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Will victim's family file wrongful death claim?

Far too many New Jersey families lose loved ones each year in motor vehicle accidents. State law allows them to file wrongful death claims in order to seek damages for their losses. If it is proved that their family members died as the result of the negligence of another, a civil court could award them damages such as medical expenses, if any, funeral and burial costs and pain and suffering of the victim, among others.

The family of a man who was recently killed in an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike might exercise its right to file such a claim as well. The 30-year-old man was traveling the turnpike on a recent Wednesday shortly before 6:13 p.m. As his pickup truck approached the on-ramp where southbound traffic on Interstate 295 merges with the turnpike, a tractor-trailer fell onto his truck.

A crane was brought in to lift the trailer off the victim's pickup, and emergency responders used the jaws of life in order to remove his body from the wreckage. Their efforts were too late to save the man's life. The 57-year-old man driving the big rig was not injured. Reports indicate that this is not the first time that a semi-truck has overturned at this curve.

This fact could be important in any wrongful death claim filed by the victim's family. Plaintiffs are allowed to include any parties where the evidence suggests they caused or contributed to the death. It will then be up to a civil court to determine what role each defendant might have played in the death of the victim and assign a percentage of liability to each if damages are awarded.

Source: nj.com, "Police ID man killed in I-295 crash", Bill Gallo, Jr., Oct. 6, 2016

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