People who spend more time on roadways in the course of their jobs face a higher risk of motor vehicle collisions. Drivers of tractor trailers and delivery, tow, and other commercial trucks are more likely to be involved in incidents than regular drivers as they get behind the wheel more often. The demands of their jobs can cause fatigue, leading to accidents. A recent one in Howell resulted in the death of a tow truck driver.
On March 21, a 42-year-old man from Toms River was completing his last call for a towing company when he was killed after his 1999 Chevrolet flat bed truck collided with another vehicle in Howell Township around 1:10 a.m. The towing company said it was the operator’s last day at the company because he was moving. According to reports, the man was driving southbound on Route 9 at the intersection of Hulses Road when his vehicle rear-ended a Ford E350 box truck. The tow truck went out of control and struck the concrete center median.
The towing operator was wearing a seatbelt, but reports said he suffered internal injuries. Paramedics administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the crash scene before transporting him to Kimball Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. The 25-year-old box truck driver was treated for injuries that police described as minor. Results of the police investigation are still pending.
In such collisions, it is immediately presumed that fault lies with the driver who rear-ends another vehicle, unless the driver of the rear-ended vehicle came to an unexpected, sudden stop. If the family of the tow truck driver decides to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, they must satisfy the court that the crash did not occur as a result of negligence.
The fatal accident in Howell occurred at 1:10 a.m., which makes fatigue driving or falling asleep at the wheel a possibility. If the tow truck driver is found negligent, the rear-ended driver may pursue a personal injury claim against the insurance company of the towing operator, the towing company, or the decedent’s estate. If poor lighting or dangerous road conditions, such as potholes, caused the rear-ended driver to make an unexpected stop, both drivers may make a claim against the government entity responsible for maintaining the road. A personal injury attorney will work with accident reconstruction experts to determine what caused the collision that killed the tow truck driver.