Elderly Man Killed When His Car Struck by Wrong-Way Driver

An 80-year-old man was killed in a two-vehicle crash when his car was struck by a sports utility vehicle being driven the wrong way on a northern New Jersey highway. The car accident took place in Clifton in the eastbound lanes of Route 3 late at night on May 27, according to ABC 7 News.

A 44-year-old female was traveling west in the eastbound lanes when her SUV hit the senior's car head-on. She was ejected from the vehicle and taken to a hospital for treatment for serious injuries. The 80-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cause of Wrong-Way Driving Not Yet Known

It is not yet known why the driver of the SUV was traveling the wrong way, e.g., was she intoxicated at the time of the collision? The accident is currently under investigation.

Driving the wrong way on the highway, however, would in and of itself be negligence per se. Negligence per se is negligence arising from the violation of a law meant to protect the public safety, such as a speed limit. Wrong-way driving, like speeding, violates New Jersey's traffic safety laws.

Driver of SUV Could Face Civil Liability

The driver of the SUV could be facing potential liability for her negligence in a civil wrongful death action for the loss of the elderly driver's life. A wrongful death action can be brought by the surviving relatives of a driver who is killed in an accident caused by the negligence of another driver. Those relatives who may sue, as well as the types of damages that they may recover, are defined and strictly limited by statute. For example, damages for the grief or emotional distress suffered by the relatives over the loss of their loved one cannot be recovered in a wrongful death action.

The SUV driver could also be sued in a separate survival action to recover damages for the fatal injuries suffered by the elderly driver in the head-on collision that led to his death. A survival action can be brought by the legal representative of a deceased driver's estate. Damages for conscious pain and suffering sustained by the driver between the time of an accident and the time of his death, however brief, as well as punitive damages, can be sought in a survival action.

As can be seen from this tragic accident, car accidents, especially head-on collisions, can result in death and serious bodily injury. If you are injured or have lost a loved one in a car crash, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney who can help obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries or loss.