All people who operate motor vehicles have the responsibility to drive carefully under the given conditions. In personal injury law, this is referred to as due care or duty of reasonable care. Drivers are held to the standard of what a reasonable, prudent, and careful individual would do in the same circumstances. In today’s fast-paced world, however, many drivers tend to speed and become distracted behind the wheel, causing them to hit parked vehicles or stationary objects.
Two people sustained injuries and were taken to the hospital on March 15 after a car struck a disabled vehicle on the New Jersey Turnpike southbound. According to reports, a red Honda Accord driven by 25-year-old Warren Vannata of Cookstown was traveling on the right shoulder of the road at around 6 p.m. when the driver rear-ended a disabled white Saab waiting for a tow. Gretchen Sprafke of Bryan Mawr, PA was exiting the Saab when the Accord struck it. The Saab then struck Sparfke and the tow truck.
The early Saturday evening crash caused Gretchen Sprafke, 46, to suffer injuries. She was flown by a medevac helicopter to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Brunswick. Vanatta was taken to a hospital by ambulance for observation and was released shortly after. Police are still investigating why Vannata hit the disabled Saab.
When people get behind the wheel, they have the responsibility to avoid collisions. If another car is disabled or parked, the only person who has the capacity to avoid a collision is the operator of the moving car. Drivers just can’t plow through parked vehicles that restrict their access without expecting to be liable.
The reason why the driver of the Honda Accord hit the disabled Saab remains under investigation. If the driver acted with blatant disregard for the safety of others, law enforcement may prosecute the driver. The criminal justice system, however, is limited when it comes to providing financial restitution to injured victims. Whether or not the driver is criminally charged for causing injuries, the victim may pursue a personal injury claim based on negligence in order to recover damages. When negligence rises to the level of reckless endangerment, the injured victim may be awarded additional punitive damages to punish the reckless driver.
Negligent drivers are legally accountable for the wrecks they create and the injuries they cause. Once negligence has been proven, the injured have the right to be compensated including medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and any other loss. An experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney can help injured victims obtain the compensation they deserve.