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Negligence may be cause of passenger's death in crash

When someone in New Jersey gets into a vehicle as a passenger, he or she is trusting the driver to ensure his or her safety. A driver's failure to avoid an accident could cause serious injury or death to his or her passengers. If it turns out the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the driver, criminal charges may be filed against him or her along with civil claims.

For example, a 20-year-old man whose passenger was killed in an accident that took place at approximately 10:53 p.m. recently was charged with vehicular homicide. Reports indicate that the driver and his 19-year-old passenger were traveling south on Route 9 when the driver somehow lost control of the vehicle. It slammed into a concrete divider on the highway, and the passenger was ejected.

By 11:14 p.m., the passenger had succumbed to the injuries he suffered in the crash. Authorities have not yet reported what caused the car to veer into the divider. The investigation into this incident is ongoing. The driver's bail was set at $250,000, and at last report, he was still being held at the correctional center in Middlesex County.

As the criminal proceeding against the man progresses, the family of the victim may file a wrongful death claim against him as well. If negligence on the part of the driver is proved in a New Jersey court, the family may be awarded damages. Such an award will never replace the loved one this family lost, but it may provide them with financial restitution to defray the costs incurred as a result of the victim's premature death.

Source: New Brunswick Patch, "Middlesex County Man Charged in Accident That Killed Passenger", Anthony Bellano, Nov. 10, 2014

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