Multiple collisions among a passenger van, car, truck, and a livestock trailer resulted in the deaths of three people on the night of Saturday, November 28, 2015.
Twelve additional people sustained injuries. The deadly crash occurred in the eastbound lanes of I-287 in Bernards Township, Somerset County. Police officers are still investigating the crash; so far, no criminal charges have been filed.
Chain reaction began with livestock trailer
Shortly before 10:30 p.m., a 43-year-old trucker from Maine pulled over along the interstate. Troy Chase was driving a Dodge Ram and towing a cattle trailer. According to police, Chase had pulled over to the right shoulder to make some repairs to the trailer. Then, a Hyundai Elantra struck the trailer. The driver, Ravi Naik, a 23-year-old man, pulled over to check on the damage. He and Chase were standing outside their vehicles when a passenger van allegedly drifted over onto the right shoulder. The van collided with the guardrail and struck the cattle trailer, the truck, and the Hyundai Elantra. The van fatally collided with Naik, who was later pronounced dead at Morristown Medical Center.
Police identified the driver of the passenger van as Xu Feng Ma. He was driving 12 passengers who ranged in age from 18 to 64. Two of those passengers did not survive the crash. Xu and his passengers had been heading to their homes after working at the Ling Ling Restaurant in Basking Ridge, a Chinese restaurant popular with locals.
Twelve of the crash victims were taken to local hospitals for medical evaluation and treatment. Details about their conditions were not released; however, it is known that at least several of the men were in intensive care.
Obtaining compensation in a no-fault state
Should any of the victims or the deceased victims’ family members decide to pursue compensation, a personal injury lawyer can determine which parties might be held liable. However, car accident victims may not necessarily need to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation. In fact, New Jersey is a no-fault car insurance state. This means that car crash victims will likely first file a claim with their own insurance carriers. This is known as a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim.
Under certain circumstances, car accident victims may file a “mini-tort” claim, which is payable by the other driver’s car insurance carrier. There is an established maximum that may be paid with a mini-tort claim. The victim’s car insurance carrier may deduct mini-tort proceeds from the payout that it must make. If a car crash victim’s total damages exceed a certain threshold, then that person may choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, without experienced legal representation, it may be difficult to establish liability in a multi-vehicle crash.
Accident victims and their families can learn about their legal rights and options with help from New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Eisbrouch Marsh, who have been representing residents of Bergen County, Hackensack, Paramus and Northern NJ for more than 20 years.
You can schedule a free case evaluation by calling our office at 201-342-5545.
- The New York Times, 3 Killed and 12 Injured in Crash Involving Cattle Trailer in New Jersey, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/30/nyregion/3-killed-and-12-injured-in-crash-involving-cattle-trailer-in-new-jersey.html?_r=0
- ABC7, 3 dead, 12 injured in chain-reaction crash involving livestock trailer on I-287 in New Jersey, http://abc7ny.com/traffic/3-dead-in-new-jersey-crash-involving-car-van-trailer-carrying-livestock/1102907/