By Attorney: Samuel L. Davis
Tragically, two-year-old Jaelise Rodriguez suffered fatal injuries this month when she was hit by a car allegedly driven by her mother. The toddler was in the driveway at her grandparents’ house at the time of the accident. The investigation is ongoing but family members say the mother did not see the child in the driveway and went forwards when she meant to back up.
The driver of the car was Orialis Andion, of Vineland. Andion was picking up three of her children at their grandparents’ home on Venus Drive, a cul-de-sac in Vineland, when the accident occurred. She allegedly struck the child with her 2002 Chevy Malibu at about 8:30pm.
“There is nothing more tragic than the loss of life caused by a family member. However, in the eyes of the law even a parent or grandparent will be responsible for the harms and losses caused by their negligence,” says New Jersey car accident lawyer Garry R. Salomon. “Unfortunately, even checking mirrors may not warn a driver of all dangers because toddlers and pets may be too short to be seen in a mirror. It is important to know that drivers understand the risks associated with children of tender years and take the necessary precautions” says Salomon.
In these situations there are always two losses, the loss of life and the lifelong burden upon the family member negligent driver that caused the injury or death. In Jaelise’s accident, she was brought to Inspira Medical Center where she later expired from her injuries. A police investigation of the situation is ongoing and no charges have been filed at this time. It is unknown why Jaelise was not in the car at the time. It is highly unlikely that charges will be filed.
This accident comes on the heels of two other fatal accidents in Vineland involving children. On October 30th, Alexa Strittmatter was struck twice while crossing the road to get to her school bus stop. Jermire Lowery was killed in a car crash on November 11th.
Hopefully, new advanced technology available in most cars will put an end to these tragic accidents. There are proposals to make rear cameras mandatory as well as back up alarms, and collision avoidance systems. These systems are available through such reputable manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Mercedes, BMW and others. Unfortunately, as in the case of seat belts, airbags and other safety features they were first issued as optional equipment.
According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, each year 228 people die in light-vehicle backup incidents, with about 44% of them kids under age 5. Adults over age 70 are the second most vulnerable group. Due to opposition by the automotive industry no solution has been implemented as of the present time. There was an initial 2011 deadline to phase in backup warning devices on all new cars and SUVs by 2014 and that now appears to be delayed further.
NHTSA estimated that backup cameras would add $53 to $88 to the price of cars with dash display screens and for those cars without a built in screen the cost would amount to somewhere between $159 to $203 factory installed.
“I have two recommendations, when purchasing a new car, always demand a backup camera and to write to your local congressional representative in favor of making this mandatory” says Salomon.
Garry R. Salomon is a New Jersey vehicle accident lawyer and New Jersey Certified Civil Trial Attorney. As a partner at the law firm of Davis, Saperstein, & Salomon, P.C., in Teaneck, NJ, he is experienced in representing pedestrians involved in accidents. “Pedestrians aren’t protected very well on the road, but we work to protect their rights in the courtroom,” said Salomon, who can be reached at (800) LAW-2000 to discuss this accident or any vehicle injury.
Samuel L. Davis, the author of this article, is also certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney, a distinction held by less than 3% of all New Jersey lawyers. Samuel L. Davis also represents car accident victims. He can be reached for media inquiries or to schedule a free initial consultation about pedestrian injuries by calling 1-(800) LAW-2000.