An unoccupied construction truck struck and killed a Hillsborough, North Carolina (NC), boy on December 26, 2016. The out-of-control vehicle had rolled down a hill before hitting the 5-year-old while he played in the driveway of his home on Dogwood Bloom Lane.
Orange County police charge the man they identified as being responsible for securing the parked truck with a misdemeanor for causing a death. That is a negligence charge, as there is no evidence at this point that anyone did anything deliberately to create an unsafe situation or to inflict harm on anyone.
Specific types of negligence are not mentioned in news reports on this tragic accident. Investigators will need to look into what rules were in place for ensuring that the truck's emergency brake was set, chocks were placed under the wheels and how close to an incline the construction vehicle could be parked. If it turns out that such rules did not exist or that supervisors failed to inform workers of the rules and enforce them, the parents of the child who lost his life could have grounds for pursuing wrongful death insurance claims and civil lawsuits against the company that employed the truck driver.
This deadly incident reveals how even the smallest error or oversight involving a heavy truck could result in death. My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I hope all truck driver, construction crews and trucking companies that learn of this tragedy take it as a reminder to double down on all safety procedures.