May 11, 2017 by personalinjuryatty.com
A 51-year-old man in a Toyota was stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike due to an earlier accident, when a waste disposal truck driver struck the man’s car in the rear with great force. As a consequence of the accident, the man suffered a massive head trauma, and probably experienced a few seconds of conscious pain and suffering before he died.
The family of the Toyota driver argued that the truck driver failed to sufficiently slow down as he approached traffic that was stopped on the NJ Turnpike because of a prior accident.
Although it has been reported by New Jersey.com that deaths on the New Jersey Turnpike are declining, in 2013, 9 people still lost their lives there. “There were nine deadly accidents on the Turnpike for the entire year — down from 24 the year before — and no accidents that resulted in multiple deaths… Of the nine deaths, one victim was on a motorcycle and three victims were on foot, he said.”
According to the Automobile Association of America (AAA) New Jersey, the Move Over Law mandates that when approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle and traveling in the same direction vehicles must move over to a non-adjacent lane if possible, or slow down.
Signs had been posted on the turnpike that warned motorists to slow down. Had the case proceeded to trial, the family would have presented witnesses to state that the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed before slowing down, and that the witnesses believed that an accident was unavoidable. The witnesses would have noted that the man appeared to be breathing and making noises for a short time after the accident. An expert internist would have stated that it was likely that the man experienced conscious pain and suffering as a result of the accident.
The truck driver would have asserted that the family’s claims should be rejected and would have claimed that man did not regain consciousness before succumbing. The man was separated and left two minor children. The family’s economist would have discussed economic losses to the children that approximated $330,000.
The family also said that they were a very close-knit group and that the loss of guidance and advice under Green vs. Bitner was very substantial. According to the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center, Green vs. Bitner damages entitles the plaintiff to recover damages under N.J.S.A. 2a:31-1, Et Seq. for pecuniary [monetary] loss sustained for the loss of companionship, advice and guidance.
The case settled prior to trial for $1,875,000.