The New Jersey Turnpike is the scene of many accidents of all types. It seems that almost every day or two, a serious traffic accident happens when someone is either badly injured or killed.
The common causes of most of these accidents are the same as they are on any other stretch of congested, but fast-moving stretch of highway anywhere in the U.S.: speeding, distracted driving, fatigue, intoxication or being affected by drugs.
However, there are some accidents that just don’t make sense. One such example is the rollover accident that happened last Friday on the Turnpike in which a tractor-trailer somehow flipped over on its side, killing its driver, injuring another and potentially causing an conflagration that could have had far more serious consequences.
The accident happened fairly early on Friday morning and caused a major headache for morning commuters, but little did they realize how lucky they were that the fuel spilled during the accident did not ignite.
According to police reports, the tractor-trailer crashed into a second vehicle after tipping over. It also managed to crash through around 20 feet of guardrail on the side of the Turnpike as it careered over on to its side. The contents of the truck were spewed all over the highway, as were several hundred gallons of fuel.
The tractor-trailer driver was killed during the rollover, and the driver of the second vehicle that was hit by the truck was also reported to be injured. He was taken to hospital for examination and treatment. It is not known how badly this man was injured. There appears to be no other injuries reported as a result of the accident. The possibility of the fuel igniting was prevented when police instructed all nearby motorists to turn their engines off.
While morning commuters were seriously affected at first, they were able to use I-80 as an alternative in many cases, and the highway was fully reopened a few hours after the two vehicles and the fuel spill had been dealt with.
As with many accidents such as this that do not involve a celebrity, the media often do not follow up on what comes next: the slow and often tedious investigation into what went wrong. There should be no reason why a tractor-trailer carrying hazardous cargo should suddenly flip over on a major highway. Was the cause driver error, as it is in the vast majority of truck accidents? Was it a defect that had not yet been identified in part of the truck’s mechanism? Was there some other reason why the accident happened, such as the driver having to avert a collision with another vehicle?
The driver of the tractor-trailer may have left behind a family who will be badly missing a husband, father and son. They may also be short of cash in the weeks and months ahead, especially if the driver was a breadwinner. They will want to know what caused the crash even if it is just to put their minds at rest.
This accident also affected another person, who as far as is known at this stage, was not the cause of the accident. If this man was badly injured, he and his family may be wondering how he may be able to cope with medical bills that were unforeseen, as well as the potential loss of earnings.
All accident victims who are seriously injured or killed as a result of negligence may be eligible to pursue a personal injury claim against whoever is believed to be at fault. This sort of legal action, if successful, helps to keep driver behavior in check to a certain extent and also, more importantly, helps victims and their families cope with the financial burden of the injuries involved and the psychological and emotional trauma that accompanies it.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident or some other type of vehicle accident, and it was due to someone else’s fault, you should consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to see if you can claim a just amount of compensation from the person at fault.
Richard S. Jaffe Esq. is a New York and Long Island based personal injury attorney with extensive experience in wrongful death claims. Contact him for a free consultation at the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe LLP, 2001 Marcus Avenue, Suite W295, Lake Success, NY 11042. Phone: 516-358-6900 or toll free: 800-483-6149.