Motor vehicle accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death. Every driver, passenger and pedestrian is aware of this risk and has a duty to prevent accidents where possible by being attentive and careful in their actions. A failure to do so can lead to significant liability if they case injury to others as a result.
A New Jersey man is facing multiple criminal charges stemming from a fatal accident with another driver. The man was involved in an initial accident with a different driver in which no injuries occurred. He left the scene of that accident, but was soon stopped by police. He then fled from the traffic stop and collided with the victim’s vehicle shortly thereafter. The victim died as a result of the collision and the man struck two additional vehicles before being apprehended. He is alleged to have been speeding at the time of the fatal collision. He faces charges of vehicular homicide, manslaughter and eluding police.
When the negligence or misconduct of a person or company results in the death of another, it is considered a wrongful death. To be successful in a wrongful death action, the plaintiff must show that there was the death of a person, caused by someone else’s negligence, family members of the victim that were damaged financially and a personal representative appointed to the victim’s estate. A wrongful death can arise from many circumstances including medical malpractice, criminal actions and car accidents, among others.
If the plaintiff is successful in bringing such an action, the amount of damages to which they are entitled is typically equivalent to the pecuniary value of the victim’s life. In certain situations, a jury can also assess punitive damages to punish severe wrongful acts and deter others from doing the same. Many states do not allow such damages, but some have statutes specifically allowing them under certain circumstances. Plaintiffs finding themselves in a situation in which they may bring a wrongful death action should consult a personal injury attorney to assist them with their case and achieve the highest damage award possible.