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Will family file wrongful death suit against dump truck driver?

Some crashes are truly accidents and neither party is determined to be criminally liable. However, that does not necessarily preclude either party from civil liability. New Jersey is a comparative negligence state. For instance, in a wrongful death claim, as long as the loved one of the family seeking restitution is not found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident by the court, damages could be awarded.

A woman was recently crossing the street when a dump truck struck her. The preliminary investigation into her death revealed that she had the right-of-way, but so did the dump truck. It was making a right hand turn at the same time that the woman was crossing the street.

When emergency medical personnel arrived, the woman -- whose age is estimated to be between the late 20s and early 30s -- was barely alive. CPR was performed, and she lived long enough to reach Jersey City Medical Center. Tragically, she succumbed to her injuries a short time later.

The investigation is ongoing. Officials are reviewing video footage from the area and talking to witnesses. The truck is also being examined to determine whether a mechanical failure or overloading could have contributed to the accident. So far, no charges have been filed.

Regardless, the victim's family may file a wrongful death claim against the driver and his employer. Even if the court assigns some responsibility for the accident to their dead loved one, so long as it is not more than a New Jersey court assigns to the dump truck driver, they may be awarded damages. Any reward would be reduced by the percentage of responsibility assigned to the victim, if any.

Source:, "Woman dies after hit by dump truck in Union City, NJ", July 28, 2015

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