Settlement for Teen’s Death in Hit and Run Approaches New York State Record

Drunk Driving - broken cocktail glass and car keys.

Four years after 18-year-old Alexandria Rice’s tragic death by hit-and-run driver gastroenterologist Dr. James Corasanti, and three weeks into a civil trial for her wrongful death, Rice’s parents and Corasanti have reached a hit and run lawsuit settlement agreement. While such awards are normally only paid out by insurance companies, the settlement payout in this case will be comprised of funds both from Corasanti’s insurance company as well as Corasanti’s own personal assets.

This settlement comes after the family had reached a previous settlement with the Transit Valley Country Club, where Corasanti had been participating in a golf tournament and drinking earlier in the day. While the total figure is protected as confidential under the terms of the settlement agreement, the Rice family’s attorney reported that the total settlement amount places the case among the largest settlements for deaths of 18-year-olds in New York State history. The Rice family’s attorney asserted that having Corasanti accept some personal responsibility for the accident was one of the goals of the litigation and further stated that Corasanti’s substantial personal contribution to the settlement required him to borrow money to make it.

Civil Liability Trial for Wrongful Death

This settlement comes three weeks into testimony in the civil liability trial for Rice’s wrongful death on July 8, 2011. Rice was riding her long board skateboard along the side of the highway late at night and was struck by Corasanti, who was on his way home from a charity golf tournament. Corasanti was indicted for manslaughter in September of 2011, a charge to which he pleaded “not guilty.” Corasanti maintained at trial that he was not intoxicated and was unaware that he had hit anyone. After a 16-day criminal trial, Corasanti was convicted in May 2012 of misdemeanor DWI (driving while intoxicated) and sentenced to one year in jail. He served 239 days of that sentence. Corasanti will continue to practice medicine as a gastroenterologist.

While it may feel as though justice has been denied when a drunk driver escapes severe criminal punishment, don’t forget that civil remedies exist to provide some measure of compensation to accident victims and their families. Seek out seasoned legal assistance to ensure that you’ve explored all avenues of compensation, so that you’re not left to drown in medical bills and other expenses without help. If you’ve been hurt by a drunk, reckless, or negligent driver, contact Hudson Valley personal injury attorneys at Basch & Keegan. Experienced Kingston-based attorneys at Basch & Keegan, serving Ulster, Orange, and Dutchess County residents, can help you recover for your hit and run, car accident, and drunk driving injuries. Call (845) 338-8884 for a free consultation.