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Car catches fire, kills 3 after collision with dump truck

Three people died in a truck accident on a New Jersey highway on Aug. 27. At least five other vehicles were involved, though only four people, including the truck driver, were sent to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

According to state police, the dump truck, which is registered to a New Jersey waste management company, was driving on Route 280 when it struck a Honda, which then caught on fire. The fire was so intense that troopers who arrived at the accident could not rescue the car's passengers.

The crash and its causes were under investigation. The dump truck was to be inspected for signs of any mechanical or safety defects. Additionally, the truck driver would be tested for the presence of any illegal or other substances that might have impaired his driving. Findings from the investigation could affect assignment of fault in this accident and the options available to the families of the victims.

If the police investigation was to reveal defects in the dump truck that might have contributed to the accident, then the truck's manufacturer might have some liability. The waste management company that employs the driver might share fault if the vehicle was improperly maintained or the driver was inadequately trained. Since the investigation was ongoing, the exact circumstances of the truck accident were still unknown at the time of the report. It is possible that the driver suffered from fatigue, was distracted or was intoxicated. If any of those conditions were true, then the families of those who died might seek compensation for pain and suffering.

Source: NorthJersey.com, "State Police: 3 dead in Rte. 280 'fireball' crash of car and a truck driven by North Bergen man", Jim Norman, August 27, 2014

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