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Jury verdict favors widow in wrongful death suit

A New Jersey jury awarded a widow a $2 million verdict in the wrongful death of her husband in a motorcycle accident in 2011. The jury issued the decision on Sept. 23, noting that two truck drivers were driving negligently and led to the accident.

The jury also awarded $500,000 for the deceased's fear of death, one of the largest rewards of this kind in state history. Because the jury also found the deceased motorcyclist to be somewhat negligent, however, the verdict will leave the widow with $1.7 million or so. The woman's attorney praised the jury for being considerate; the truckers' attorney insisted that the drivers were not negligent and that a legal error had occurred. When prompted for specificity, the man declined comment.

The Warren County cyclist was following a pickup truck driven by his brother-in-law on Route 287 on Sept. 1, 2011, when the brother-in-law was forced to slam on his brakes when a truck allegedly cut him off. After attempting an abrupt stop, the cyclist skidded and fell from his bike, only to be run over by another vehicle.

When a person is killed in a motorcycle accident, their surviving family members may be entitled to wrongful death compensation from the person who is believed to have caused the accident. This compensation can include burial benefits and lost wages if the deceased was supporting a family. Wrongful death claims may be more complex if multiple drivers are involved. A personal injury attorney may be able to assist survivors in establishing due liability or guiding a plaintiff through a settlement or filing process.

Source: NJ.com, "Essex County jury awards $2M verdict in fatal motorcycle crash", Bill Wichert, September 29, 2014

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