A number of serious and fatal truck accidents, including the accident in which Tracy Morgan was seriously injured, within the first two weeks of June have led to questions regarding truck safety. In New Jersey, this accident and three other truck accidents in the span of a week have led to fatalities and injuries. It appears as if fatal accidents involving heavy-duty trucks are rising, not only in New Jersey, but across the United States.
According to Wal-Mart officials, the truck that crashed into the van in which Tracy Morgan traveled was equipped with the most up-to-date systems designed to avoid collisions. However, the equipment seemed to have been useless. The investigation into the accident may still take months to complete, but authorities reported that the driver had been without sleep for 24 hours. He was charged with vehicular homicide as well as assault by auto.
These truck accidents have placed the focus on driver fatigue and the usefulness of systems designed to avoid collisions. Many are advocating more stringent rules for truck drivers, particularly to prevent driver fatigue. However, most truck drivers only earn money when the wheels of their trucks are rolling, creating a difficult situation.
Despite the outcome of the criminal case, the family of the deceased victim may consider instituting a wrongful death claim, while any seriously injured victims may choose to file personal injury claims. In New Jersey, civil claims arising from truck accidents, where the evidence suggests that negligence on the part of a driver was the root cause of the accident, may result in an award of monetary damages. These damages often include remuneration for medical bills or end-of-life expenses, loss of employment income and pain and suffering related to the accident.
Source: nj.com, “In wake of Tracy Morgan crash, rising truck fatalities lead to new scrutiny“, Ted Sherman, June 15, 2014
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