After a fatal accident on New Jersey highways, the police investigate the scene before preparing a report. However, they don’t want to close off in-demand highways for long, so they generally conduct this investigation and clean up quickly. Much of the investigation goes on in the days, weeks and even months following the car accident.
Recently, a spokesman for the State Police Department spoke to news reporters about his department’s ongoing investigation into a December accident on the New Jersey Turnpike in which three members of a family and their dog were killed when a tractor-trailer struck their car from behind. Amazingly, the family’s teenage daughter, who was sleeping in the front passenger seat at the time of the collision, escaped with minor injuries.
According to the police, the accident was caused when the driver of an SUV tried to make a U-turn on the turnpike by turning left through a division in the highway that is reserved for emergency vehicles. The SUV driver’s illegal turn started a chain reaction among vehicles on the road that led to the tractor-trailer driver hitting the family’s car, police said. Despite an appeal to the public for information, the driver of the SUV has not been found. The driver was described by witnesses only as a blond-haired woman.
Police said that the tractor-trailer driver was not to blame for the accident because he had been driving below the speed limit and had tried as much as he could to avoid hitting the car. The SUV driver, however, may face criminal charges if she is identified.
Personal injury lawsuits arising from car accidents are based upon the legal theory of negligence. Drivers are negligent when they fail to exercise the same level of care that a reasonable driver would under the same circumstances, and someone else is injured as a result. Drunk driving, speeding and otherwise violating traffic laws all can be strong evidence of negligence.
Those who are injured in a car accident can have huge medical expenses, lost wages and other costs. Those who have lost loved ones in an accident also have measurable losses. When these losses are due to another driver’s negligence, the injured or their families may be compensated for damages.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “‘Mystery driver still sought in Dec. turnpike crash that killed family,” Jan Hefler, May 13, 2013