According to The Daily Record, the 47-year-old motorcyclist, married for 27 years, died within minutes of being struck on Route 15 in the city of Jefferson. The teen was reportedly attempting to cross the road shortly after 5 p.m., but she entered the roadway at the same time the motorcyclist was passing.
The girl has not as of this writing been charged with any criminal offense, although she was issued a summons for unsafe lane change. She was also cited for having three other teens in the vehicle at the time of the crash, which is a violation of the state’s graduated driver’s license program. Additionally, there was no red decal her vehicle’s license plate to indicate she was a teenage driver, a requirement of Kyleigh’s Law. New Jersey is the only state to have a law requiring teenage driver decals, with the goal of making young drivers readily identifiable to police. This law additionally sets a curfew of 11 p.m. for those driving with a learner’s permit, it limits the amount of passengers who can ride in a car with a teen driver and bars motorists from the use of handheld electronic devices.
Whether distraction played a role in the death of Richard Mark Bianculli Sr. remains to be seen. What we do know is that this driver had three teen passengers in the vehicle at a time when she was restricted to just one passenger (let alone youthful passengers) unless she had a parent or guardian in the vehicle, which was not the case. Because she was driving her father’s vehicle, he may be found vicariously liable solely for that reason. However, he might be found directly negligent for failing to ensure the decals were on the vehicle and failing to properly supervise his daughter in limiting the number of passengers in the car. It is alleged he negligently entrusted the vehicle to his daughter, knowing she was going to be in violation of state law.
The lawsuit alleges the teen failed to use reasonable care owed to the victim and that because of her reported recklessness and negligence, the victim, a truck driver, was injured severely, suffered considerable pain and mental anguish, and consequently died soon after the impact due to the injuries he sustained.
His widow, son and stepson are seeking monetary losses and are also claiming loss of consortium.
That this lawsuit was filed so soon after the crash is somewhat unusual, but not unheard of, particularly in wrongful death lawsuits in which liability is fairly straightforward. With personal injury lawsuits, sometimes claims are not filed right away because victims and their attorneys need enough time to fully and adequately ascertain the full extent of the injuries and damages. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the full extent of the damage is already known because the victim died. Further, we know who was driving and we have a pretty strong indication of who was at-fault. In a situation like that, there is no reason to wait to file the claim.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Lawsuit filed against teen cited in Jefferson fatal motorcycle crash, Aug. 10, 2016, By Peggy Wright, The Daily Record
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