A driver hit and killed a New Jersey state trooper as he investigated a car fire in Deptford Township.
31-year-old Sean Cullen had responded to a two-vehicle injury collision on Interstate 295 shortly after dark. Without warning, a passing motorist collided with the trooper, who was standing near the disabled vehicles. Trooper Cullen was transported to a nearby hospital with a severe head injury. He clung to life for several hours as his fellow officers and family members kept vigil, but he shortly succumbed to his injuries and died. The 22-year-old driver, who remained at the scene and cooperated with authorities, is not likely to be charged.
She was also transported to a local hospital along with another woman; their names were not released.
New York is one of a handful of states with no-fault insurance that pays economic losses in non-serious collisions. This system is designed to expedite these claims and keep them from clogging the courts. But 5102(d) of the New York Insurance Law defines “serious injury” in very broad terms, and victims who suffer any personal injury that falls into one of these categories are entitled to compensation for their noneconomic damages, like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and emotional distress.
- Disfigurement: Any visible scar on any exposed part of the body qualifies as a serious injury; most juries award even higher damages for female victims.
- Dismemberment: In this context, dismemberment is normally associated with severe trauma injuries that take weeks or months to heal properly.
- Fracture: Any broken bone, whether or not it requires surgery and metal implants, is a serious injury.
- Paralysis: This term is broadly defined to include the loss of limb or digit, the loss of use in such a body part, or internal organs which lose some or all of their function.
- 90/180 Rule: Any “medically determined injury or impairment” that has any measurable effect on everyday activities for at least 90 days in the 180 days after the incident qualifies as a serious injury; since most people have “good days” and “bad days,” the 90 days do not need to be consecutive.
Motorcycle crashes and pedestrian knock-downs are normally exempt from the no-fault law, due to the inherently serious nature of these incidents.
For prompt assistance in this area, contact aggressive personal injury attorneys in Manhattan. You have a limited amount of time to act.