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

Car accidents: Teen driver dead, 2 injured in crash with big rig

Losing a teenage child is naturally a traumatic experience for parents, especially when they do not know exactly how it happened. This might be the case in the death of a 17-year-old New Jersey girl, who died in one of those car accidents that need reconstruction to determine how it happened. Authorities report that the deadly crash occurred shortly before 9:40 a.m. on a recent Friday.

Under circumstances yet to be determined, the teenager collided with a container truck on Route 19 in Patterson. Along with her in the car were three other teens, all of whom were transported to a hospital. The conditions of two passengers were critical, and they were admitted. Reportedly, the driver soon succumbed to her injuries. There were no mention of injuries to the operator of the big rig.

The legal ramifications after such an accident depend on who was at fault. While the New Jersey civil justice system allows victims of car accidents, or surviving family members of deceased crash victims, to pursue claims for financial relief, it could be a complicated process. In a case such as this one, New Jersey's system of modified comparative negligence might come into play. Under this law, damages can only be recovered if negligence of more than 50 % can be established.

Some of the legal options in this case would be for the family of the deceased girl to file a wrongful death claim against the truck driver if his or her percentage of fault exceeds 50%. If this is so, the injured passengers can also seek damages from the trucker or his or her employer. However, if the young driver was more than 50% at fault, personal injury claims of the passengers could be filed against her estate. This is a complicated field of the law, and lawsuits might be best navigated by an attorney with extensive experience in dealing with claims that involve car accidents.

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