Family of wife and mother killed in drunk driving accident seeks damages from driver, bar who served him

by Michael Heygood

In June, Monica Peterman’s car was struck by a car driven by cardiologist Dr. Thomas Stavola of Setauket, New York. It was 3:55 a.m. and Peterman was just minutes from St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, where she was about to start her shift as a dialysis technician. Peterman had worked as a dialysis technician for about two decades. According to one of her sons, she was close to earning a nursing degree at Suffolk County Community College.

Stavola’s car smashed into the driver’s side of Peterman’s car, according to police reports. Peterman was taken to St. Catherine of Siena, where she died from her injuries.

Stavola has been charged with driving while intoxicated. According to court papers, prosecutors have said Stavola left the scene of the crash and, when found by police, he slurred his speech, smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet. “I went to a bar. I was driving home . . .  I veered off the road and hit a curb,” Stavola said to officers after the crash, according to court papers. “I got out of my car and started walking.”

Peterman’s family has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit over the drunk driving accident. Her family is seeking $10 to $20 million in damages from the doctor and from the bar he was drinking at prior to the crash.

Hiring the right lawyer for a personal injury or wrongful death drunk driving case

If you or someone you know has been injured or if you lost a loved one as a result of a drunk driver, in addition to the drunk driver, a club, bar or restaurant may be responsible. You need an experienced and knowledgeable law firm that can guide you through the legal process and obtain maximum compensation on your behalf. Our lawyers approach every case with the assumption it will be tried to a jury. Whether it’s hiring the right experts, obtaining the necessary records, interviewing the key witnesses or helping our clients get the medical care they need, our meticulous attention to detail ensures that our clients receive the best legal representation possible.

We have the financial resources to handle personal injury cases from beginning to end. In fact, there are many instances when we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a case in order to take it to trial. At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we are committed to achieving justice for our clients, whatever the cost.

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, our success stems from the fact that our attorneys are trial attorneys in the truest sense and have tried hundreds of cases to verdict. Among our team are numerous attorneys who are board certified* and who have been voted by their peers as Super Lawyers in the state of Texas for several years in a row.** Our firm is AV-rated, the highest legal and ethical rating available from the leading law firm rating service.

If you have suffered a serious personal injury or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or death as the result of the actions of another person or entity, you may have a claim for compensation. Contact us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001 for your free case evaluation and to learn more about your legal right to compensation.


* Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson are all Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law — Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

** Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2014.