A wrongful death claim may arise from a single-vehicle wreck if the automobile has a passenger at the time of the crash. If the driver operates recklessly and the vehicle goes off the road, strikes a tree, or overturns, and a passenger dies, the family members of the deceased have a legitimate wrongful death claim against the negligent driver.
A fatal early morning accident on April 20 caused a Howell woman, 26, to be thrown into the river at the Belmar Marina after she was ejected from the vehicle in which she was riding. The victim was the only passenger in a Honda Civic operated by a 22-year-old Howell man when the crash occurred at 2:08 a.m.
According to the report, the car was entering Route 35 from Eight Avenue when it collided with a Kia Forte traveling north. The Honda Civic struck a curb, overturned, crashed into a pole, went airborne, hit a pickup, and stopped at a fence near the river. The passenger was ejected from the vehicle and landed in the water. She was rushed to a hospital, where she died almost an hour later. The driver sustained a head laceration and was also transported for medical treatment.
Authorities are still investigating this fatal single-vehicle crash in Belmar. The report did not mention whether alcohol was involved and whether the passenger had been wearing a seatbelt, but the fact that she was ejected makes it obvious that she was not. If it is found that the driver was driving recklessly or carelessly, such as driving drunk or while distracted, he will be held legally liable for the passenger’s death.
Because passengers are rarely at fault for traffic accidents, the family of the deceased is likely to have a wrongful death claim against the driver. If the passenger was not wearing a seatbelt, the family’s claim may be affected. Both car drivers and passengers are required to wear seatbelts, and an injured car occupant not wearing one is considered to have contributed to his or her own injuries. The surviving family members will fully understand their rights after discussing their case with a New Jersey car accident attorney.