Details matter significantly when auto accidents are being adjudicated in New Jersey, and especially in wrongful death legal actions. Most auto accident cases fall within standard liability parameters, but there can also be a basis for a wrongful death legal action when there is specific evidence of gross negligence exhibited by any particular party.
Many motor vehicle accidents happen because a driver was operating their vehicle recklessly at the time. A driver who is cited for wanton endangerment in causing a crash is a prime example of when this can apply, but some drivers can still be proven to be driving at excessive speeds or driving purposely with reckless disregard for other motorists.
Another situation that could establish a wrongful death claim is being involved in an auto accident with an impaired driver. It is not necessary for a driver to be cited with DUI for this evidence to exist. Those found to be under the influence of prescription drugs or other controlled substances could be sufficient for proving wrongful death based on blood test results or additional negligent behavior.
Distracted driving has clearly been on the incline in recent decades and any evidence that a driver was distracted by their own action while driving could establish a potential wrongful death lawsuit. The use of a handheld cell phone in any form while driving is a highway violation in New Jersey, and evidence that can timestamp phone usage could be presented in court during a wrongful death trial.
It is important for all families who may have a wrongful death claim to understand that cases are always filed as a lawsuit where the assertions must be proven in court before a jury. Valid wrongful death claims must be established within a preponderance of all evidence that there are extenuating issues of negligence beyond general liability for causation.