Most cases are fairly clear-cut when a passenger is injured or killed as the result of a car accident, but some are a bit more involved than others. In the case of a fatal car accident, a family may be able to file a civil liability suit and collect damages from the car's driver, but some extenuating circumstances could make that difficult.
At 5:42 a.m. on Jan. 24, law enforcement officers responded to a call reporting an attempted burglary at a local restaurant on Stelton Road in Piscataway. When the police got to the scene, they saw two men and reportedly attempted to stop them. The men took off in a car and allegedly attempted to run over one of the policemen, who was not injured. The two men drove out of sight before the police officers were able to get to their cars.
The authorities received another call about an hour later from a Brookside Road resident who reported that someone he did not know had come to his home seeking assistance. Police responded to the call and were able to take a suspect into custody, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.
Meanwhile, another law enforcement official spotted the Nissan Pathfinder that the men implicated in the earlier event were driving. The car had crashed through a guardrail and knocked over a light pole before coming to a stop. The 43-year-old passenger in the car was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
The driver faces many charges resulting from the crash, including aggravated manslaughter. He was also charged with attempted murder of the police officer, burglary and eluding the police.
The man who died in the car crash was the victim of what may have been reckless driving, but the question of whether he had any culpability since he was also allegedly fleeing the police remains to be answered. Whenever catastrophic injuries or death result from a car crash, the victims and families should learn what their legal rights and options are.
Source: NJ.com, "Police: Fleeing burglar crashed in Piscataway, killing his passenger," John S. Clayton, Jan. 24, 2013