What is the typical timeline for a wrongful death lawsuit in New Jersey?
Wrongful death lawsuits allow for surviving immediate family members to recover the actual expenses – as well as pain and suffering – associated with the unexpected death of a loved one due to the negligence of another. From a policy perspective, wrongful death lawsuits are available to ensure a responsible party does not escape liability due to the mere fact the plaintiff died as a result of the incident. From a practical point of view, these cases are vital to ensure family members are adequately compensated for the emotional and financial consequences of a tragic accident.
New Jersey family settles with cycling race organizers
In 2013, a cycling race known as the Tour de Fair Haven was held in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. The victim, a local firefighter and avid cycling fan, participated in the race every year – which was organized by USA Cycling and sponsored by several well-known cycling companies.
On the fateful day of the victim’s life-ending injuries, the victim was riding approximately 30 mph when a series of miscommunication between racing officials resulted in his collision with a moving vehicle. Allegedly, the pace car – which is required to have a driver and one passenger, as well as a walkie-talkie – was traveling yards in front of the victim. When the pace car passed the chief referee, he noticed that the vehicle did not contain the requisite number of passengers and was not properly equipped with the two way radio.
At that point, the chief referee made a hand gesture to indicate to the driver that he intended to throw a walkie-talkie into the vehicle. This gesture was misunderstood by the pace car driver, and the device landed on the ground. When the referee attempted to retrieve the device, he collided with the victim who was thrown from his cycle and fell face-first into the pavement – directly in front of his family. After 14 days in an induced coma, he succumbed to his injures and passed away on October 2, 2013.
Citing improper protocol and negligent misconduct on the part of race organizers and referees, the surviving family members initiated a wrongful death lawsuit against several defendants. As a result, the decedent’s widow and young children received a $7.1 million settlement just days before the trial was set to begin.