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Essex County family files wrongful death suit against driver

An Essex County family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a driver who was convicted of killing their mother by vehicular homicide.

The complaint maintains that the family of a then 48-year-old woman has been deprived of their mother's parental nurturing, support and maintenance after the Sept. 17, 2011, accident.

The victim was a widow who was crossing the street when she was struck and killed by a Nutley resident. She later died at Clara Maass Medical Center.

The family has also filed a suit against the city of Belleville, Essex County and the state of New Jersey. The family claims that dangerous conditions on the roadway contributed to the accident and that they are entitled to damages because of the New Jersey Wrongful Death statute.

The driver was charged with three separate counts stemming from the incident: second-degree failure to render aid, second-degree leaving the scene and second-degree vehicular homicide.

The 44-year-old male driver originally pleaded not guilty to the charges in October 2011 and his bail was set at $200,000. At the trial, he was ultimately convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. He is required to serve 85 percent of his sentence because of the No Early Release Act, which means he will be eligible for release in just over four years.

The vehicular homicide case was tried in nearby Union County because the woman who died had ties to the Essex County court system. She was the widow of a Superior Court Judge and also worked for another Superior Court Judge for five years.

The suits against the driver, the city of Belleville, Essex County and the state of New Jersey are still pending.

If you or a family member were injured or killed in a car accident, you do have rights. A qualified attorney with experience in cases regarding car accidents will be able to help you fight for damages to which you're entitled.

Source: NorthJersey.com, "Nutley man sentenced in fatal Belleville hit-and-run case" Hasime Kukaj, Feb. 28, 2014

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