Driver On Trial After Fatal Trucking Accident
After the president of a local grocery chain and a seven-year-old boy lost their lives, the driver of the truck involved in the accident is now facing criminal charges in New Jersey. Prosecutors say that the truck driver made no attempt to swerve out of the way of oncoming traffic. The driver is charged with two counts of gross negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle, two counts of criminal negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle, and four counts of operating a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle. His trial is set to begin this week.
The truck driver was traveling south when his big rig crashed through a line of traffic that was stopped at a red light waiting to make a lefthand turn. Prosecutors say that the truck driver could see the line of traffic for 37 seconds before crashing through the cars. Prosecutors say that the truck driver made no attempt to even slow down and hit the line at full speed. The driver is accused of being on his phone at the time.
The driver was an experienced truck driver. He told authorities he was on his cellphone at the time of the accident and was driving tired. The law presumes that negligence occurs when an individual either knew or should have known that their conduct was making others unsafe. When others are injured by unsafe conduct, that amounts to negligence.
Criminal versus civil negligence
Criminal charges are different from allegations made by other citizens. Criminal charges are allegations made by the state and have criminal consequences. This truck driver could spend over a decade in prison for negligently operating a vehicle that took the lives of two people and injured several more. Since he was operating his vehicle unsafely, it’s hard to imagine what, if any, defense he could muster. His attorneys will likely claim that the driver’s conduct did not rise to the “gross negligence” standard and hope to plead down to two counts of criminal negligence while operating a motor vehicle, and then four counts of operating a cellphone while driving that led to injury.
Meanwhile, the families of the deceased and the injured parties will have to wait until the criminal trial is finished to pursue civil damages against the trucker and the company they worked for. The company will be on the hook for employing the driver who committed negligence in the execution of his duties. The families will be able to sue the company to recover damages related to their grief, loss of income to their household, and any expenses that resulted from the accident.
Find a Truck Accident Attorney Near Me
If you’ve been in an accident with a commercial vehicle, the Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert can help you recover damages related to your medical expenses, lost wages, and ongoing issues related to your reduced quality of life. Call today to learn more!