“Accidents happen” is an expression we often hear when a person is attempting to make an excuse for causing harm to another person. There seems to be an implication that, if the resulting harm was not intentional, the person who caused the “accident” should be off the hook, legally speaking.
This simply is not true, at least not in most cases. While accidents do sometimes happen without it being anyone’s fault, such as when a child runs out into traffic unexpectedly, accidents usually happen when someone does not behave in a reasonably prudent or careful manner. This is where the civil law of negligence comes into play, and the injured party (or the family of a deceased person) pursues a claim against the responsible party and, if successful in proving the traditional negligence elements of duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation, can receive compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
Sometimes, a driver’s carelessness or recklessness can result in not only money damages being owed to the victim of an accident but also possible criminal prosecution. A recent incident here in North Carolina illustrates this point.
Dump Truck Driver Allegedly Causes Death of Motorist
In late August, a 37-year-old dump truck driver was reportedly traveling along U.S. Route 401 in Wake County, North Carolina, when he attempted to make a U-turn. Upon finding that he could not negotiate the U-turn successfully, the dump truck driver allegedly attempted to back up his truck and make a second attempt. As he was backing up the dump truck, a 33-year-old Raleigh woman approached the truck from the rear, was unable to stop, and collided with the back of the dump truck. The woman died as a result.
Driver Charged Criminally
The dump truck driver has since been charged with two crimes, namely misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and unsafe movement. North Carolina Code § 20-141.4(a2) defines the crime of misdemeanor death by vehicle. A person is guilty of the offense if he or she unintentionally causes another person’s death while engaged in the violation of a law pertaining to the operation of a vehicle or regulation of traffic. A driver can only be convicted of the crime of misdemeanor death by vehicle if his or her actions were the proximate cause of the other’s death. Misdemeanor death by vehicle is a Class A1 misdemeanor.
Unfortunately for those involved in truck-car collisions, criminal charges are the exception rather than the rule. Often, the injured person or deceased person’s family has to fight the trucker and trucking company every step of the way to get the compensation to which they are entitled. Even when charges are filed, this is only one factor in a negligence case and does not automatically result in recovery for the victim or his or her family.
Talk to a North Carolina Truck Accident Lawyer About Your Case
Litigation following truck accidents, especially fatalities, can be very contentious. Attorney Carl Nagle understands exactly how trucking companies and their insurance companies operate following a serious accident. As a former adjuster and insurance company lawyer, Attorney Nagle knows all too well that, in many cases, trucking outfits will try their best to avoid liability, even when a trucker was clearly at fault. To put this knowledge and experience to work on your case – and to take advantage of our significantly lower-than-average contingency fee schedule – call an experienced North Carolina truck accident attorney at Nagle & Associates today at (800) 411-1583. We serve all of North Carolina.
Related Blog Posts