A wrong-way accident took the life of a pickup driver close to the Upward Road exit from I-26 in Henderson County, North Carolina (NC), on the night of October 13, 2014. The head-on collision in the town of Flat Rock, which lies west of Charlotte, also caused the death of the at-fault driver, who was described in reports as elderly.
Police could not determine whether the man traveling the wrong way on the highway was drunk, impaired by drugs, lost or confused. Nor did authorities tell news outlets whether the at-fault driver had crossed the median or entered the interstate incorrectly by going up an exit ramp thinking it was an on ramp. Figuring out those details seems secondary to the fatal outcome of whichever mistake he committed. Both he and another person died because he failed to get or stay on the right side of the road.
Insurance policies remain in effect for individuals who die in accidents they cause. Such provisions make it possible for the family of the person killed in the pickup to pursue compensation for wrongful death claims. These can include burial expenses, lost lifetime earnings and loss of emotional support and companionship. Punitive damages could also be awarded if evidence shows that the driver who caused the deadly wreck had been excessively reckless by taking the wheel while drunk or too ill to main control of his car.
My Carolina law firm colleagues understand that considering such things can be overwhelming for survivors. But knowing one's legal rights and options after a fatal auto accident can protect people from becoming victimized twice. We send our condolences to the victim's friends and family.