without the court stepping in. Sometimes, people sue because they want justice. It clears up who is responsible for their loss.

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