Fatal Car Accident Lawsuit Settles for $1.2M

Last year, a 78-year-old driver barreled through the front of a Wendy’s restaurant in New Jersey, striking an 89-year-old customer, who died nearly three weeks later. broken glass

Now, NJ.com reports the victim’s daughter has settled a lawsuit against the 79-year-old defendant for $1.2 million. The lawsuit alleged the elderly victim suffered both physical and emotional injuries, as well as great pain, anguish, suffering, and permanent injuries that ultimately led to his premature death. His family reportedly incurred sizable medical bills for his care during the last weeks of his life.

In addition to the driver, the lawsuit named as a defendant her husband, accusing him not just of vicarious liability for having ownership of the vehicle, but of negligently, carelessly, or recklessly entrusting his wife with that vehicle.

Although the defendant didn’t face any criminal charges in connection with the crash, she was cited for careless driving and was ultimately found guilty. The court imposed the highest penalty it could for that citation:  a $200 fine.

At the trial on the careless driving citation, video surveillance evidence taken from the store showed the defendant’s sport utility vehicle slamming into the front of the building before careening into a line of people who were waiting at the counter – including the victim in this case. The driver then put the vehicle in reverse and backed up slightly before stopping.

The victim’s family told a reporter they are “relieved” that this chapter in their lives has passed. They said it had put them through great emotional turmoil, constantly reliving the tragedy. The medical bills that piled up, they said, paled in comparison to the loss of the loving husband, father, and grandfather they lost that day.

One point with which the family say they are not satisfied is the fact that the defendant in this case still has her driver’s license. It was not revoked by the judge who found her guilty in the careless driving case. He didn’t order additional motor vehicle testing because by that point, it was reported, she’d already re-passed all those examinations on her own. The family told a reporter they are equally upset that she refused to voluntarily relinquish it. They said that her refusal to accept responsibility for the car accident has been painful, and their only hope is that insurance companies that ultimately pay out these damages awards will take note and refuse to insure drivers who show such grave incompetence in causing fatal crashes. They say they plan to lobby the legislature for action so that other families won’t have to live through the kind of pain they have endured.

In North Carolina, drivers over the age of 66 are required to renew their driver’s license in person, and they must do so every five years. (Younger drivers may do so every eight years.) The in-person renewal does require a vision test, as well as a traffic sign test. Road tests are only required if an impairment is indicated. The state also accepts and acts on requests from family members and even acquaintances for the Department of Motor Vehicles to conduct safe driver investigations.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Lawsuit against driver in fatal N.J. Wendy’s crash settled for $1.2M, Sept. 27, 2016, By Jonathan Lin, The Jersey Journal

More Blog Entries:

N.C. Supreme Court: DOT Still Liable for Triple Fatal Car Accident, Sept. 30, 2016, Winston-Salem Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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