Lieberman, Ryan & Forrest, L.L.C.
Somerset County
Hunterdon County

1 killed in fiery toll booth truck accident

A 65-year-old New Jersey man was killed in a Jan. 13 truck crash that occurred at a toll booth on I-78. According to police, the driver who ran into him admitted that he was drowsy and was nodding off approximately 30 minutes before the accident took place.

The deceased man had stopped his vehicle at the toll booth. A semi, driven by a 55-year-old man, slammed into a wall in the toll booth plaza that was meant to stop out-of-control vehicles. The impact caused the truck to go airborne before it landed on the other vehicle, which resulted in a fire. The 65-year-old man was trapped inside the burning vehicle and died as a result of smoke inhalation and burns. The truck driver was able to escape his truck.

The truck driver stated that he had attempted to remain awake by playing the radio and rolling down the window. He was charged with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, careless driving and reckless endangerment, among other traffic violations. His bail was set to $50,000.

Because trucks are so much larger and heavier than other vehicles, a truck accident could easily become fatal. When a fatal accident does occur, family members are often left with extensive medical bills and funeral costs. However, they may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit in order to seek financial compensation for their loss.

This type of claim is a civil claim. Civil claims can be filed even if police file or do not file criminal charges against the accused driver. The outcome of a civil suit is not reliant on the outcome of the criminal trial, so even if the driver is found to be not guilty, the family may still win their civil suit.

Source: The Morning Call, "Police charge Allentown truck driver in fatal I-78 toll booth crash", Pamela Lehman, January 23, 2014

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