Nicole Greco of Chester Killed, Daniel Clark of Scotch Plains Injured In Essex County Tractor-Trailer Truck Accident On Interstate 280 In West Orange
ESSEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY (September 16, 2021) – A woman identified as Nicole Greco has died and a second driver identified as Daniel Clark was injured in a West Orange semi-truck accident on Interstate 280 West.
New York State Police are saying that the collision took place around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. A tractor-trailer truck struck the rear of Nicole Greco’s Scion which then caused a chain-reaction crash with other vehicles.
The force of the impact pushed the Scion into the back of a Hyundai SUV driven by Daniel Clark. That vehicle was then pushed into the back of a Toyota Camry which was then pushed into a Honda Accord.
Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help all of the injured. First responders were able to extricate Nicole Greco from her Scion, but she later died due to the severity of her injuries.
Daniel Clark, 36, of Scotch Plains was transported to the hospital with moderate injuries. Police interviewed the driver of the big rig truck who remained at the scene.
A full investigation into the fatal Essex County collision remains ongoing at this time.
Liability In East Orange Semi-Truck Accidents
In 2019 alone, over 5,000 commercial trucks were involved in fatal collisions. The number of collisions went down for 2020 as large numbers of people were quarantining or working from home. As the economy opened up, there has been an unfortunate uptick in fatal collisions with commercial trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has done an analysis of thousands of different truck crashes. They’ve found the vast majority of crashes were preceded by one of three critical events.
- In 32% of crashes truck drivers ran out of room in their travel lane, either by going into another lane or off the road.
- In 29% of crashes the driver of the truck lost control either due to speeding, cargo shift, poor road conditions or vehicle system failures.
- In 22% of crashes the truck driver collided with the rear of another vehicle in their own lane.
Various courts in New York have held that there is a rebuttable presumption of negligence on any driver that strikes the rear of a vehicle slowing down or stopped. Even if a driver were to abruptly stop for slowing traffic, the driver that rear-ended them would still typically be held at fault. Drivers may not be liable for a rear-end collision if, for example, another vehicle were to suddenly veer into their lane.
According to New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1129, “The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.” Maintaining the speed limit and a typical follow distance could be hazardous if the roads are icy. To that end, what is prudent under one set of conditions may not be prudent under a different set of conditions.
If a truck driver hits a stopped vehicle, liability may also flow to their employer. As a general principle, companies are liable for the negligent actions of their employees – insofar as those employees were working within the course and scope of their job duties. However, truck companies will typically try to limit their liability by hiring drivers as “independent contractors.” Accordingly, it is important to determine the status of a truck driver at the time of a collision.
Depending on the specific facts of any case, liability for a truck accident could extend past a truck driver or their employer. For example, the company responsible for maintaining or loading a truck could potentially be liable for a truck collision. Brake failures or other catastrophic failures could easily result from a lack of proper maintenance. Similarly, if a truck is overloaded beyond its approved capacity this could make slowing down more difficult and contribute to a rear-end collision. Victims of truck accidents tend to suffer very serious and costly injuries including:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Organ damage
The family of any victim that died in a truck accident may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover some of the unexpected expenses that often follow an accident including medical bills, lost wages and funeral costs. Sadly, truck companies will often fight extremely hard to evade responsibility for a crash. A truck accident attorney can investigate all of the unique facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal rights are. There are, however, statute of limitations associated with civil claims. Failing to act within the statute of limitations may result in a permanent forfeiture of your rights.
Investigating The Essex County Semi-Truck Accident That Killed Nicole Greco And Injured Daniel Clark
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Nicole Greco. It is our sincere hope that Daniel Clark and everyone else who was injured will be able to make a full recovery. Any person that may have information about what happened should reach out to Essex County police officials. It is our sincere hope that there is some accountability after this highly preventable and tragic crash.
This collision also raises a number of important safety questions. Why did this truck driver not stop for the slowing traffic? Were they distracted? Did they receive adequate training? Traffic laws and regulations for commercial drivers are not a suggestion. They are crucial for keeping our roads safe. Far too often expeditious trips and profits are valued over safety. It is sadly innocent bystanders that often pay for this with their bodies and lives.