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Bus driver sentenced in New Jersey hit-and-run accident

A 61-year-old man died after being hit by a bus in a New Jersey airport parking lot in 2012. The bus driver was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and he was sentenced to almost one year of jail time on Sept. 9. According to counsel for the man's wife, a lawsuit against the bus driver and the Port Authority is being pursued.

The bus driver, 48, was sentenced according to a plea agreement and will serve a 364-day sentence, 150 hours of community service and three years of probation. The judge made it clear during sentencing that leaving someone for dead at the scene of an accident was wrong.

The hit-and-run accident occurred in the P-6 parking lot at Newark Liberty International Airport around 4 a.m. According to a prosecutor's office representative, the bus driver, who transported passengers between parking lots and the airport terminals, struck the man and then exited his bus and checked the man's pulse. Several minutes after driving away, according to court records, the bus driver called his dispatcher and reported someone lying on the pavement whom he thought might be impaired. Allegedly, he never mentioned striking the man.

In a case like this, a wrongful death suit may be based on the driver's negligent behavior. It might also name the company he worked for in the suit as an employer is responsible for their employee's actions while on the job. If conditions in the parking lot played a part in the accident, the property owner may be named.

In a similar case, an attorney may review the accident data and determine who contributed to the man's death. The attorney may then file a suit to recover damages incurred by the family, such as lost wages, loss of companionship and funeral expenses.

Source: NJ.com, "Bus driver gets 364 days in jail for leaving scene of fatal crash at Newark airport", Bill Wichert, September 09, 2014

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