What is a life worth? It is a rhetorical question, really, and one that nobody hopes to ever have to contemplate in their lives after they lose a loved one.

In the case of a 55-year-old who died in a Pennsylvania truck accident, it sounds as though his life was worth just over $1,000, at least in the eyes of a court. A New Jersey truck driver neglected his vehicle and, in doing so, contributed to a rear-end collision in that killed the crash victim.

The Associated Press reports that the commercial driver’s truck wasn’t safe for the road. Its taillights weren’t working, and its tires were flat. Without being able to see the truck’s lights on the road at 3:30 in the morning, the accident victim hit the back of the large vehicle. The impact was severe enough to lead to the man’s fatal injuries.

Sources do not report whether the victim has surviving family and whether they plan to go forward with a personal injury lawsuit against the trucker and/or his employer. From the criminal arena regarding this motor vehicle accident, the trucker faces no time for his recklessness. He was fined a reported $1,350 for his fatal wrongdoing. 

The outcomes of criminal and civil cases, even the best ones, won’t bring someone back. They won’t allow the going back into time and undoing of negligence. And no amount of money, whether it is $1,350 or $13 million will take away the pain of loss caused by a preventable accident. For many victims and their families, fighting to hold reckless parties accountable is a means of gaining a sense of power, justice and closure when faced with the unthinkable.

Source: The Associated Press, “NJ trucker fined $1,350 for fatal W. Pa. crash,” Jan. 6, 2014