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Man Convicted in Case of 2018 Long Island Crash that Killed Newly Engaged Couple

A man was recently convicted in the case of a 2018 accident on Long Island that resulted in the deaths of a newly engaged couple.

Rahmel Watkins from Brooklyn was found guilty of assault, criminally negligent homicide, reckless driving and reckless endangerment in the deaths of Elisheva Kaplan, 20, and Yisroel Levin, 21. Watkins already had two prior felonies, among other criminal convictions on his record.

Watkins was driving his 2010 BMW GT recklessly at the time of the accident. According to authorities, he was going more than twice the speed limit, then crossed over the yellow lines, causing a head-on collision with the couple in their Nissan Altima. After the impact, Watkins then struck a silver Infiniti driven by James Hamilton, who was left with injuries to his hand, ankle and knee as well as a fractured spine.

Watkins was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison.

Reckless driving can come with criminal and civil consequences

Certain types of car accidents can spawn both criminal and civil cases. Conviction in a criminal case makes success in a civil suit significantly more likely for the plaintiff, as it indicates the defendant was indeed negligent and therefore liable for their actions and resulting injuries.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by a reckless or drunk driver, it may be in your best interest, then, to wait to file a civil claim until the criminal case concludes, though what’s most important is making sure you file within your statute of limitations. For more information about the best strategy for your claim, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia LLP.