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Objects falling off vehicles can lead to car accidents

Most New Jersey residents understand that it is crucial to remain vigilant while driving the state's highways. The majority of accidents on highways are due to driver error. However, some car accidents are caused by something completely unexpected such as an object falling off a truck or vehicle. Even skilled drivers may not be able to avoid these potentially lethal projectiles.

In the case of a recent accident on Interstate 80 here in New Jersey, a tire flew off an eastbound pickup truck. The tire careened across the median into the westbound lanes of the highway and struck a car occupied by a couple who were on their way to see their grandchildren. The impact caused the car to hit a pickup truck hauling a trailer and one other vehicle.

The car initially hit by the tire finally came to rest after crashing into the guardrail and bouncing back onto the highway. The driver, who was just days away from his 78th birthday, succumbed to fatal injuries at the scene. His wife suffered unknown injuries described only as not life threatening.  The accident is still under investigation, and authorities did not report whether any charges are being contemplated.

Even if no criminal charges are filed, the victim's widow retains the right to file a wrongful death claim against the party or parties deemed responsible for the death of her husband. She has a separate right to pursue a personal injury claim for her own injuries. If her wrongful death claim successfully establishes that her husband died due to the negligence of one or more parties, the court may consider awarding monetary damages often seen in fatal car accidents. No amount of monetary restitution will give her back her husband, but it could help her with the unexpected expenses that typically accompany these tragedies.

Source: CBS New York, "New Jersey Man Killed In Crash Triggered By Tire That Fell Off Pickup", March 27, 2015

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