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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Teen Driver Who Allegedly Violated State Graduated Licensing Law

A New Jersey teenager and her father have been named in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from fatal motorcycle crash in June.

The 17-year-old girl struck the rear of the motorcycle as she attempted to cross Route 15 at the same time the 47-year-old motorcyclist was passing. The motorcyclist died of multiple blunt force injuries within minutes of the crash, according to the death certificate.

The teen has not been charged with any criminal offense, but was cited for making an unsafe lane change and having three other teens in the vehicle at the time of the crash, a violation of New Jersey’s graduated driver’s license program. She also did not have a red decal on the license plate of her vehicle indicating she was a teen driver, as required by Kyleigh’s Law. New Jersey is the only one to have a teen driver decal law. The law also sets an 11 p.m. curfew for drivers with a learner’s permit, restricts the number of passengers to one, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, and bars teen drivers from using handheld electronic devices.

The lawsuit alleges that as a result of the teen’s negligence and recklessness, the motorcyclist was severely injured, suffered great pain and mental anguish and ultimately died soon after impact as a result of his injuries. His widow, son and stepson are seeking undisclosed compensation and asserting loss of consortium. The lawsuit contends that her father, the owner of the vehicle, “negligently entrusted operation of the vehicle” to his daughter and he allegedly knew she was driving in violation of the state’s graduated license law.

Losing a loved one unexpectedly can be extremely difficult and painful. Even when liability appears straightforward, the case can drag on for months, even years. The wait will often put victims in a financial predicament. Do they accept the insurance company’s inadequate settlement offer to avoid pay the bills and possibly avoid home foreclosure?

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