A minor fender bender typically ends with an exchange of information and perhaps an apology. That was not the case on a recent Friday morning on the New Jersey Turnpike when a police lieutenant died while assisting another motorist. Car accidents of this nature are becoming more common because many drivers do not move over for emergency vehicles.
Officials say the 49-year-old police officer was driving to work when he was involved in a car accident with a delivery truck. Authorities reported that the officer was outside of his car assisting the other driver when he was struck by a pickup truck. Reportedly, the impact was so powerful that he died at the scene. The Jersey City mayor described the man as a devoted police officer whose first concern was to save others, and that is what he was doing when he died.
A 23-year veteran with a natural policing ability, he earned 40 meritorious service awards and commendations. He was one of the most decorated police officers on a force of over 900 officers in Jersey City. The union president said this is a tremendous loss for the department and the entire city. The police chief spoke with his wife and three children to make sure they understood their father died a hero.
In car accidents such as this one, a victim's surviving family typically has a number of financial concerns to confront along with their grief. In this circumstance, it appears that grounds exist for a wrongful death claim against the pickup truck driver. While nothing can undo the events that have already occurred, a successful claim for monetary damages in a New Jersey civil court could hep the family deal with the financial consequences of the tragedy.
Source: CBS New York, "Jersey City Police Lieutenant Dies After Being Hit By Vehicle", Ethan Harp, Jan. 5, 2018