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Left-Turn Motorcycle Crash Kills Middletown Man New Jersey

Posted July 23, 2018

Motorcycle crashes often cause fatal injuries. These cases often have significant legal complications as well, which is why victims need the assistance of an experienced attorney. In a situation that’s complex, in more ways than one; a teenage driver slammed into a motorcycle as he tried to turn left across traffic.

28-year-old Richard Stevens was northbound on Route 17 at the time of the wreck. The southbound teenager, whose name was not released due to his age, tried to turn onto Arden Valley Road. However, he did not see Mr. Stevens. Even though first responders performed CPR at the scene, Mr. Stevens did not make it to the hospital.

Investigators ruled out speeding and impairment. However, they did cite the young man for making an unsafe lane change.

“Especially in the age of hurried motorists and large vehicles that limit visibility; left-turn motorcycle-vehicle crashes are quite common;” remarked New Jersey personal injury attorney Richard Foss. “In a lot of cases we work; the negligent driver said something like ‘the rider came out of nowhere so I couldn’t help but hit him.’ Juries are wise to this game. They understand that the lame excuse usually means the driver simply wasn’t looking.” The officers on scene apparently shared this viewpoint, because they faulted the driver for the crash.

The facts themselves are complex enough in a case like this. Intricate doctrines like contributory negligence, last clear chance, and sudden emergency usually pop up in these instances. There are some other complexities in the above case as well.

Note that the wreck occurred in New York, but the victim was in New Jersey. So, under typical rules, the victim’s family could file a damages claim in either jurisdiction. Usually, explained Mr. Foss, venue lies in the county where the incident occurred, or the county of the plaintiff’s residence. There are a number of factors to consider before making this decision. For example, most of the physical evidence is in Tuxedo. However, it might be more convenient for the plaintiff to file in Middletown.

There’s also the matter of the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) age. He was apparently a minor. Since minors cannot own property, he must have borrowed someone else’s car. If the owner knew that the driver was incompetent, perhaps because he did not have a drivers’ license or had a poor driving record, the owner may be responsible for damages. This rule is called negligent entrustment.

If he was driving the family car, the tortfeasor may have immunity under the family purpose doctrine. But this doctrine has limited applicability in New Jersey, which is another reason to file multi-jurisdiction cases in the Garden State. Contact us today at (732) 741-2525 to discuss your case.