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Auto accidents can take the lives of loved ones without warning

When people say goodbye to their loved ones, they typically have no way of knowing whether it could be for the last time. Life is unpredictable, and when tragedy strikes, some people walk away from an accident relatively unscathed while others perish. For instance, auto accidents here in New Jersey and around the country take the lives of many without warning each year.

The new year has barely begun, and one woman will already be counted in the number of highway fatalities for 2016. She was a passenger in a van that was heading west on Interstate 78 at approximately 11:40 a.m. on a recent Wednesday. For a yet unknown reason, the driver of the van she was in lost control of the vehicle.

The out-of-control van careened from the left side of the highway across all of the westbound lanes and off the right side. It then slammed into a guardrail, flipped over and came to rest on its roof. During the crash, the 64-year-old woman, who was a passenger in the backseat of the van, was ejected.

Her body ended up underneath the heavy vehicle. She died at the scene. The 39-year-old driver and the other passenger, a 61-year-old man, walked away with only minor injuries.

The investigation into this fatal accident remains open, and it is not yet known if charges will be filed against the driver. Regardless, the family of the deceased woman may file a wrongful death claim against the driver in a New Jersey civil court. Successfully establishing that the death of their loved one was caused by the negligence of another could result in an award of damages typically seen in other auto accidents.

Source: nj.com, "Pennsylvania woman ID'd as fatality in I-78 N.J. crash", Sallie Graziano, Jan. 7, 2016

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