Defendants named in Salem wrongful death suit

In late June, a wrongful death suit was filed on behalf of a Danvers, Massachusetts, teenager who was killed in a car accident in Salem earlier that same month. The lawsuit names the driver of the car in which the 19-year-old was riding and a company that owns a tow truck that the car ran into as defendants.

The complaint says the 25-year-old driver of the car was drunk when she slammed into the back of the empty tow truck in the early morning hours of June 16. The wrongful death lawsuit also states that the flatbed truck the car crashed into was illegally parked at the top of a dangerous incline.

The victim died at the scene of the crash. Police charged the female driver with motor vehicle homicide while driving drunk and other charges.

The plaintiffs’ attorney said negligence on behalf of both parties is to blame for the fatal accident. He said the female driver was negligent for driving under the influence of alcohol and the tow truck owner was negligent for breaking city ordinances that prohibit overnight parking on the street where the accident occurred.

The attorney also asserted that if the truck owner had followed the parking rules, the fatality might have been avoided.

The owner of the tow company said he believes he is being targeted because the alleged drunk driver has little insurance coverage. He claims the accident was solely the fault of the car driver who hit the tow truck. The angry business owner told a reporter he had never had a problem during the two decades he’d lived there.

A jury may have to determine if either one or both of the defendants are liable for the teen’s death. In personal injury cases involving joint liability, the amount of damages each party is liable for depends on the proportion of liability assigned to each defendant.

For example, if Defendant A is determined to be 40 percent liable for and accident and Defendant B is 60 percent liable for an accident, Defendant A will pay 40 percent of the damage award while Defendant B will be responsible for 60 percent.

Source: The Salem News, “Suit filed over teen’s death in June crash,” Julie Manganis, July 4, 2012