Driving on the freeway gives many drivers anxiety behind the wheel. After all, with several lanes of traffic whizzing by on either side, often at speeds greater than 70 mph, it can make any driver a little uneasy. One wrong move made by another driver can lead to a car accident in the blink of an eye. It seems a recent car accident on New Jersey's I-280 involved at least a dozen vehicles.
Bobcats are small versions of larger front-end loaders, and they are familiar sights whenever heavy lifting is required in small spaces. The handy little vehicles generally do not travel on highways in New Jersey, and they are seldom involved in motor vehicle accidents. A tragic exception occurred on March 4, 2019, when a Bobcat was being used to remove snow from a footbridge on Route 208 in Passaic County.
Yellow school buses are generally regarded as a benign presence on New Jersey's roads and highways, but occasionally they become involved in serious motor vehicle accidents.
Trucks traveling on interstate highways often appear to be invulnerable to people who are driving sedans and SUVs. These trucks travel at high speeds, and their size makes them seem impervious to harm in a collision. Unfortunately, when trucks collide with other trucks, they yield to the same laws of physics that govern all traffic accidents. A recent accident on I-95 near Teaneck, New Jersey, shows how one large truck can seriously damage another large truck and cause fatal results.
Many newspaper reports on traffic accidents in New Jersey describe the chronology of the accident in great detail, but many such reports end with the words, "The cause of the accident is under investigation." What is being investigated? Who is doing the investigation? Why is the investigation still underway? The answers to these questions depend upon the number of vehicles involved, where the accident happened, how many people were injured or killed and which police department has jurisdiction.
Personal injury law in New Jersey and elsewhere is based on the concept of "negligence." The law expects people to use reasonable care in their daily activities. A person who fails to use reasonable care is deemed to have been negligent, and that person is liable for the damages caused by their negligent act or omission. But what happens if both parties are negligent? Prior to the 1950s, a person whose negligence contributed to a motor vehicle accident could not recover damages from any other negligent person, even if the second person's negligence far exceeded that of the plaintiff.
State troopers in New Jersey witness a great many fatal traffic accidents in their careers, and most of them develop emotional shields to protect their sanity. Occasionally, however, the circumstances of a particular accident pierce this shield and haunt a trooper's memories for a long time. A motor vehicle accident on I-78 in Berks County had that effect on several troopers that were at the scene.
According to multiple news reports, a woman and a child were killed in Chester, New Jersey, when a tractor-trailer smashed into an SUV driven by a third person. The accident is still being investigated by law enforcement officials, but it appears that the truck driver was at fault. If that proves to be the case, the injured SUV driver may have a claim for medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent injuries. But, what about the woman and the child who were killed?
New Jersey law requires bars and other establishments that serve intoxicating beverages to assume liability if they serve someone who is obviously intoxicated and that person then becomes involved in a traffic accident. A bar in Belmar recently agreed to pay $1.5 million to the estate of a young woman who was killed in an motor vehicle accident caused by a person served by the bar.
The Association for Safe International Road Travel reports that more than 37,000 individuals nationwide lose their lives in motor vehicle crashes each year. Moreover, 2.35 million individuals suffer injuries due to auto accidents. While these statistics are certainly sobering, the statistics regarding motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey may be of greater concern to residents of the state.