Following a trial, jurors in Newark returned with a $2 million verdict in a case involving two truck drivers and a man driving a motorcycle. In 2011, the man was following his brother-in-law on Route 287 in Bridgewater. The truck drivers crossed into the center lane in front of the brother-in-law, cutting him off and forcing him to slam on his brakes.
The 39-year-old motorcyclist in turn slammed on his brakes and fell from his bike. He was then killed when another vehicle struck him on the road. His brother-in-law, although initially named in the lawsuit, was found to not share any fault and his part of the case was later dismissed.
While the jury's total verdict was $2 million, the motorcyclist's widow will collect approximately $1.7 million as the jury found the motorcyclist shared some comparative negligence in the crash. The jury still assigned a majority of blame to the two truck drivers that caused the chain of events leading to the man's death. The attorney of the driver who ran the motorcyclist over had no comment about the verdict or jury award.
In New Jersey motorcycle accidents, it is not uncommon for partial responsibility to be assigned to the victim while a majority is assigned to the drivers deemed primarily responsible. Even for victims who demonstrate a small amount of comparative negligence, their families still may be able to recover for their losses. Families may be able to recover for many different types of damages, including non-economic ones for pain and suffering in addition to actual financial expenses and losses resulting from the accident.
Source: NJ.com, "Essex County jury awards $2M verdict in fatal motorcycle crash", Bill Wichert, September 29, 2014