One man was killed and comedian-actor Tracy Morgan was critically injured in an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike on Saturday, June 7, 2014. Police, who are investigating the accident, report that the driver of a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer hit the limo bus in which the comedian and the other man were riding after failing to notice that traffic in front of him had slowed. Though the driver’s truck was equipped with a device designed to slow the truck’s speed and notify the driver of stopped traffic ahead, no information regarding whether the system was properly operating at the time of the accident has been released.
The truck driver, who is employed by Wal-Mart and was driving for Wal-Mart at the time of the accident, is reported to have been awake for more than 24 hours when the accident occurred, though federal regulations prohibit truck drivers from driving for more than 11 hours in a row or to work more than 14 hours in a single day and require employers to give drivers at least 10 hours off between work shifts to sleep.
Liability for Vehicle-accident Injuries or Death
Vehicle accidents are often caused by the negligence of drivers, the negligence of a driver’s employer, or even a defect in a product designed to enhance the safety of a motor vehicle. Drivers who are responsible for someone’s injuries or death may be charged with criminal violations in certain cases. But, they may also face civil liability in an action for negligence or product liability brought by an injured person or by the survivors of a person who has died as a result of the accident.
If you have been injured in a vehicle accident as a result of someone’s negligence or a defect in a product, you may be entitled to damages in a civil action brought against those responsible for your injuries. An experienced accident lawyer, car-accident lawyer, truck-accident lawyer, or personal-injury lawyer can advise you of your rights and help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled under the law.
The Killino Firm’s accident attorneys, car-accident attorneys, truck-accident attorneys, and personal-injury attorneys have extensive experience with vehicle-accident cases, including those with multiple defendants and complex issues of causation and liability. Contact The Killino Firm for highly qualified assistance in obtaining justice through legal action.
Recovery for Accident Injuries through Negligence Actions
If your vehicle-accident injuries were caused by someone’s negligence, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries in a negligence action against any and all parties whose negligence was responsible for your injuries. In many cases, more than one party’s negligence may have contributed to the accident and/or to your resultant injuries.
Negligence of Drivers
The negligence of one or more drivers may contribute to an accident and a plaintiff’s resulting injuries. If, for example, a driver chooses to drive while in a fatigued condition resulting from lack of sleep, from driving for too many hours in succession, or from overwork, the driver may be found to have violated the duty of care owed to other drivers and passengers on public roadways. If the driver’s breach of the duty of care is also found to have been a proximate cause of an accident and a plaintiff’s resulting injuries, the driver may be held liable in a negligence action for the damages suffered by the plaintiff as a result.
Negligence Per Se
In some cases, the violation of certain laws by a driver who is involved in an accident may be determined to constitute negligence per se. Negligence per se allows proof of negligence, under certain conditions, without the necessity of proving 1) the existence of a duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, or 2) the breach of that duty. The plaintiff will still be required to prove the causation, injury, and damages elements in a claim of negligence per se.
Violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which prohibit truck drivers from driving more than 11 hours in a row, for example, may be found to constitute negligence per se in an action brought by a party injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of a driver who had violated that federal law. When such a federal law has been violated, the law of negligence per se assumes that the duty of care existed and that a breach of that duty of care occurred.
Negligence of Driver’s Employer
The employer of a driver may also be held liable in a negligence action for injuries sustained by a plaintiff as a result of a driver’s negligence. If, for example, an employer negligently allows its employees to drive while overly fatigued, or to drive too many hours in succession, the employer may be found directly liable for a plaintiff’s injuries if the employee-driver’s fatigue was a cause of the accident and the plaintiff’s resultant injuries.
Even if the employer’s individual negligence did not contribute to an accident and a plaintiff’s injuries, the employer may be held vicariously liable for a plaintiff’s injuries if the employee’s negligence was committed in the course of the employee’s employment.
Recovery for Accident Injuries through Product-liability Actions
A defect in a product may also cause an accident and a plaintiff’s injuries, or may contribute to an increase in a plaintiff’s injuries. The product may be a vehicle, a vehicle component, or a safety device intended to protect against injuries that might be sustained in a vehicle accident.
If a defective airbag failed to deploy and thereby contributed to an increase in a plaintiff’s injuries, for example, the manufacturer of the airbag and any individual or entity in the chain of the airbag’s distribution may be held liable in a product-liability action for the injuries sustained by the plaintiff as a result of the defect. A defect in a device intended to warn a driver that traffic ahead has slowed or stopped may also lead to liability in a product-liability action if the defect in the device is found to have been a cause of a plaintiff’s injuries.
Obtain Expert Assistance from The Killino Firm
The Killino Firm’s highly-regarded team of accident lawyers, car-accident lawyers, truck-accident lawyers, and personal-injury lawyers is here to help you. We will exhaustively investigate your case and do our utmost to see that you receive every bit of the compensation to which you are entitled under the law.