Recently, a 17-year-old teenaged boy from New Jersey was killed when his SUV collided with a dump truck. He was traveling in New York on Route 93 but failed to yield to a Peterbilt dump trust going west on Route 284.
The young man wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. On impact with the dump truck, he was thrown from the Toyota SUV and pronounced dead at the accident scene. The driver of the dump truck was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
This tragic case prompts us to discuss several important legal points:
- Always wear a seatbelt. According to NJ.com, New Jersey’s seat belt use is estimated at 93 percent. Failure to wear a seatbelt in New Jersey subjects you to a $46 fine.
- If you’re a New Jersey driver but you’re injured in a vehicle accident when you’re in another state, the laws of that state prevail. For instance, if the dump truck driver had failed to yield right-of-way to the Toyota SUV and the driver was injured, he would be subject to the laws of New York and not the laws of New Jersey.
- New York is considered a “no-fault” state for motor vehicle accidents. To sue or make a claim against the driver who’s at fault, at New York driver must reach the state’s “no-fault threshold.” Essentially, that threshold considers whether a serious injury occurred under the law.
- The laws of New York consider serious injury categories. For instance, a fracture is considered a serious injury. A miscarriage that occurs after an accident is serious. Scarring that resulted from burns or injuries is serious.
- The bottom line is that, in New York, the victim needs to have a “permanent partial disability” to show that a serious injury happened. At that point, he or she can pursue a legal claim for compensation for pain and suffering.
Regardless of who was at fault in the New York accident, the benefits are paid by the insurer of the vehicle the injured driver was operating. The insurer must pay for medical care, prescription medicines, lost income or wages, costs of housekeeping or transportation getting to and from doctors.
Many of us will travel to another state for vacation or to visit family members. If you’re injured by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to choose an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney. Contact Brad Spiller, Managing Partner of The Law Offices of Brenner Spiller & Archer at 856-963-5000.