Authorities have charged the driver of a dump truck that rear-ended a car at a red light with death by auto. The force of the crash pushed both vehicles across a park and ended with the car submerged in a Lawrence lake beneath the truck, resulting in the death of the 58-year-old Trenton man who was driving the car.

The dump truck driver, a 38-year-old Westhampton man, was injured in the July 17 accident and was admitted to a hospital for treatment. His bail has been set at $250,000.

According to prosecutors, witnesses reported that the dump truck was traveling very fast and moving erratically before crashing into the stopped car. A spokesperson for the company that owned the dump truck declined to comment on the crash. The investigation into the accident was continuing.

In a fatal truck accident such as this, investigators generally will examine the scene, question witnesses, and look into the condition of the vehicles involved in the crash as well as examine whether the driver at fault may have been fatigued, inattentive or even unqualified. They may consider the trucking log and whether the company that owned the truck was adhering to all federal trucking regulations and proper maintenance procedures.

Even when the truck driver is criminally charged, as in this case, the family of the deceased driver may be able to pursue a claim for wrongful death in civil court. Whether or not the charged driver is convicted, an experience personal injury lawyer can assist the bereaved family by examining the police reports and other evidence to determine whether there is a reasonable case for a wrongful death claim against either the truck driver or the trucking company. In a successful claim, the family could recover compensation for damages.

Source: FOX News, "Dump truck driver charged in fatal accident in which car wound up submerged in New Jersey lake", July 18, 2014